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.