Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 d tested. More than a higher class A? – 45 Seconds

Despite its success (over a million units have been sold), the "label" of being little more than an upper class A has always accompanied the Mercedes-Benz GLA.

In this second generation, Mercedes-Benz has bet on the abandonment of this idea, but has it succeeded in its intentions?

On initial contact, the answer is: yes, you did. The biggest compliment I can give the new Mercedes-Benz GLA is the fact that it kept me from remembering your less adventurous brother every time I see him, which happened when I ran into his predecessor.

Whether it is (much) higher – 10 cm to be precise -, which guarantees different proportions, or because it has lost the various decorative and plastic elements used by the previous GLA, this new generation has a more "Independent" the model on which it is based.

Inland, the differences appear there

If the Mercedes-Benz GLA has managed to break away from the upper class A "label" on the interior, this distance is more discreet.

This way, even the front seats will have a hard time distinguishing them. The dashboard is exactly the same which means we have the very complete system of infotainment MBUX with its four control modes: voice, touchpad on the steering wheel, the touchscreen or the control between the seats.

The build quality and materials are at a level that would be expected of Mercedes-Benz and only the highest driving position indicates that we are in control of the GLA and not the A-Class.

That said, it is in the rear seats that the Mercedes-Benz GLA departs from its brother. Equipped with sliding seats (14 cm of travel), it offers between 59 and 73 cm of legroom (the A-Class measures 68 cm) and the feeling we have is that there is always a lot more space than in the German compact.

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One of the main differences from the A-Class is the feeling of spaciousness in the rear seats. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

Also in the luggage compartment, the GLA reveals that it is more user-friendly for anyone who likes to travel with the 'house on their back', offering 425 liters (435 l for gasoline-powered versions), a much higher value. to the 370 liters of the A-Class and also (slightly) higher than the 421 liters of the previous generation.

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With 425 liters of capacity, the luggage compartment meets the needs of a family. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

Is it also different at the wheel?

The first difference we feel at the controls of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA compared to the A-Class is that we are sitting in a much higher position.

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As is the "norm" in modern Mercedes-Benzes, the seats are firm but not uncomfortable. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

Once in class, the truth is that you will hardly confuse the two models. Despite sharing the platform, the reactions of the Mercedes-Benz GLA are different from those of the A-Class.

What both have in common is firm cushioning and direct, precise steering. The "exclusive" of the GLA is the slight adornment of the bodywork at higher paces, a merit of greater height and which tries to remind us that we are behind the wheel of an SUV.

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The dashboard is extremely customizable and very comprehensive. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

Basically, in the dynamic chapter, the GLA assumes a role similar to that of the A-Class in the SUV segment among compacts. Safe, stable, and efficient, it trades a dose of fun for a hefty dose of predictability, allowing us to fold pretty quickly.

Already on the motorway, the Mercedes-Benz GLA does not hide its German origins and "handles for you" the long strips at high speed, and in this chapter it has a valuable ally in the Diesel engine that powered this unit.

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Despite being (much) larger than its predecessor, the GLA continues to resemble one of the "slimmest" SUVs around. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

With 2.0 l, 150 hp and 320 Nm, this is combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission. A pair that works pretty well, with the support of a set of Riding Modes that really make a difference every time we select them.

If the “Comfort” mode is a compromise, the “Sport” mode allows us to make the most of the dynamic potential of the GLA. It improves throttle response, acts on the gearbox (which maintains gear longer) and makes the steering heavier (maybe even a little too heavy).

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Contrary to what sometimes happens, selecting one of these driving modes has real effects. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

Finally, the "ECO" mode unlocks the full savings potential of the 2.0 l Diesel from Mercedes-Benz. If in the "Comfort" and even "Sport" modes, this had already proved economical, with averages evolving respectively around 5.7 l / 100 km and 6.2 l / 100 km (here at a faster pace )), in "ECO" mode, economy becomes the watchword.

Capable of activating the "freewheel" function in the transmission, this mode allowed me to reach averages of around 5 l / 100 km on open roads and around 6 to 6.5 l / 100 km in urban areas. . It is true that for that one cannot run, but it is good to know that the GLA is capable of assuming several "personalities".

Is this the right car for me?

Although less familiar than the GLB, in this new generation the Mercedes-Benz GLA is much more than an A-Class for climbing rides.

With a more narrow German compact style, more room and 143mm of ground clearance (9mm more than in the previous generation), the GLA offers versatility your brother can only dream of.

Is this the right choice? Well, for those looking for an SUV premium qb spacious, roadster by nature and with a diesel engine pleasant to use in the most diverse circumstances, the GLA may therefore very well be the right choice, especially now that it is moving away from the concept crossing and it assumes more clearly as an SUV … that we no longer "label" an A-Class.

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