ROAD TEST: Mercedes-Benz GLA

NICK FLETCHER: Mercedes-Benz GLA Photo: Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz GLA
ALL the major manufacturers want a slice of the compact SUV market and the contender from Mercedes-Benz is the GLA, which is based on its A-Class hatchback.
The GLA is 50 mm taller than the A-Class and has styling revisions to give it a much more muscular appearance. The swooping sculpted lines, gaping front grille with large Mercedes three-pointed star badge and its potent-looking twin exhausts all add to its image and help it stand from some of the more restrained designs in this SUV class.
GLA prices start from €28,281 (£25,105), and there are petrol and diesel options, 4MATIC all-wheel-drive versions and sporty AMG models. My featured model is the 200 SE with a 156 hp 1.6 litre turbo-petrol engine and 6-speed manual gearbox and priced at €30,624 (£27,185).
Standard equipment includes touch-screen infotainment centre with radio and CD player, Bluetooth with phone connection and music streaming, cruise control, auto lights, alloy wheels and roof  rails, but to get sat-nav you have to move up the range.
The 1.6 litre engine is punchy, with a  quick 0-100 kph time of 8.4 seconds and top speed of 201 kph (125 mph). Emissions are 151 g/km and the average fuel figure is 15.1 kpl (42.8 mpg). Underway, the GLA proves poised on the corners and while the suspension is quite firm, it does not really impair the ride comfort.
The GLA looks impressive from the outside and the cabin has a classy ambiance with eye-catching aircraft-style vents and a touchscreen sited high on the dashboard for better vision. Trim materials – including synthetic leather – are good quality and appear durable and the seating is comfortable and supportive.
Occupants front and rear get reasonable space, and the boot is a good size at 481 litres though there is a high loading lip. While the rear seats don’t slide forward to increase the boot capacity, they do fold down.
Competitors in this crowded sector include formidable rivals such as the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3 but such is the status and kudos of the Mercedes-Benz badge, the GLA earns its place on the short-list of any potential SUV buyer.
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Model: Mercedes-Benz GLA SE
Engine;1.6 litre turbo-petrol
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Performance: top speed 201 kph (125 mph), 0-100 kph 8.4 seconds
Economy: 15.1 kpl (42.8 mpg)
Emissions: 151 g/km
Stats panel:
Model: Mercedes GLA 200 SE
Engione: 1.6 litre petrol
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Performance: Top speed 125 mph, 0-60 mph 8.4 seconds
Economy: 42.8 mpg
Emissions: 151 g/km

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