Sunday, 11 October 2020

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class


Sitting at the bottom of Mercedes-Benz's SUV hierarchy, the diminutive GLA-class brings style and luxury in a compact package—and it's all-new for 2021. 

Under the hood is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic; all-wheel drive is optional, but isn't likely to make the GLA-class ready to tackle the Rubicon. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

A tuned-up AMG version (reviewed separately) will more readily satisfy speed freaks. 

Improved interior materials, new tech features, and contemporary exterior styling are all marked improvements versus the outgoing 2020 model and will bring the 2021 GLA-class in line with the rest of the modernized Mercedes lineup.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

What's New for 2021?

For 2021, the GLA-class is a clean-sheet redesign. While it still resembles the previous-generation GLA-class, the new model looks more premium inside and out, which will help it blend with the throng of Mercedes-Benz SUVs that launched for the 2019 and 2020 model years. 

It shares a platform with the brand's other small offerings, including the slightly larger GLB-class SUV and the entry-level A-class sedan.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Pricing and Which One to Buy

While no one who buys a GLA250 is likely to explore the trails, opting for the 4Matic model adds more than just all-wheel drive. 

Mercedes is making the Off-Road Engineering package standard on that model, which provides an off-road driving mode that decreases throttle response and power delivery.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Some drivers may find it useful in certain situations, such as plowing through heavy snow. 

The Premium package is a must as it adds the larger 10.3-inch digital gauge display and 10.3-inch infotainment screen, which are combined in one continuous panel and lend a tech-forward appearance to the GLA's cabin.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

As with the 2020 model, the new 2021 GLA-class is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that drives the front or all four wheels. 

This time around, the engine makes 221 horsepower—up from 208 and is paired up with an eight-speed automatic rather than the seven-speed. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

An all-wheel drive GLA250 4Matic goes from zero-to-60-mph time of just 6.3 seconds. Despite its peppy performance, that result is actually slower than the last model, which manages a 5.7-seconds according to research. 

While the 2021 GLA250 hasn't lost all of its spunkiness in the redesign, the suspension is notably more compliant over rough stretches of road—a welcome improvement over the old model.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Fuel Economy

The EPA estimates that the 2021 GLA250 will deliver 25 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. 

The all-wheel drive GLA250 4Matic's fuel economy estimates are 1 mpg lower in all three metrics. Mercedes says a plug-in-hybrid version will be added later to the lineup.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

One of the chief complaints about the previous-generation GLA-class was its cramped interior. Mercedes has rectified that with the 2021 redesign. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Rear-seat passengers are treated to almost five inches of extra legroom, as well as increased space for shoulders and elbows. This will help the GLA-class compete more directly with key rivals such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Volvo XC40. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Interior materials look upscale, and the layout of controls and climate-control vents is similar to what we see on the GLB-class and A-class, with a column-mounted shifter, center-console-mounted infotainment controller, and circular vents along the dashboard. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Cargo capacity is increased compared with the old model and the rear seats fold flat.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

The cargo floor itself now is flush with that of the sill, which should make sliding bulkier items in and out of the trunk easier.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Infotainment and Connectivity

Mercedes-Benz's new MBUX infotainment system—for better or worse—is standard across the GLA-class range. 

Base models come with two 7.0-inch displays, one for the driver's gauge display and one for the infotainment system itself. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Dual 10.3-inch displays are optional. The system can be manipulated either via the touchscreen, using voice commands, or by utilizing the touchpad controller on the center console. 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard; navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, a head-up display, and a Burmester premium audio system are all optional.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have released crash-test results for the new GLA-class at the time of writing this post. 

Automated emergency braking is standard across the range, but more advanced driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist will require adding the optional Driver Assistance package. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Key safety features include:

  •  Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  •  Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Mercedes offers a basic warranty package, with coverage stretching four years or 50,000 miles. 

The Lexus NX offers longer warranty terms while others, while other rivals such as the BMW and the Volvo offer lengthy contracts for complimentary scheduled maintenance.

  •  Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  •  Power-train warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  •  No complimentary scheduled maintenance.
  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class


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