2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA review, road test - a convincing entry Merc?
The Mercedes-Benz GLA has always been an easy gateway into your dream of owning one of these cars. It's usually been able to filter down the Mercedes experience to a lower price point convincingly enough, even if it may not match the headlining sales of its larger siblings. Lately, Mercedes has been putting its SUVs through a mild refresh, and the GLA is now the latest recipient of this.
2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA Styling
Some minor enhancements to the Mercedes GLA's look have been made with this update. These are most apparent with the AMG Line trim seen here. The grille has been left untouched but the chrome highlighting works well to add to this relatively small car's presence. But you get crisp new detailing in the headlamps with the new matrix lighting. The bumpers too are now a bit more aggressive with their AMG-themed look and body-coloured highlighting.
There's also this quite striking blue shade now available but other than this the GLA continues with its compact, crossover theme. It's not as imposing as some of its rivals but the cladding and the 18-inch AMG wheels do draw some attention.
At the rear, you get a neat contrasting spoiler in this version but the new lighting, similar to the GLE and GLS, adds a similarly more refined look as the front. They get a simpler horizontal theme which ties in with the new bumper design where you get cosmetic diffusers and chrome-tipped exhausts.
2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA Interiors, space, practicality
The changes on the inside of the Mercedes-Benz GLA are most easily noticed. Yes, the overall design of the dash has been left untouched. You have a simple but elegant look with the floating screens and the rounded design that still looks contemporary. The turbine-like vents still feel especially rich to use and as with other Mercedes', the ambient lighting makes for quite a view at night.
But this has been enhanced from earlier with the new finishes in this AMG Line version. The carbon-fibre-themed plastic on the dash and door pads looks realistic enough and goes well with the all-black theme here. The new AMG steering wheel, as fiddly as it is to use with the capacitive panels, looks great. Along with the sports seats with their suede finish, repeated in the headline, work with the rest of the package to get you very close to the feel of a larger Mercedes SUV.
That said, you will still notice that materials in the lower reaches of the cabin could be of a higher standard. The plastics are of a lesser grade than other Mercedes cars and also not fitted to the same standard.
Also newly updated are the screens. You get the latest MBUX system with the many themed driver screens as well as the wider tech and connectivity features. The 10.25-inch screen size is par for the course in this segment but responses have improved too. You also continue to get the neat toggle arrangement for the climate functions but the trackpad in the central tunnel has now been replaced by a small storage space. We think this could have been better utilized considering the few blank switches here don't go with the rest of the car's look. But other than this, there are quite a few usable storage spaces around the cabin.
Unlike other Mercedes SUVs, the back seat isn't the central focus of the GLA's cabin. It's not the most spacious space at this price point, just good enough for two adults considering the central tunnel and general width of the seat. The dark cabin is a drawback here but the red stitching and the very Mercedes-like two-part sunroof brighten up the space reasonably well. You have good legroom by tucking your feet under the front seats but adults over 6 feet tall will want more knee and headroom. The seatback is comfortable enough but thigh support could have been better. A folding centre armrest is a notable miss.
2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA features, safety
This new GLA comes quite well -equipped too. You get keyless access, dual-zone climate control, wireless Android Auto/Apple Carplay, in-built navigation, connected tech, wireless charging, powered front seats as well as a gesture control tailgate.
Safety, as always, is also kept in focus with seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag. You get the active braking function, blind spot monitoring, TPMS, 360-degree cameras as well as a self-park function.
2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA driving impressions
As the driver, you don't sit very high up off the road but still, in enough of a jacked-up position to not feel hatch-like. There's good visibility and the seats are especially comfortable, the slide-out thigh supports a great addition.
There have been no mechanical changes to the Mercedes-Benz GLA with this update. You can have it with a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol but the more viable option is this GLA 220d. This uses a 2.0-litre diesel paired with an eight-speed DCT, putting out 190PS and 400 Nm. There's also AWD in the mix.
This makes for quite a potent combination, given the GLA's relatively small footprint. We tested it to have a 0 to 100 kmph time of 7.3s, making it one of the quicker cars in this segment. The motor also feels up to task in most situations.
In stop-start traffic, there's enough low-end grunt to keep you moving without hesitation and it will also shuffle around gears to keep giving you a smooth, flowing performance as the road opens up. The drive modes alter gearbox, steering and engine responses so you can either draw out quite a bit of mileage or fully exploit the GLA's performance. The motor also happens to be reasonably quiet at most times which adds to the luxurious experience. This eight-speed DCT is also up to the job, it's usually not second-guessing itself.
The GLA's quite compact footprint also makes it quite easy to use in tight traffic. The steering doesn't need too much effort at any time and while it could have had more feedback, there's enough for you to feel in control in any situation. The crossover shape also makes it a reasonably good handler. The AWD system gives the GLA a good deal of grip, and you don't find there to be a lot of body roll either. So it's easy to reach a fluid rhythm around bends. It's not the most exciting but should be enough to satisfy all but the more ardent enthusiasts.
But this also means there's a bit of a trade-off with ride quality. On smooth surfaces, the GLA feels poised and comfortable at any speed. Yes, there is a slightly firm edge but it's never too uncomfortable given the large wheels. But deeper potholes do show up a lack of suspension travel, the car thuds over this in a way you wouldn't want a Mercedes to. But ground clearance here isn't a problem and a bit more care usually solves it.
2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA Price, verdict
Priced at Rs 68.96 lakh, on-road, the Mercedes GLA in this top 220d 4Matic AMG Line guise is an expensive proposition. You are getting great performance and a load of safety equipment but not the full SUV experience with its more compact shape. But for those looking for an entry point into the full Mercedes experience, this is a good first step towards the full experience.
2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA real-world mileage, performance
0 to 100 kmph - 7.3s
30 to 50 kmph - 1.3s
50 to 70 kmph - 1.5s
60 to 80 kmph - 1.8s
100 to 0 kmph - 39.4m, 2.9s
City - 11.64 kmpl
Highway - 18.21 kmpl
Overall - 13.26 kmpl
Starts Rs 42.1 Lakhs