I might really feel it inside seconds. The excessive eyeline. The hefty steering. How the physique keeled round corners; the redesigned 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 drives like a correct SUV.
“Sport Utility Vehicle” is a considerably ambiguous time period today, however my time within the 2021 GLA 250 confirmed that it matches that class extra convincingly than its predecessor. In its transformation from that tall-ish hatchback, it misplaced some fun-to-drive perspective, however what it gained is a refined, authoritative demeanor that feels greater than its subcompact sizing suggests.
How Big Is the New Mercedes GLA 250?
The dimensional adjustments point out its mission. Most vital is peak, a full 3.6 inches taller than earlier than. Width will increase by 1.2 inches, with 1.Eight inches of observe added entrance and rear. The wheelbase is prolonged by 1.1 inches, however general size is definitely 0.6 inches shorter. Its new proportions, plus design elements like tight overhangs and a compact greenhouse, make this GLA look extra substantial. It ain’t a G-Wagen, however it has some actual SUV presence.
There’s related resizing inside, too. Front headroom will increase 0.Eight inch, although rear headroom shrinks by 0.Three inch. Front legroom loses 0.Eight inch, however rear legroom grows by a whopping 4.5 inches. That large enhance makes this GLA extra livable. Despite my extreme stature, I match comfortably with the motive force’s seat ahead of its aft stops. So positioned, there was area for a 6-foot colleague to hop in again. Places swapped, I had an honest quantity of area behind him. NBA gamers take observe: You do not want a GLS-Class. Everyone else, too: You and a few passengers will match properly on this child Benz.
Another key measurement: a 3.8-inch greater entrance seating place, which targets sensible and psychological elements of SUV enchantment. To the previous, it gives a broad view of the highway forward (although that pinched D-pillar window limits rear visibility). To the latter, it imparts a sense of wanting down in your environment—a way of roadway superiority. In both case, it helps the brand new GLA 250’s SUV-esque sensations.
How Does the GLA 250 Drive?
That taller seating place is obvious at a standstill, however turns into extra apparent within the very first nook; the peak improve contributes to loads of physique roll, even at neighborhood speeds. After an inexpensive numb spot on-center, the steering weights up quickly; this is not a automotive to be pushed with a pinky. These dynamics are frequent amongst midsize or full-size SUVs, but they’re current on this subcompact, too. That is not to say dealing with is poor. With its tires pushed to the corners and correct steering, the GLA 250 is simple to put. It’s actually not the enjoyable high-riding hot hatchback its predecessor was, however it’s predictable and assured on a curvy highway.
Part of me lamented the decreased enjoyable, however I additionally appreciated the improved consolation. Whereas we criticized the earlier GLA-Class’ overly agency experience, this one is sort of nice. It damps out cracks and coarseness, whereas rounding off potholes and bigger impacts. The wheelbase is now barely longer however stays fairly quick within the grand scheme of issues, so speedy undulations may cause the automotive to buck round. In these situations, the GLA wants a second to collect itself, however it’s in any other case a clean cruiser. I did not discover highway or wind noise bothersome, as we now have within the earlier GLA.
Every 2021 GLA mannequin—even the AMG 35 and 45—is powered by some sort of two.0-liter turbo-four engine. The GLA 250’s unit is tuned to supply 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque; ours was paired with 4Matic all-wheel drive, a $2,000 choice. Unexciting but inoffensive, the engine felt completely ample for my every day metropolis driving wants. Extenuating circumstances saved us away from our testing services, however count on a slight enchancment over the 6.9-second 0-60 mph time we recorded from the equivalent 2018 GLA.
The eight-speed dual-clutch computerized likes to upshift early for effectivity, however it stays ever-ready to drop a gear when requested. Still, like many transmissions of this kind, low-speed behaviors could possibly be improved. Off-brake creep impresses, however jabbing the fuel from a standstill can catch the clutch unready. The first-to-second upshift is not as invisible because the others. Slowing to a cease, I might hear and really feel ratios clunking down. These aren’t dealbreakers, however a standard torque converter computerized may really feel extra pure to most.
Is the GLA 250 Luxurious?
If you are after relatively inexpensive luxury, the GLA will not disappoint—it is markedly higher than the outgoing mannequin. That automotive’s ugly dashboard button panel is gone, with features now built-in into the infotainment touchscreen. Gone too are its plain-looking HVAC controls, changed by a suave strip of toggles, which press with good tactility. In distinction to the snug experience, seat cushioning feels unsupportive and far too agency. All advised, nevertheless, arduous plastics are higher hid, and supplies are usually higher detailed and extra engaging.
Sure, Mercedes improves high quality in any redesign. But I used to be stunned by how luxurious the GLA 250 felt in comparison with the GLB 250 I drove a few months ago. Their cabin layouts and beginning costs are darn close to an identical. Both reveal some low cost bits in case you poke round. What makes the distinction?
It wasn’t our GLA’s $850 Burmester audio system. That sounded nice, however the usual setup within the GLB was good, too. The GLB I drove lacked the $1,500 panoramic sunroof fitted to our GLA. Big deal; I opened it about twice. Also absent from that GLB was this GLA’s $310 multi-color ambient lighting setup, an amusing bauble at most. Both vehicles had $325 pure grain wooden trim, which jogged my memory of ironmongery store flooring samples in every. Neither had a expertise benefit, as each featured Mercedes’ capable and sometimes confusing MBUX infotainment system on the non-obligatory 10.Three inch touchscreen (a part of the $1,750 premium package deal), and wonderful $1,750 driver-assist suite, which provides adaptive cruise management, lane-keep help, emergency evasive steering, and extra.
Is the GLA 250 an SUV?
That luxurious ambiance comes all the way down to the subtleties current whatever the choices chosen. The GLA 250’s supple, quiet experience makes it a deft on a regular basis cruiser. That elevated eyeline gives a commanding, assured place on the highway. The area it gives in any seat defies its exterior dimensions. Factor in its weighty steering and sure, even physique roll, and the result’s a redesigned GLA that feels greater than it’s.
It’s now extra of an SUV than ever, and it is higher for it. You’re solely reminded of the reality if you see how a lot area it leaves in a parking spot.
|2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4Matic|
|LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||2.0L/221-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,500 lb (MT est)|
|L x W x H||173.6 x 72.2 x 63.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.6 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||24/33/27 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||140/102 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.71 lb/mile|