What's the used Mercedes GLA-Class hatchback like?
Take a regular family hatchback, raise it up a little, add some beefy bodywork and voilà, you have a family SUV. It’s a simple enough formula, but it has been going down a treat for a long time, so much so that even premium manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz are on this lucrative bandwagon.
The GLA was Mercedes’ first family SUV and it was based upon the underpinnings of the old A-Class. It may look more substantial than the equivalent A-Class, but in fact it’s no longer, no wider and only 59mm taller. It ran successfully from 2014 to 2020, when it was replaced by an all-new second-generation car. Buyers loved its practicality, ease of use and of course that premium badge, and its competitive pricing sealed the deal for many.
It uses the same engines, too. The concise four-cylinder engine line-up kicks off with a 118bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol (badged GLA 180), followed by a 154bhp version of the same engine in the 200. A 211bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre comes in the 250. There are a couple of different power outputs for the 2.1-litre diesel: 134bhp in the 200d and 168bhp in the four-wheel-drive 220d. Most of these engines prove punchy if not terribly refined. For speed freaks, there’s also a 375bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged beast in the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45.
All apart from the 200 are available with Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel-drive system, which brings with it the otherwise optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Front-wheel-drive models get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard.
As for the standard equipment, there are three trim levels on offer: SE, Sport and AMG Line. Entry-level kit includes 17in alloy wheels, active brake assist and off-road suspension set-up on the outside as standard, while inside there is a leather upholstery, reversing camera, extensive cubbyholes, air conditioning, and Mercedes' Audio 20 infotainment system. The mid-range Sport models gain bigger alloys, aluminium roof rails, privacy glass, automatic wipers, climate control and an 8.0in infotainment display.
The range-topping AMG Line trim adorns your GLA with 19in alloy wheels, run-flat tyres, stainless steel pedals and leather sports seats. Those intent on the GLA 45 will find an AMG-tweaked exhaust and braking systems, folding mirrors, bi-xenon headlights, parking sensors on the outside along with an aggressive bodykit. Inside there are plenty of AMG badging and decals, Garmin-powered sat-nav and heated Performance sports front seats.
On the road, the GLA's steering is a little vague, and although it finds reasonable grip, its handling generally doesn’t inspire great confidence or enthusiasm. On top of that, its ride is a little fidgety, bordering on uncomfortable over broken surfaces.
Things get better inside, though, thanks to plush-feeling materials and comfortable seats. All GLAs get plenty of standard kit, too, although space in the rear isn't as generous as you might expect: six-footers will find themselves cramped. You can just about sit two adults in the rear behind two adults in the front – but no more comfortably than in most compact cars. The rear seat backs split and fold 70/30 and, if you spec the appropriate option (not fitted on our car), even adjust the rear seat back angle, freeing up an additional 60 litres of boot space.
The boot itself is a competitive 421 litres with the rear seats in place, rising to 836 litres if you sling them forwards.
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