Home / Home / Mercedes GLA 220 d 4MATIC Test Review – GLAd It’s a Diesel


The new Mercedes GLA arrives sporting some refreshed elements and updates outside and inside. Under the skin, though, it sees no change. Here is what it is like.

Mercedes GLA

The new Mercedes GLA is a facelift of the H247-gen model that was refreshed in Q2 last year and is now making its way to India. Mercedes have kept it no secret that they are sold out pretty much across the board with demand for premium cars seeing new highs last year. That also meant they sold over 17,000 cars in India. That includes locally produced offerings as well as the limited number of AMG high performance models.

The Mercedes GLA is based on the MFA (modular front architecture) that spawned the then all-new A-Class hatchback and which also underpins the A Sedan, the B, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, GLA, GLB, and anything else with an A or a B in its name that I may have missed out that isn’t electric.

The new Mercedes GLA is a well-rounded car, in terms of styling at least, and is as aerodynamic as its swoopy form makes one believe it is. It has grown longer by two millimetres but has the same width, height, and wheelbase as before. Even Mercedes’ communication only mentions the new front and rear design, LED High Performance headlights, comfort seats in Artico/fabric, leather steering wheel, and 10.25-inch media display as standard, with the new MBUX generation and upgraded Driving Assistance package, with the electrified drivetrains and further developed hybrid powertrain—the GLA 250 e that isn’t sold here. The electrification is restricted to the petrol engine line while the diesels (there are three specs in Europe: 180 d, 200 d, and 220 d) continue with the 1,950-cc four-cylinder “OM654q” engine that is now Euro 6e-compliant; more than well-prepared for BS6-II emission norms. The revised telematics system gets a new design and improved performance and now has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also an additional USB Type-C port with higher USB charging power and all USB ports are now illuminated. Furthermore, by activating online services in the Mercedes me app, the intelligent voice assistant becomes even more capable of dialogue and learning.

Mercedes GLA

The Mercedes GLA gets a new studded radiator grille with vertical louvres and a horizontal fin that aims to enhance its butch appeal and add to its “AMG Line” character. Adding to the modern touches are the standard LED High Performance headlights with the multi-fin sections standing out from what we’re used to. These are similar to the headlights offered on the new C-Class as well. The GLA also gets revised LED tail-light clusters. Another new element is the colour: a new spektralblau (Spectral Blue) exterior paint finish colour—a €892.50 (Rs 80k) option in Europe. The new front bumper gets visible underbody protection which underlines what this top-spec 220 d 4MATIC model is capable of. Stated angles are 19.4° approach and 34.8° departure. The fully laden ground clearance is 143 mm. Oh, and the wheels are now 19-inch units with 235/50 rubber.

Inside, the new Mercedes GLA in this AMG Line trim gets captivating carbon-fibre elements in the door-panels and on the dashboard. The flat-bottomed steering wheel gets the twin-bar touch controls on either side. The twin 10.25-inch screens, one for the instrument cluster and the other for the centre multimedia screen, look like one seamless bar. Most controls are put away behind headings and menus here, including those for the active brake assist and other assistance features. The upholstery on the seats has a sporty alcantara-like finish with red contrast stitching, but that also means no ventilated seats. There is enough storage space in the doors and centre console and more under the centre arm-rest. The head-room and knee-room at the front is comparable to larger cars and that means occupants can rest comfortably. The rear room is adequate even for larger than average occupants. Finally, behind the powered tail-gate is a 427-litre boot that can be expanded to 1,422 litres.

Mercedes GLA

Under the bonnet is the 2.0-litre four-pot discussed earlier which, in 220 d spec, delivers 190 hp at a lowly 3,800 rpm with a peak torque of 400 Nm that plateaus for a 1,000-rpm band between 1,600 and 2,600 rpm—making for a very usable range. The eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox sends power to the front-biased 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. This is the most potent spec of the Mercedes GLA diesel and it can dismiss zero to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and get up to a top speed of 219 km/h. However, it’s not particularly quiet getting there. The DCT can hold gears in “Sport” as well as when the steering-mounted paddles are used. The efficiency is in the ballpark of expectations—high single figures in the city and early doubles on a more open road at cruising speed. The comfort level is fine overall but isn’t particularly cuddly either. The seat is quite high for my liking even at its lowest setting and the ride is soft. Taking speed-humps at anything less than crawl speed leads to the front diving and the suspension bottoming out. That’s one way of enforcing speed limits, I have to say. The ride on smoother surfaces is good, though, and the steering feel is good as well. Changes of direction are handled pretty well, too, and the brakes do a good job.

Mercedes GLA

There are a fair few driver assistance features on board and the 360° camera is among the most useful pieces of kit. There is also the cruise control, blind-spot warning, attention assist, and the infamous autonomous braking or active brake assist in Merc lingo. That remains a concern. The abrupt nature of the auto-brake with a late high-frequency beep is not particularly handy in traffic and, with everyone and their cousin cutting across on either side, makes the chances of a rear impact far too likely. That apart, the Mercedes GLA should be a prominent name on the list of those aspiring to own a three-pointed star. It offers a potent driveline and modern styling that turns a few heads along the way. At just about Rs 55 lakh (ex-showroom), the new GLA will go head-on with the BMW X1 across the line-up with the petrol up against the Audi Q3 as well. There’s also the popular but more compact Range Rover Evoque to contend with, although that’s priced much higher. On a side note, if snob-value is not a part of the equation, there are credible options that are larger, more comfortable, better equipped, and offer a superior driving experience; needless to say, way more bang for the buck. Choose wisely.

Mercedes GLA

About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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