2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4-Matic
Mercedes-Benz is probably one of the most prestigious German automotive brands, and they are always known of their luxury sedans, such as the famous S-Class. It has always been the statue of luxury and prestige that it carried the brand image for several decades. However, since the beginning of the 1990s, SUVs and Crossovers are taking the majority of the market share, and sedan sales are constantly declining.
Though Mercedes-Benz still has several sedans across its model range, they have always had off-road-oriented vehicles, including the G-Wagen (a.k.a. Gelandewagen). However, things get much more civilized and luxurious in the last 20 years, and currently, Mercedes-Benz has 9 different SUV models in their lineup. Compared to four sedans, it shows how important SUVs are in today’s market.
GLA is the smallest SUV in the Mercedes’ model lineup, and it was first released in 2013. The Current (Second) generation is released in 2020 and it was a big change compared to the previous gen. It was not only more modern design or more tech, but the new GLA is significantly bigger and more suitable for families. Let’s see how the new generation GLA250 4Matic performs and see if it is really worth choosing this over a regular SUV.
Exterior and Interior
Like the other higher-end Mercedes-Benz SUVs, GLA250 4Matic comes with traditional Mercedes-Benz design elements, such as a big front grille, a big one-piece front headlight, and a huge logo. There are plastic parts on the fenders and it makes the car look more rugged, underlining its crossover genes. Our tester had the AMG package, that’s why it comes with special AMG rims, making the car look sportier and attractive. I think this is one of the better-looking crossovers, definitely better than the latest Audi Q3 and BMW X1.
The rear design of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic is definitely an improvement compared to the previous generation. First-generation GLA was not an ugly car, but big taillights and overall rear design make it look more like a hatchback rather than an SUV. This time, Mercedes-Benz took its time to make it look more upscale and elegant. The rear bumper has a huge unpainted part integrated with some chrome lines to underline the ruggedness and sportiness, and it also comes with real exhaust tips.
In the interior, you get more premium material choice and craftsmanship compared to Japanese rivals, but you should not expect to find traditional Mercedes-Benz quality if you are coming from more expensive models. There are some common parts used in other Mercedes-Benz models, including the steering wheel, shifter, and infotainment buttons, but for the price, I think it is a great place to spend time.
Like the front seats, rear seats are very comfortable, though there is no USB available in the rear seats. It has surprisingly large rear legroom and tons of headroom, makes it a great place even for large adults. It does not come with a heated rear seat, which is a bummer for the price tag, it should at least be an option. You cannot move the rear seats forward or backwards. In terms of flexibility it is not the greatest, but still practical for families.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic may not have the class-leading cargo space but definitely has decent capacity. Behind the rear seats, it has 15.4 cubic feet (436 lt) and it can go up to 50.5 cubic feet (1430lt) if you fold down the rear seats. It has 40/20/40 split rear seats that you can just fold down the middle part for tall items, and at the same time, you can still carry two passengers in the rear.
Engine and Drivetrain
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic comes with a 2.0 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that produces 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged engine is matched with an 8-speed Dual Clutch transmission and 4Matic All-Wheel Drive system. The engine has a nice exhaust note, even though the turbo is located in the front of the engine, you can still hear the turbo spool.
The turbocharged engine has a lot of torque at low RPM, and at higher RPMs, you feel the torque curve goes down. The engine is focused on fuel economy yet very easy to drive as a daily driver due to the torque curve in the mid-range. In our tests, the average consumption was 9L / 100 km, which is definitely good for an AWD SUV.
Driving Impressions and Features
Driving the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 as a daily driver is a great experience, as it is mainly focused on-road comfort. It has nice noise isolation with minimal tire noise because of winter tires on our tester. Due to comfort-oriented suspension, it has a lot of body rolls on the corners, and the 4MATIC AWD system is a front-wheel biased system. As a result, you get understeering if you are at the limit, which is expected from a family-oriented SUV.
Like the suspension, steering is comfort-oriented and very easy to use on a daily basis. It’s a little bit numb if you like to drive it spiritedly, but I don’t think this is a problem with 99% of the potential buyers. The brakes and brake pedal feel surprisingly good for a compact family SUV, it does feel very responsive and stops the car perfectly fine. I wish there was an auto brake hold option, as it is readily available in much cheaper non-premium SUVs.
Compared to previous generation GLA, the designers took it up a notch. The great thing about this interior is that having two huge screens for the cluster and infotainment system. They both make the GLA a tech hub, definitely the most distinctive feature. The infotainment system is very intuitive and easy to use. The digital gauge cluster is one of the most customizable and definitely the best one in this price range. You may not be getting top-notch interior quality like the S-Class, but the technology side is what it makes special and upscale. Aside from having too much piano black, there is no compromise about the interior.
There are few things that can be improved. First of all, our tester didn’t have adaptive cruise control. It is an option with the GLA250. This is something that comes standard in most of modern SUVs, and for this price range, it is unacceptable. The second thing that can be improved is the Apple CarPlay implementation. Granted, the car has a great infotainment screen. The resolution is excellent and the feedback is flawless. However, it does not come with full-screen CarPlay, which is disappointing for this type of vehicle.
Pricing and the Verdict
There are so many different models and types of SUVs that you may get overwhelmed while looking for the right one. 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 is the most affordable in the brand’s SUV lineup, but being affordable does not mean it is a good value. With any premium brand, you get less value than other non-premium brands, and that’s why 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 would not be the best bang for the buck option, it’s not meant to be that type of a vehicle.
If you are looking for a small premium SUV as a daily driver, it is a great option. One of the strongest selling points of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 is the technology implementation that offers one of the best and most intuitive infotainment systems on the market. 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic starts at $42,400 and with all the options including the price tag goes all the way up to $59.000 CAD.
For pricing and specification of our tester, please see the window sticker below:
For more details – please visit www.mercedes-benz.ca
Article by Dan Gunay
Pictures by Dan Gunay, Varol McKars, Burak McKars