What's the used Mercedes GLA-Class hatchback like?
Take a regular hatchback, raise it up a little, add some beefy bodywork and voila, you have a small SUV. It’s a simple enough formula, but it's going down a treat, and even premium manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz have jumped on this lucrative bandwagon.
The GLA is Mercedes’ first small SUV and is based upon the underpinnings of the A-Class family hatchback. It may look more substantial, but in fact it’s no longer, no wider and only 59mm taller.
It shares its engines, too, with the concise four-cylinder engine line-up kicking off with a 154bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol unit in the entry-level GLA 200 and a 134bhp 2.1-litre diesel in the GLA 200d CDI. Thta same diesel engine is also available in 168bhp form in the four-wheel-drive GLA 220d, and there’s also a 208bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor in the GLA 250. For speed freaks, there’s also a 375bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged beast in the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45.
All save the GLA 200 are available with Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel drive system, which brings with it the otherwise optional 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Front-wheel-drive models get a six-speed manual 'box as standard.
Most of the engines prove punchy if not terribly refined. The GLA's steering is a little vague, too, and although there’s reasonable grip, the handling generally doesn’t inspire great confidence or enthusiasm. On top of that, the ride is a little fidgety, bordering on uncomfortable over broken surfaces.
However, things get better inside, with plush-feeling materials and comfortable seats. All GLA models get plenty of standard kit, too, although space in the rear is not as generous as you might expect: six-footers will find themselves cramped.
So, the power of the Mercedes-Benz badge gives the GLA a good start in life, even if its road behaviour is at best only adequate. For buyers looking for a used car of quality in this class, and one that conforms exactly to the laid-out SUV criteria, it's worthy of a look.