Mercedes GLA (2014 - present)

The Mercedes GLA mini-SUV is stylish and high-tech, but doesn’t come cheap

Strengths & Weaknesses


Distinctive styling
Slick-looking interior
Comfortable ride


Noisy diesel engines
Limited off-road ability

With its chunky looks, increased ride height and SUV-style plastic cladding, the Mercedes GLA looks like it's ready for anything that the roads might throw at it, whatever the weather.

Don't expect to go any distance off-road in the GLA, however. This is very much a crossover, where the SUV connection is only skin deep. This is Mercedes' smallest crossover, which combines the size and comfort of the A-Class hatchback with the higher driving position of a taller vehicle. Do bear in mind that this version is based upon the old version of the A-Class, so if you want the most up-to-date small Mercedes, you'll be far better off with the far more up-to-date new A-Class.

Unlike some crossovers, the GLA hasn’t been raised by an enormous amount, so it’s less imposing than alternatives such as the Audi Q2, BMW X1 and Mini Countryman. But this means that it looks and feels similar to the cheaper previous-generation Mercedes A-Class hatchback that it’s based on.

The more powerful GLAs also have a similar price to the much larger Mercedes GLC. This is a proper SUV designed to go off road - a little - and appears to be much better value for money in comparison.

To add more price confusion, the BMW X1, Audi Q2 and larger Audi Q3 are all cheaper than the GLA, further questioning the value of the GLA.

At launch, four-wheel drive was standard on all but the cheapest GLA Sport model. This provides greater control in slippery conditions, and the ability to tackle slightly rougher terrain on the off-chance that the GLA is taken off road - although it’s at risk of getting stuck in tough conditions due to its limited ground clearance and road tyres.

A number of two-wheel drive versions are now available, however, and these offer the greatest fuel economy and lowest costs, making them the best choice for most drivers.

Thanks to its fat tyres and soft suspension, the GLA is more comfortable and smooth over bumps than the standard A-Class, as well as the Audi Q2 and BMW X1, but feels less sharp and agile in corners.

The story’s a bit different if you opt for the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 performance model, which packs a small but enormously powerful engine under the bonnet. It’s capable of sending 381hp to all four wheels for inredibly fast acceleration - the 0-62mph sprint takes a breathtaking 4.4 seconds.

More practically, there’s a reasonable amount of space in the back for tall adults, as long as you don’t have the panoramic sunroof, that reduces headroom. The large 481-litre boot is much bigger than the 341 litres in the previous generation A-Class, as well as the 405 litres of the Audi Q2. The BMW X1 is the biggest at 505 litres, though.

Like all modern Mercedes, the interior feels reasonably plus, with chrome air vents and a tablet-style media screen displaying sat-nav directions and radio functions. It’s controlled with a rotary dial, making it easy to operate without having to take your eyes off the road.

Last Updated 

Friday, May 31, 2019 - 09:30

Key facts 

3 years / unlimited miles
Boot size: 
481 litres
From B (free for the first year, £20 thereafter) to H (£295 in first year and £205 thereafter)

Best Mercedes-Benz GLA Class for... 

Mercedes GLA 200d
The two-wheel drive, entry-level diesel is not only the cheapest model in the line-up, it's also the most economical.
Mercedes GLA 220 d 4MATIC AMG Line
A more powerful diesel paired with a smooth 7-speed automatic gearbox makes this one easy car to live with. The AMG Line trim also adds plenty of interior niceties.
Mercedes-AMG GLA 45
A powerful petrol engine, overtly sporty styling and agile handling. Perfect for the enthusiast.
Mercedes GLA 250 4MATIC
The lower-powered petrol is smooth and refined but it sits in a high vehicle excise duty band and isn't as economical as the diesels. Unless regular short trips are on the cards, the diesel offerings will be cheaper to run.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Class History 

  • 2014 The Mercedes GLA goes on sale.
  • 2015 The high-performance Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 goes on sale.

Understanding Mercedes-Benz GLA Class car names 

  • GLA Class
  • Trim
  • Engine
  • Gearbox
    7G DCT 4Matic
  • Trim
    There are three trims in total (Sport, AMG Line and AMG 45). Each higher level means more equipment and a larger price.
  • Engine
    There are two diesel and two petrol engine options in the line-up. The diesel range kicks off with a 134bhp GLA 200d and increases to 175bhp in the GLA 220d. There's a 208bhp petrol engine in the GLA 250 and a powerful 376bhp version in the Mercedes-AMG model.
  • Gearbox
    Automatic gearboxes are badged 7G DCT, indicating that they have seven gears and a dual clutch mechanism. Having two clutches makes gearchanges faster and smoother. Cars with four-wheel drive also have a 4Matic badge.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Class Engines 

GLA 200d, GLA 220d, GLA 250 and GLA 45




0 - 62mph

Top speed

GLA 200d






GLA 220d






GLA 250






GLA 45






Mercedes-Benz GLA Class Trims 

Sport, AMG Line and AMG 45

Specifying your dream GLA is a surprisingly easy process, as Mercedes only really offers two distinct trim lines on standard models (AMG 45 cars get their own sporty appearance). But, because this is a premium vehicle, there is an exhaustive optional extras list that's designed to tempt buyers into parting with vast sums of cash for additional bits and pieces.

Regardless, even entry-level Sport models come with an impressive amount of standard kit. The 18-inch alloy wheels, aluminium roof rails, rear privacy glass and twin-pipe exhaust system ensure it turns heads, while the powered tailgate, rain-sensing wipers and cutting-edge media interface system make life with the car that much simpler.

Step up to AMG Line and Mercedes draws on its motorsport experience and adds aggressive body styling, a leather interior with contrasting stitching, special sports seats and a racy flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Naturally, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 goes wild with the high-octane styling features and customers are treated to 19-inch AMG wheels, high-performance brakes, bi-xenon headlamps with integrated LED running lights, ambient lighting inside, AMG-focussed instrument clusters and an AMG Dynamic Select function that changes the driving mode from Comfort (relaxed steering, lethargic throttle response) to full-fat Sport+ (sharpened steering, suspension and throttle response).

Mercedes also likes to bundle optional extras into specific packages, which is often a cheaper way to improve specification on a car. The Executive Package, for example, adds a Garmin navigation system, parking assist and heated front seats, while a Premium Plus bundle adds ambient interior lighting, a panoramic glass sunroof and bi-xenon headlamps.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Class Reliability and warranty 

The three-year, unlimited mileage warranty package is identical to that offered by both BMW and Land Rover, while Mercedes-Benz currently manufactures some of the most reliable cars on the road.

The GLA is too new to feature on the 2015 Auto Express Driver Power satisfaction survey, but Mercedes ranked 11th in the manufacturer chart, and owners rated its build quality particularly highly. It finished comfortably above rival brands Audi and BMW, as well as Land Rover.

Used Mercedes-Benz GLA Class 

hanks to its low CO2 emissions, premium finish and affordable running costs, the Mercedes-Benz GLA rapidly found homes after launch in 2014, particularly with business, fleet and company car users, meaning it is possible to snap up the occasional bargain.

Company cars are typically specified with all the bells and whistles and swapped often, so as long as buyers are happy with a few motorway miles on the clock, it is not uncommon to see savings of around 20 per cent on the original list price for low-mileage, nearly new models.

As an added bonus, all used vehicles will still be under warranty due to the vehicle's age and as long as a full Mercedes-Benz service history is present, the car will have been properly maintained thus reducing the risk of mechanical issues. 

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for economy







Mercedes-Benz GLA 200d Manual






Best for families







Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d 4MATIC AMG Line






Best for performance







Mercedes-AMG GLA 45