Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Overview
There is always a feeling of excitement whenever I drive a completely new car as there are so many questions, expectations and wishes that I have from it especially if the car is from a brand like Mercedes Benz.It is no longer a flash update that Mercedes Benz India has had a great year with a slew of launches. Their new design language has got them back in the game. Cars like A-Class and B-Class have really worked well in its favour as they have got new set of clients in addition to the existing ones. They have also reported positive growth and faced strong demand in the SUV segment with the GL-Class and ML-Class. Book a Test Drive for GLA Class in Hyderabad at Tryaldrive
The GLA, which also happens to be the newest and smallest SUV by Mercedes Benz, is based on the same platform as that of A-Class with added benefits of a compact SUV. Good news is that they have styled this one close to the concept and it looks as ravishing. We flew down to Chandigarh for a first drive experience of this brand new car.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Exterior
As far as facelifts go, the GLA update can best be described as mild. Mercedes has not altered any sheet metal and perhaps the biggest change to the exterior could be the addition of LED headlamps. The front also gets a new grille with perforated twin-blade design and the lower edge sees a new bumper cladding. On the sides, the car wears new five-spoke alloys and the rear gets redesigned crystal-effect LED tail lamps. That’s it as far as the exterior changes go. The rest is familiar territory, meaning you still get the small hatch styling similar to the A-class on which it is based. On the whole, the GLA does not have the stance of a traditional SUV but it does look appealing with its swoopy lines; it turned a few heads on our drive.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Interior
Mercedes Benz GLA Class interiors have high quality material for its upholstery that provides the cabin of the car a nice sporty yet elegant feel. The cabin is luxurious and spacious with leather seat covering giving enough evidence for the former. There are various Mercedes Benz GLA Class features, like panoramic glass roof for the rear portion, electric glass sliding sunroof for the front and a an effective multimedia system.Just like the exterior, the changes to the inside are minimal. There are now two new trim options – sail-patterned trim on the Sports edition and black matrix trim on the Style edition. The instrument panel is new with an 11.6 cm colour multifunction display and has a concentric circle meter design with neat red needles. The new GLA also has an ambient lighting system with 12 selectable colours. The rest remain from the earlier car and the GLA is fairly well equipped with bits like a large panoramic sunroof, attention assist, powered tailgate, powered front seats with memory and an 8-inch infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Curiously, however, it makes do with a manual AC system only. Another odd bit is a reverse camera system but with no audio warnings.
Seating is comfortable and what’s nice is the small extendable underthigh support on both front seats. Space, on the whole, isn’t very large by the standards of its competitors, headroom and rear legroom is just sufficient for my five-foot-eight frame and what adds to the hemmed-in feeling is the narrow all-round glass house. In fact, you will notice the slightly restricted view out at the front thanks to the short height of the windshield. Beige interiors and a large sunroof on our car did alleviate this to an extent.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Gearbox
Our perception of the GLA was a compact SUV meant to be taken more on soft roads than off-roads. Taking it to GL territories is not much of a good idea. We must say that it was brave of Mercedes Benz to make us drive the GLA from Chandigarh to Shimla as the route had a mix of good wide roads and narrow patchy roads too.Theoretically, it should behave like the A-Class as they both share the same platform. Rewinding a bit to our A-Class drive, it impressed us with its stiff suspensions. Unlike other Benz cars back then, the A felt more responsive. The expectations were similar and more from the GLA as it is a feature rich SUV.
It was the more popular diesel that we chose to drive first. The diesel GLA is powered by a 2143cc engine producing 135.96PS at 3600 to 4400 rpm and a torque of 300Nm at 1600 to 3000 rpm. This unit as officially claimed does a 0 to 100km/h dash in 9.9 seconds. Describing this motor as a joy to drive won’t be right because it is meant for steady driving needs like highway commuting where steady and consistent performance is a priority.At initial speeds, the bigger displacement engine feels a bit lethargic and it is only when the throttle is pressed hard this lag diminishes. Once you have battled traffic and out on the highway, the diesel feels home as it keeps churning power at a constant rate. It does not respond as quickly as the other unit which might be a letdown during overtaking but then we can live with it.
The 7 speed dual clutch transmission lacks the crisp crack of a quick shift and the difference is evident. The same is felt on sports mode while shifting manually wherein the box is not as enthusiastic to upshift and downshift in a jiffy. The stiffer suspensions which are fine for smooth roads act against the ride quality and handling on rough roads.Finally, after going through the diesel in a brief manner, it was time for us to test the petrol. A petrol engine for an SUV might not sound convincing at first hear but then think of it as this, dimensions of a big car and a performance of a quicker engine clubbed together. The GLA petrol is a complete surprise package as firstly it is the only one ion the segment to offer a petrol unit. Secondly and most interestingly, this unit does 0 to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds, which is 2.3seconds quicker than the diesel.
Press the throttle gently and the 2.0L engine is waiting to show off its power delivery. This unit produces 183.54PS of power at 5500rpm and generates similar torque of 300Nm at a lower range of 1200 to 1400rpm. This one too like the diesel comes equipped with a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. The enthusiast in me was not too happy in the diesel cause of its serene delivery but the petrol was completely different. Zippy!! is how one can describe this 2.0L as all four cylinders get into action mode at lower engine speeds. If you look through these numbers and specs, it would simply mean that one will not be bogged down by stop go traffic. Inside city, the GLA petrol is a total gem. An SUV which handles like a hatchback sounds fantastic and that is the GLA for you. Don’t let the coupeish lines of the GLA suspect its potential to take on hard terrain. It has a ground clearance of 183mm, which is 13mm more than its closest rival.
One big improvement the GLA got in 2016 was a change in the driving modes which brought in an off-road and individual (customisable) mode. These remain on the current car and alter the powertrain and steering only, with no further changes to the suspension or other dynamic components of the car. In our earlier testing, we found the GLA to be no SUV but it can easily indulge in some light off-roading with the four-wheel drive and sufficient clearance. There is also a hill descent mode to bring the GLA down slopes in a controlled manner.
The steering is nice with a decent amount of feel but it isn’t consistent all through the turn. On our earlier testing, we weren’t impressed with the ride, finding it quite firm and crashy. On the facelifted car, there seems to be a small improvement. Mercedes says there hasn’t been any suspension change and this ride difference could be down to a different make of tyres.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Safety
Mercedes Benz GLA Class has a strong safety system with the presence of adaptive brake lights flashing, attention assist, LED headlamps, hill start assist and many other features. Mercedes Benz GLA Class comes with Electronic Stability Program (ESP) as well that reduces the chances to over steer and over turn.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Cost in Chennai
Mercedes Benz Gla Class Ex-Showroom Price in Chennai ranges from 30,63,836/- (GLA Class 200 d Style) to 36,73,462/- (GLA Class 220 d 4MATIC). Get best offers for Mercedes Benz Gla Class from Mercedes Benz Dealers in Chennai, Check for GLA Class price in Chennai at Carzprice
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Conclusion
The D-Day appears soon as Mercedes Benz will launch the GLA on 30th September 2014. From the looks of it, Mercedes Benz has surely made a great attempt at launching a car of this class in the compact SUV segment. The strength of the brand will propel and help gain initial momentum.In terms of features, Benz has packed all that it takes to make the GLA feel premium. There are some disappointments like cabin space and lack of an automatic climate control but if you can manage to overlook it and consider the better part of the deal, you get a premium SUV which is basically a strong crossover based on the A Class. It also happens to be the only car to boast of 7 airbags. The level of noise insulation inside is phenomenal even on hard roads; there wasn’t any redundant noise which seeped inside.
The most obvious comparison that the Mercedes Benz GLA will face is from Audi Q3. This is based vaguely on their respective body types and the price points at which both would be offered. The purpose and target audience of these two cars are significantly different. The GLA would attract young aspirational buyers, who want a stylish looking car with loads of features while the Audi Q3 is more for the real time driving enthusiasts, who wouldn’t mind taking it off tarmac once a while. There would be initial heat of competition between these two cars but that heat would die down once the consumers understand the difference between the two