2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 review: A smarter starter

Nancy J. Delong

The AMG Line and Night deals make the GLA seem very suggest.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

Just as Mercedes’ new CLA-Course is a substantial improvement above its predecessor, so also is this GLA-Course SUV. Starting up at $37,280 such as $1,050 for destination, the GLA250 is an excellent entry point into the Mercedes-Benz lineup, and finally has the design and style and tech to genuinely stand out in the subcompact SUV class.


  • Superb powertrain
  • A lot of driver-assistance tech
  • Leading-notch MBUX infotainment

Do not Like

  • Scaled-down cargo spot than competitors
  • Receives pretty high priced with selections

Elegant and effective

In spite of currently being around the exact same dimensions, visually, the new GLA genuinely operates. It really is bought a 1.1-inch for a longer time wheelbase but is shorter in all round length than right before, while it truly is virtually four inches taller and just a smidge wider, also. The sculpted hood presents the GLA250 an aura of power and I like the LED managing mild signature. My tester has the $two,240 AMG Line overall look package and the $four hundred Night Package, providing the SUV a diverse grille, gloss-black exterior trim and somewhat more intense styling. Those selections ordinarily get you 19-inch wheels, but this GLA250 can take factors up a notch with more substantial 20s, a $1,050 alternative.

The GLA250’s turbocharged two.-liter I4 pushes out 221 horsepower and 258 pound-toes of torque, and though entrance-wheel generate is standard, all-wheel generate is optional. These quantities are competitive in the class — the GLA250 is as effective as an Audi Q3 or BMW X1, and it tops the Volvo XC40’s base T4 powertrain.

Mercedes’ eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is a joy, especially in the SUV’s Sport mode, the place it holds gears for a longer time to wring out all the engine’s electricity. There are paddle shifters, but the transmission operates great on its personal. The steering is a tiny mild for my tastes, even in Sport, but it truly is exact and brief to respond.

In Ease and comfort mode, the GLA delivers a properly composed experience. My only complaint is that the two.-liter I4 sounds kind of rough, while the sleek, effortless delivery of electricity can make up for that. The optional Burmester audio technique very easily drowns out the engine, also.

All-wheel-generate GLAs get an Off-Street mode, not that this issue genuinely begs to be taken off the overwhelmed path, especially with 20-inch wheels. The Off-Street location alters the parameters for the engine, all-wheel-generate technique and anti-lock brakes, making it possible for the GLA to improved manage filthy terrain. The GLA also arrives with hill-descent manage, which is kind of like a downhill cruise manage, maintaining the GLA everywhere concerning 1 and 11 mph on steep grades.

The GLA’s gasoline overall economy is very first rate, with the EPA estimating 25 miles for every gallon city, 34 mpg freeway and 28 mpg combined for entrance-wheel-generate versions. Including AWD lowers all those quantities to 24, 33 and 27, respectively.

A substantial amount of money of tech

Mercedes-Benz has genuinely upped its tech activity above the past few several years and the GLA absolutely isn’t going to skimp on the excellent things. A pair of 7-inch screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment are standard, but my tester improves all those to ten.two-inch displays. The upgraded screens are component of the $1,750 Premium Package and totally value it.

MBUX is the finest.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

MBUX software is the star listed here, and it can be controlled by thumbpads on the steering wheel, a touchpad on the middle console or simply by touching the screen. You can also wake up the technique by indicating, “Hey, Mercedes,” at which point the voice command enables you to do just about just about anything. I can just say, “I’m cold,” and MBUX responds, “I’m escalating the temperature to 74 levels.” Many thanks, girl!

The $1,295 Multimedia Package adds augmented actuality navigation overlays that can display screen data like addresses and directional arrows onto an graphic captured by the ahead-dealing with digital camera. I’ve utilised this tech right before and seem ahead to it just about every time — it truly is a unusual occasion the place I really don’t just plug in my cellphone and rely on Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto, if which is your bag).

The tech hits retain on coming with a number of driver-assistance systems. The only bummer is the excellent things is component of a $1,700 Driver Help Package, while it truly is very well value the price tag. The adaptive cruise manage brings the car or truck to a sleek end and the car or truck utilizes GPS to sluggish down for curves in the freeway, toll booths and the like. The steering assist does a excellent occupation at maintaining the GLA centered in its lane together the freeway, and lane-departure warning is there in situation you start off to veer off to the aspect.

The cabin just isn’t pretty as flashy as the A- or CLA-Course.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

But though the tech roster is abundant, the relaxation of the GLA feels a tiny downmarket. The components are all of first rate high-quality, brain you, but the style and design is just kind of bland, with not a great deal of consideration to detail. Luckily the seats are comfortable and you will find plenty of storage. I love the thick, flat-bottomed steering wheel and Mercedes’ dual-coloration ambient lights never ceases to impress.

The GLA’s more substantial dimensions implies you will find a great deal more room inside, even for next-row passengers. There are four.five more inches of rear legroom in comparison to the outgoing product, and you will find more headroom for entrance seat passengers as very well. Even with the panoramic sunroof my five-foot, nine-inch body has lots of room. My pandemic-tall hair isn’t going to even come close to touching the headliner.

In which the GLA suffers somewhat is with cargo room, which is smaller sized than other vehicles in the class. There is only 15.four cubic toes of room powering the next row, though a BMW X1 has just above 27 cubes and the Audi Q3 gets virtually 24. Fold all those seats down and the GLA gets a little bit more competitive with 50.five cubic toes. Once again, which is a lot less than the X1, but the seats-down spec surpasses that of the Q3.

It absolutely appears to be like a great deal improved than the aged GLA.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

Increasing the entry-level bar

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 may start off at $37,280, but factors can get very ridiculous if you aren’t cautious with the selections. All-wheel generate charges $two,000 and my tester has a ridiculous amount of money of bells and whistles, bringing the remaining price tag to $fifty five,585 such as destination. That is a great deal of dollars for this entry-level GLA, so you would be clever to go effortless with the insert-ons.

Even so, the bigger price tag genuinely feels value it looking at how a great deal nicer the GLA is than right before. The driver-assistance tech is genuinely pretty excellent, the powertrain is peppy and the cabin is cozy. Those who want a tiny more oomph could possibly want to wait until eventually the end of the year for the AMG versions, but as it stands, the GLA250 is an excellent starter SUV for folks hunting to get some luxury in their life.

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