The facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLA rolled into the Indian market in July 2017 which is the first update to the SUV since its launch in September 2014. While the facelifted GLA has a...
|Price|| 32.33 Lakhs onwards|
|Mileage|| 13.7 to 17.9 kmpl|
|Engine|| 1991 to 2143 cc|
|Transmission|| Automatic|Variants Avg. Ex-Showroom price 2143 cc, Diesel, Automatic, 17.9 kmpl ₹ 32.33 Lakhs 1991 cc, Petrol, Automatic, 13.7 kmpl ₹ 34.38 Lakhs 1991 cc, Petrol, Automatic, 13.7 kmpl ₹ 34.84 Lakhs 2143 cc, Diesel, Automatic, 17.9 kmpl ₹ 35.64 Lakhs 2143 cc, Diesel, Automatic, ₹ 38.64 Lakhs
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Mercedes-Benz GLA Review
The facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLA rolled into the Indian market in July 2017 which is the first update to the SUV since its launch in September 2014. While the facelifted GLA has a few additions to the exteriors and the interiors, the mechanicals remain the same.
What is it?
Why will I buy the Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d?
For the sweeping looks, brisk performance, attractive interiors, mild off-roading capabilities and the tall clearance.
Why will I avoid the Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d?
The sloping A-pillar and compact window dimensions makes the interiors feel tight, rear seat thigh support isn’t great, spare wheel intrudes into the boot space and it has a loud engine.
The facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLA rolled into the Indian market in July 2017 which is the first update to the SUV since its launch in September 2014. While the facelifted GLA has a few additions to the exteriors and the interiors, the mechanicals remain the same. So, apart from the 2.0-litre petrol GLA 200 and the 2.2-litre diesel GLA 200d (136bhp/300Nm) that’s on offer, we drove the top-end GLA 220d (same 2.2-litre diesel) with 170bhp and 350Nm of torquewhich also comes with 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
From the outside, the silhouette remains the same. So you still get the hatchback on stilts look with the sloping A-pillar and compressed glass area. The SUV effect is bang-on thanks to the high ground clearance and large wheels. What stands out on the facelifted car is the new headlight internals, the restyled slats on the grille and the redesigned lower bumper section. It’s the same story at the rear with the ‘star dust’ treated tail lamps, and the now prominently revisedsilver skid plates. The new GLA undoubtedly looks pleasing to the eye.
How is it on the inside?
You will instantly appreciate the lay-out of the GLA’s dash. The well-spaced out controls on the centre console, attractive propeller-style air-vents, the silver knitted pattern that runs across, and the new instrument panel are all attractive. So is the build quality, which is what you’d expect from this brand. It would have been nice if the soft touch points were extended to the lower sections of the cabin too, like the lower dash, door panels and center console that use hard plastic instead.
We especially liked the electric front seats which offer firm support and hold you in place thanks to the lateral support. This is further complimented by an electric lumbar adjustment, manually retractable thigh support, and lots of legroom. However, the raked A-pillar combined with a compact front windscreen and a high window line needs some getting used to. The firm rear seats are contoured for comfort and also have the right backrest angle with lots of headroom.
Since the seats are also 60:40 foldable, passengers can flip them from within to access the boot on the go. However, knee-room will be tight for tall passengers, and the experience gets dampened even further due to the tall and raked window-line, the huge front seats, and the low-set bench with very little thigh support (no air-con vents either). But it surprisingly feels airy thanks to the panorama sunroof. On the paper, this car has 481-litres of boot space, but the spare wheel eats up into the useable area.
Some of the features listed on the GLA 220d are push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, ambient lighting (with 12 colours), electric front seats, a manual air-con, and an eight-inch display linked to an infotainment system (with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto). Safety functions include six airbags, Attention Assist, ABS, ESP, hill start assist and downhill speed regulation.
How does it drive?
We got behind the wheel of the GLA 220d that’s powered by the 2.2-litre diesel motor with 170bhp and 350Nm of torque. Off the mark, power delivery is linear all the way to the 4800rpm rev limit and the seven speed dual-clutch transmission (with paddles) handles the power band effectively for a brisk drive. However, the engine gets loud especially when revved hard, and I had to repeatedly switch from Sport to Comfort mode just to avoid it.
The modes on offer are Eco, Comfort, Sport, Individual and off-road.‘Eco’ is the mode that gives best efficiency and the system quickly upshifts to keep the revs low. Now, ‘Comfort’ offers perceivably more response than Eco. But in both, the same gear is mostly retained even when more performance is asked of it (unless the pedal is floored). Sport mode makes for some spirited performance since a lower gear is always held in anticipation, but the power delivery does tend to feel jerky at lower speeds.
‘Individual’ mode allows preferences to be configured, or the system adapts to the driving style. Which finally brings us to the Off-Road mode that enhances traction on loose surfaces thanks to the AWD set-up and the optimised torque delivery. Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) controls downhill descents and can be set for speeds between 4kmph and 18kmph.
The damping characteristics of the GLA 220d’s suspension is firm, and at lower speeds you will even feel the minor road irregularities within the cabin. The ride gets flatter as the car picks up speed. However, harsh bumps can be felt more prominently than desired. That said, there is no suspension noise whatsoever and not once did we scrape the underbelly thanks to the 171mm clearance.
With each of the modes, the steering response is also altered. It is similar In Eco and Comfort modes, but ‘Sport’ mode made the steering heavier (not by a huge margin though). The steering isn’t particularly quick to respond and some more feedback of what’s happening at the wheels would have been appreciated since it holds the intended line even when pushed.
Should I buy one?
What goes in favour of the GLA is the sweeping looks, brisk performance and the tall clearance that gives it an SUV like stance. It also gets attractive interiors with lots of features (barring auto air-con), supportive front seats, and the 60:40 folding seats liberate more boot space when needed. Then there’s the light off-roading capabilities, good road grip, and the ground clearance to tackle tall speed breakers too. It goes without saying that the styling allows it to stand out in its segment.
On the flip side, the sloping A-pillar makes the interiors feel tight despite the panorama sunroof liberating some air. Plus, it feels claustrophobic in the rear seat and the thigh support isn’t great either. Other things that go against it is the loud engine, lack of soft touch points lower down in the cabin, a spare wheel that intrudes into the boot space and the firm ride quality. Some more steering feedback could have also made the driving experience more involving.
Where does it fit in?
The Mercedes-Benz GLA is priced between Rs 30.65 lakhs to Rs 36.75 lakhs. It locks horns with the BMW X1 that retails between Rs 31.2 lakhs and Rs 41.1 lakhs, and the Audi Q3 that costs between Rs 32.48 lakhs to Rs 40.61 lakhs (all ex-showroom Delhi).
Mercedes-Benz GLA Colours
GLA is available/sold in the following colours in India.
Polar Silver Metallic
Mountain Grey Metallic
Canyon Beige Metallic
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