Driving Notes

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250

The GLA250 is based on the same platform as the CLA-Class sedan.

January 30, 2015

by Paul Clinton - Also by this author

Photo by Vince Taroc.
Photo by Vince Taroc.

Compact luxury SUVs haven't been widely adopted by executive fleets, but the segment is one of the hottest in the automotive world. The last few model years have seen a proliferation of these vehicles, including five models added to the U.S. market for the 2015 model year alone. Will business professionals migrate into these models from luxury sedans to gain more head room for client lunches and greater cargo space for presentation materials or supplies? We'll stay tuned.

The Acura RDX broke the ice on this category in the 2007-MY during a time when more wagons populated the automotive landscape. Later entries included the Infiniti QX50 (2010-MY, formerly named the EX), Volvo XC60 (2010-MY), Range Rover Evoque (2012-MY) and BMW X1 (2013-MY). The floodgates opened for the 2015-MY with the Audi Q3, Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC, Porsche Macan, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

The Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC — the GLA45 AMG performance variant is also offered — takes its cues from the CLA-class with the same 2.0-liter turbo inline-four that delivers 208 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque through a seven-speed automatic.

Thanks to direct injection, the GLA250 isn't sluggish; it has some zip. And its 174-inch length certainly helps you snag a "compact" parking stall when the opportunity arises. The GLA250 is now available only in all-wheel drive, but Mercedes-Benz plans to eventually offer a front-wheel model.

Photo by Vince Taroc.
Photo by Vince Taroc.

Anyone who has sat in a CLA sedan will be familiar with this cabin and its dash-mounted infotainment/navigation screen. The Mercedes-Benz Comand infotainment system can be tricky to master in terms of pairing your phone or navigating satellite radio channels, yet the optional Harmon/Kardon audio system didn't disappoint.

The GLA250 gives you more headroom than its sedan relative, and the increased ride height is an advantage that improves visibility. As small a thing as it is, the vehicle's distinctive aluminum air vents may be the most impressive design touch inside the car. The GLA250 provides a now-less-common column shifter that's activated by pushing a small button.

Our model came equipped with blind spot assist, a panorama sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, and a sport package with 19-inch AMG wheels, all-season tires, and AMG body styling. Our model would retail for $45,505; the base model starts around $35,000.

In January, Mercedes-Benz began offering a fleet incentive for the GLA250 of $1,000.

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Amy Winter-Hercher

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