Well this is a weird one since i’m not into cross overs… especially posh ones. But hey there’s always a first time for everything.
The need for cross-overs arose after the overzealous need to have larger everyday cars… because why the fuck not? It’s not like we have an ever-growing traffic and parking problem.
So the GLA sits at the very bottom of the SUV line. It is basically a bigger and boxier version of the A-Class aimed at families who want a car that is bigger than the regular hatchback.
The look of this car is rather bland compared the the bigger GLC. It’s boxy and curvy at the same time and the ride is quite low compared to what I was originally expecting. The sharp lines from the previous iteration have been eliminated and replaced with a less aggressive look. It is quite sleek. I have to admit, and with the upgraded AMG grill, it does look half decent. On the inside the design is spectacular. The main focus of the company was to create a luxurious and comfortable moving lounge that gives drivers an enjoyable experience and feel when driving. I mean I get that. You immediately feel extreme comfort being encased in those leather seats whilst being surrounded with so much luxury and RGB lighting… A true PC gamer’s wet dream. Cause yes, you have illuminated trim everywhere and ambient lighting which can be completely customised or adaptable to your mood.
Well the luxury and comfy feel is replicated in the drive of the car. The driving position is good, you feel slightly elevated even though the ride height is on the lowish side compared to other cross-overs. The steering and manoeuvrability has the typical Mercedes attributes. A very reactive and sharp steering which gives the car superior manoeuvrability in urban situations. Even though it does have a chunkier body, you do not get the feeling you are driving a cumbersome vehicle. The drive-train is paired quite well with the platform and the flappy paddles are very sharp, all things considered. The overall driving feel can be only described as comfortable… ultra comfortable. If excitement is what you are looking for, this is not the vehicle for you. The 4matic system is formidable and the AI and eSP system react almost immediately to environmental changes, giving you a very dynamic suspension and differential system. On sport mode it is very quick… surprisingly quick to be honest and the superior Mercedes braking system really does an amazing job at keeping you safe and stable.
This is where it gets interesting. This car is jam-packed with amazing tech and gadgetry. The ambient mood lighting, as i explained before, is dynamic adaptive and can be set either manually or else you can actually pair your smartwatch with the AI system. Through careful assessment of your activity and heart rate, the system can mitigate your stress levels by changing the lounge mood settings. The Mercedes companion app offers a variety of cool features, including seeing the status of the vehicle, alerts you if someone tries to touch the car or hit it, you can control the sun roof and windows, and you can also access a bunch of car stats or see where you left the car parked if you have trouble remembering. The car also manages to learn and adapt to your particular driving habits and style. If for example you usually drive in comfort mode, listen to XFM, and drive from home to work every morning at 7am, the next time you access your vehicle in the morning, the radio will tune to XFM, your GPS is set automatically to your workplace, and the driving mode is set to comfort. The Infotainment is good… not great, but good. Mainly because the menu design is a bit unintuitive and the control buttons across the steering and console contribute to this feeling.
It is fair to say that this model is a very competitive entry in the luxury cross-over market which is growing every single year. The GLA is a great addition to the Mercedes family, however in my opinion it is very forgettable. The distinctive feel between the road and the driver is slowly getting eliminated and the whole lounge feel, albeit cool n’ all, really ruins the experience car lovers want. I mean granted, this is a fantastic everyday car with a impressive amount of extras and toys included as standard, but for me and those with the same wants and needs, the GLA doesn’t compare the the GLC. Yes it is in a separate category, but, the driving experience and general design approach is miles better.
Matthew’s Overall rating 6.5/10
Matthew’s choice: To be honest when it comes to extras and features this is still better than the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1. However, when settling for a Mercedes I would spend that bit more to get the GLC which I.M.O. offers a better overall experience especially for the car-lovers wanting that little bit of extra fun over the weekend.