Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The GLA’s prices are a little on the steep side; it costs more to buy outright than its key rivals, the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. And while it should hold its value well, the competition tends to excel in this area, too.
On the other hand, the two diesel engines are impressively efficient – a little more so than equivalent versions of the Q3 and Range Rover Evoque – as proved in our real-world tests on other Mercedes models that use the same diesel engines as the GLA.
As a bonus, these engines are RDE2 compliant, which means there's no 4% penalty to add to its benefit in kind ratings. But really, the clear choice for company car drivers in this lineup is the GLA 250e. Because it’s a plug-in hybrid, has very low CO2 emissions and can travel for more than 30 miles on electric power alone, it sits in the same low BIK tax bracket as the X1 xDrive25e – and both are in a lower bracket than the XC40 T5 Recharge.
Equipment, options and extras
Even the entry-level Sport model is pretty well equipped, giving you 18in alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, climate control and heated front seats.
In fact, given that the pricier AMG Line trim mostly focuses on making the car look more aggressive, we’d skip this and instead spend our money on the Executive package, for the infotainment upgrades it brings.
The GLA didn’t feature in our 2020 What Car? reliability survey, but the performance of the A-Class hatchback that it’s closely related to gives some cause for concern, because that finished in 9th place out of 12 cars in the family car class.
Mercedes also came a disappointing 26th out of 31 manufacturers, with Audi and BMW finishing higher.
Safety and security
To help you avoid accidents, all GLAs come with automatic emergency braking, a driver drowsiness monitor and systems that can stop you drifting out of your lane and that can read the speed limit, displaying it in the instrument panel.
Meanwhile, an optional Driving Assistance package brings a host of other tech, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a speed adjustment system which can automatically slow the car as you approach bends, junctions and roundabouts.
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