Mercedes GLA review

Category: Family SUV

Section: Performance & drive

2021 Mercedes GLA rear cornering
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA front cornering
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA rear cornering
  • 2020 Mercedes GLA dashboard
  • 2020 Mercedes GLA rear seats
  • 2020 Mercedes GLA rear seats
  • 2020 Mercedes GLA infotainment controller
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA rear
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA nose
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA front
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA side
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA alloy wheel
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA front cornering
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA rear cornering
  • 2020 Mercedes GLA dashboard
  • 2020 Mercedes GLA rear seats
  • 2020 Mercedes GLA rear seats
  • 2020 Mercedes GLA infotainment controller
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA rear
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA nose
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA front
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA side
  • 2021 Mercedes GLA alloy wheel
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In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

We’ve yet to try the entry-level GLA 180, but this 1.3-litre engine is no ball of fire in Mercedes' A-Class hatchback and is likely to struggle in the bigger, heavier GLA. By contrast, the GLA 200 could well be the sweet spot of the range. Admittedly, we're still waiting to sample it in the GLA, but it’s our pick of the A-Class line-up, providing effortless oomph for relaxed cruising. In the GLA it dispatches the 0-62mph sprint in 7.1sec – quicker than the 7.6sec a BMW X1 20i can muster.

If pace is truly important to you, though, you’ll want to look at the GLA 250. It’s hot hatch fast and its plentiful low-rev urge makes it feel pleasingly brisk even when you’re not thrashing it. There’s also an eco-friendly plug-in hybrid, the GLA 250e, which uses a version of the 1.3-litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor that significantly boosts its performance. It’s only fractionally slower than the GLA 250. Official figures suggest it can take you 37 miles on pure electric power – further than rival plug-in hybrids the X1 xDrive25e and the Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 (31 and 28 miles respectively).

Suspension and ride comfort

Ride comfort is decent, even on the relatively large 19in wheels and lowered suspension fitted to AMG Line models. The Mercedes GLA doesn’t breeze over ripples and expansion joints as effectively as the Volvo XC40, but it suffers less from side-to-side sway and still takes the sting out of potholes.

The optional adaptive suspension, which stiffens or softens depending on which mode you're in, feels like an unnecessary expense.

2021 Mercedes GLA rear cornering

Handling