Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Overview
There is always a feeling of excitement whenever I drive a completely new car as there are so many questions, expectations and wishes that I have from it especially if the car is from a brand like Mercedes Benz.It is no longer a flash update that Mercedes Benz India has had a great year with a slew of launches. Their new design language has got them back in the game. Cars like A-Class and B-Class have really worked well in its favour as they have got new set of clients in addition to the existing ones. They have also reported positive growth and faced strong demand in the SUV segment with the GL-Class and ML-Class.The GLA, which also happens to be the newest and smallest SUV by Mercedes Benz, is based on the same platform as that of A-Class with added benefits of a compact SUV. Good news is that they have styled this one close to the concept and it looks as ravishing. We flew down to Chandigarh for a first drive experience of this brand new car. Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class On road price starts from 30,63,762/-. Check for price details of Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class in CarzPrice
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Design
As far as facelifts go, the GLA update can best be described as mild. Mercedes has not altered any sheet metal and perhaps the biggest change to the exterior could be the addition of LED headlamps. The front also gets a new grille with perforated twin-blade design and the lower edge sees a new bumper cladding. On the sides, the car wears new five-spoke alloys and the rear gets redesigned crystal-effect LED tail lamps. That’s it as far as the exterior changes go. The rest is familiar territory, meaning you still get the small hatch styling similar to the A-class on which it is based. On the whole, the GLA does not have the stance of a traditional SUV but it does look appealing with its swoopy lines; it turned a few heads on our drive.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Cabin
Mercedes Benz GLA Class interiors have high quality material for its upholstery that provides the cabin of the car a nice sporty yet elegant feel. The cabin is luxurious and spacious with leather seat covering giving enough evidence for the former.There are various Mercedes Benz GLA Class features, like panoramic glass roof for the rear portion, electric glass sliding sunroof for the front and a an effective multimedia system.The turbine resembling air con vents are a stylish addition. The interior trims are offered in two shades with the one being that of beige and grey white the other is an all black option. The all black looks young while the beige and grey gives a roomier feel to the cabin and also feels more plush and premium. There is no compromise in equipment and feature list as the GLA boasts of many features seen on more premium models.
While the above are all good aspects of the GLA, there are some non good ones too. Inside the GLA, one does feel more premium than competition cars but it does not feel spacious. Both row passengers will end up complaining about it. Headroom is low but the panoramic sunroof and its wide pocket makes up for it giving it an airy feel. Taller passengers would happily skip the rear passenger section. They have made smart usage by plonking the gear selector behind the steering wheel and also the emergency brake is right beneath still it does not feel spacious for front passengers.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Engine
Our perception of the GLA was a compact SUV meant to be taken more on soft roads than off-roads. Taking it to GL territories is not much of a good idea. We must say that it was brave of Mercedes Benz to make us drive the GLA from Chandigarh to Shimla as the route had a mix of good wide roads and narrow patchy roads too.Theoretically, it should behave like the A-Class as they both share the same platform. Rewinding a bit to our A-Class drive, it impressed us with its stiff suspensions. Unlike other Benz cars back then, the A felt more responsive. The expectations were similar and more from the GLA as it is a feature rich SUV.
It was the more popular diesel that we chose to drive first. The diesel GLA is powered by a 2143cc engine producing 135.96PS at 3600 to 4400 rpm and a torque of 300Nm at 1600 to 3000 rpm. This unit as officially claimed does a 0 to 100km/h dash in 9.9 seconds. Describing this motor as a joy to drive won’t be right because it is meant for steady driving needs like highway commuting where steady and consistent performance is a priority.At initial speeds, the bigger displacement engine feels a bit lethargic and it is only when the throttle is pressed hard this lag diminishes. Once you have battled traffic and out on the highway, the diesel feels home as it keeps churning power at a constant rate. It does not respond as quickly as the other unit which might be a letdown during overtaking but then we can live with it.
The 7 speed dual clutch transmission lacks the crisp crack of a quick shift and the difference is evident. The same is felt on sports mode while shifting manually wherein the box is not as enthusiastic to upshift and downshift in a jiffy. The stiffer suspensions which are fine for smooth roads act against the ride quality and handling on rough roads.Finally, after going through the diesel in a brief manner, it was time for us to test the petrol. A petrol engine for an SUV might not sound convincing at first hear but then think of it as this, dimensions of a big car and a performance of a quicker engine clubbed together. The GLA petrol is a complete surprise package as firstly it is the only one ion the segment to offer a petrol unit. Secondly and most interestingly, this unit does 0 to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds, which is 2.3seconds quicker than the diesel.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Rideing
One big improvement the GLA got in 2016 was a change in the driving modes which brought in an off-road and individual (customisable) mode. These remain on the current car and alter the powertrain and steering only, with no further changes to the suspension or other dynamic components of the car. In our earlier testing, we found the GLA to be no SUV but it can easily indulge in some light off-roading with the four-wheel drive and sufficient clearance. There is also a hill descent mode to bring the GLA down slopes in a controlled manner.
The steering is nice with a decent amount of feel but it isn’t consistent all through the turn. On our earlier testing, we weren’t impressed with the ride, finding it quite firm and crashy. On the facelifted car, there seems to be a small improvement. Mercedes says there hasn’t been any suspension change and this ride difference could be down to a different make of tyres. View offers on Mercedes Cars from Mercedes dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Safety
Mercedes Benz GLA Class has a strong safety system with the presence of adaptive brake lights flashing, attention assist, LED headlamps, hill start assist and many other features. Mercedes Benz GLA Class comes with Electronic Stability Program (ESP) as well that reduces the chances to over steer and over turn.The SUV can crack a top speed of 205 kmph, which is again remarkable and with a strong suspension system, the vehicle is able to sustain all the difficulties of Indian roads with ease.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Price
Mercedes Benz Gla Class Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 30,63,762/- (GLA Class 200 d Style) to 36,73,533/- (GLA Class 220 d 4MATIC). Get best offers for Mercedes Benz Gla Class from Mercedes Benz Dealers in India
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Verdict
The most obvious comparison that the Mercedes Benz GLA will face is from Audi Q3. This is based vaguely on their respective body types and the price points at which both would be offered. The purpose and target audience of these two cars are significantly different. The GLA would attract young aspirational buyers, who want a stylish looking car with loads of features while the Audi Q3 is more for the real time driving enthusiasts, who wouldn’t mind taking it off tarmac once a while. There would be initial heat of competition between these two cars but that heat would die down once the consumers understand the difference between the two. The GLA would be offered in two variants only and we expect them to price it between Rs.33 lakhs to 35 lakhs on an ex-showroom level. Let us know your views in the comment section below.