- Classy, well-built interior
- Impressive safety record
- Low running costs on diesel engines
- More expensive to buy than some rivals
- Not especially fun to drive
- Cabin space isn’t class-leading
Classy compact crossover falls just short of its key rivals.
Compact crossover SUVs are one of the biggest growing markets in the UK right now, so it’s hardly surprising that in 2014 Mercedes entered the market. The Mercedes GLA is based on the A-Class hatchback, but features a jacked-up ride height, and a more practical boot space. The Mercedes GLA has one of the classiest interiors on offer in the class, generous standard kit, and a comfortable ride. It’s not especially fun to drive, and its off-road capabilities aren’t suited to anything other than a bit of mud. But for most family buyers, this won’t be an issue. The Mercedes GLA’s brand appeal is what will attract most buyers, and with its stylish exterior and impressive safety scores, it’s sure to be a hit with families who want that a little touch of class in their lives.
Classy cabin, generous equipment, but lack of commanding driving position might put off some buyers.
Compared to the majority of compact SUVs on the market right now, the Mercedes GLA features one of the classiest interiors in its class. It might not have the commanding driving position that you’d expect from a compact crossover, but it has an awful lot else to offer.
Step inside your Mercedes GLA and you’ll be struck by the quality on show. The design is modern and contemporary, whilst the centre-mounted touchscreen is a feature that makes the GLA feel more expensive than it actually is. As you’d expect from Mercedes, build quality is excellent, whilst the soft-touch materials that the dashboard is constructed in make it feel like a premium product. Controls are well laid out and easy to use as well, making it great on the go. The driving position isn’t as commanding as you’d expect from a car in this class however.
Practicality and storage space are a big factor for family buyers, and thankfully the GLA will tick most buyers boxes. The 481 litre boot capacity is bigger than both the Audi Q3, though it falls short of the BMW X1, and the Range Rover Evoque. For most families, there’s still enough room however, with enough space for a big family shop and a bulky buggy to fit comfortably. Despite this, rear legroom isn’t the best, whilst rear visibility is disappointing, so there won’t be a lot for your kids to look at for long journeys.
If you’re after the very latest equipment in your next compact crossover, you won’t be disappointed with the GLA. Even the entry-level SE trim comes with air-con, cruise control, automatic lights, rear parking camera, and leatherette seats. If you want sat nav and a DAB radio you’ll have to go for one of the more expensive trims, but all in all, you’ll be getting good value for money.
Overall the interior of the GLA is a pretty impressive package. OK, the driving position isn’t all that great, and rear passenger space isn’t a match for some rivals, but the high quality, prestigious cabin, and the generous equipment list are sure to win a lot of fans.
Comfortable, but not especially fun to drive.
If you’re a buyer who values fun behind the wheel, you might be disappointed with the GLA. It handles well enough, and there’s plenty of grip, but the steering is a little vague, so it doesn’t encourage throwing it into a corner on country roads. Four wheel drive is available with the GLA, though it doesn’t turn the GLA into a bona fide off-roader. Despite this, it does make it feel more secure in icy and wet conditions. Body roll is kept well in check as well, so it won’t roll around a corner like some compact crossovers do.
Suspension and Chassis
For most families, ride comfort will be more important than driver-focused handling, and the GLA is thankfully pretty solid in this regard. The increased ride height mean that it handles bumpy B-roads, and pothole-laden city centre streets with relative ease. Higher end models, including the AMG model, are fitted with a stiffer suspension setup, which makes the GLA less comfortable, so they’re not advised for families who value comfort, especially over long distances.
Gearbox options in the GLA come in two guises. Only the entry-level GLA200d model comes with a manual transmission, which is understandable, as manuals aren’t the most popular in luxury crossovers. It performs reasonably well however, so if you do still want the traditional gearstick, it won’t disappoint. Featuring across the rest of the range is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which is smooth, refined, and perfectly suited to the GLA’s on-road characteristics.
Efficient diesels are the pick of the bunch.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your GLA, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. Diesels make the most sense for family buyers, though the performance-driven AMG will excite petrolheads.
If you’re interested in getting the most performance from your GLA, the fastest and most powerful engine in the range is the petrol-powered GLA 45 AMG. With 381bhp under the bonnet, this model will accelerate from 0-62mph in an incredible 4.4 seconds. That’s enough to worry some out-and-out performance cars, so if you’re after a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the AMG might just be the car for you. As you’d expect however, this model is both expensive to buy and expensive to run, so unless you’ve got deep pockets, it might be one to avoid.
More and more families are becoming eco-conscious, and thankfully the GLA range has some decent engine offerings in its range. The most impressive is undoubtedly the GLA 200d model, which produces just 108g/km of CO2 emissions. OK it’s not as green as the best Qashqai, but it’s still relatively good, and will only cost £20 each year in road tax. This model is also the best option for money-savers. With fuel efficiency as high as 67.3mpg, you can save yourself plenty of money at the service station each month.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your GLA, you’re going to get a smooth refined engine that has enough power, and won’t cost a king’s ransom to run (providing you avoid the AMG model). Diesels make the most sense for most family buyers, so it’s easy to see why they’re so sought-after on the used market.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, with impressive standard safety kit.
Like nearly every car in its class, the Mercedes GLA easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 96% in adult safety, 88% in child safety, and 67% in pedestrian safety, the GLA is one of the safest compact crossovers currently on sale. You’ll also get seven airbags, a pop-up bonnet that helps passengers upon impact, and a system that alerts you if you start to nod off. So if you’re a family buyer whose primary concern is safety, the GLA will be right up your street.
Good value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation.
The Mercedes GLA offers pretty good value for money for family buyers. This obviously varies between model to model, but generally speaking fuel efficiency is as good as rivals across the range. CO2 emissions are also pretty decent, with the best 200d model only costing £20 to tax each year. The GLA 45 AMG model is the anomaly in the range, being both expensive on fuel, and road tax, so it’s one to avoid unless you’re prepared to pay for its blistering performance.
The cost of insurance in the GLA depends on which model and trim you choose to go for. It’s roughly the same as its premium competitors, so whilst you won’t be saving lots of money, you won’t be shelling out too much either. The cheapest option to insure in the range is the GLA 200d SE, which is in group 19, whilst the most expensive is the supercar-slaying, range-topping, which is group 40.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Mercedes GLA, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Mercedes GLA is a great option for family buyers looking for a cool compact crossover with a touch of class. Its stylish design, high-end interior, and brand appeal make it a hugely desirable option. It might not be the most spacious, nor is it especially cheap to buy (at least from new), but with its impressive safety record, efficient diesel engines, and generous standard kit, it’s certainly a solid option that’s well worth considering.
Buying a used Mercedes GLA online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Mercedes GLA for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used GLA. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Mercedes GLA online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Mercedes? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Mercedes GLA, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used GLA, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Mercedes to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.