Mercedes Benz GLA Class Facelift Review & Test Drive

Mercedes-Benz GLA Overview

Mercedes-Benz with the GLA targeted a segment, it wasn’t really part of. Frankly it didn’t have any competition for the likes of the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1. But when the GLA was first launched in India, most dismissed the car as an A-Class on stilts but Mercedes-Benz knew the potential of this car and the facelift finally made its public debut in January 2017 at the Detroit Motor Show. A little over six months and has now been launched in India with prices starting at ₹ 30.65 lakh (post-GST, ex-showroom).Now, let me make it quite clear; this is probably the mildest of facelifts you’ll see on any car but there’s a lot that’s new. To begin with, the front and rear bumpers of the car are new, they’re reshaped and this has helped it look less like a hatchback and more like an SUV. There’s a simulated underguard in bucket-tooth design with silver chrome in the front bumper. It also gets what Mercedes-Benz calls ‘Powerdomes’ on the bonnet and all this adds to the muscular look of the car. View offers on Mercedes Cars from Mercedes dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

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Mercedes-Benz GLA Style

The overall design remains the same and you’ll have to squint a little to notice the changes. The front end features a revised bumper and a new grille, which along with the muscular creases on the bonnet makes it look a little more aggressive. I personally like the grille and the big three-pointed star logo it proudly flaunts. It actually gels with the attractive canyon beige colour on our test car.The headlamps are brand new and feature a full-LED set-up, which Mercedes-Benz regards as a high-performance unit. It certainly delivers what it proclaims as illumination at night is indeed bright and has adequate focus and spread.The side profile remains the same, but it’s not that it needed any touch-ups. The crease line that begins from the headlamps and runs along the length of the GLA to disappear into the rear wheel arch is what catches your eye. This angle also highlights the GLA’s hatchback roots, evident from the short pillars and small glass area. While it’s not a cause for concern, the shape and size of the windows does hamper your view from the cabin. So parking in tight areas or manoeuvring in heavy traffic requires a little more attention. For 2017, the GLA also gets new, 18-inch alloy wheels with a five-spoke design that looks quite appealing.

The rear bumper is tweaked slightly and gets a new faux skid plate along with a set of dazzling full-LED lamps. They look similar to the GLC’s tail lamps, and to my eye, a bit better than the ones on the previous GLA.On the whole, the GLA looks sporty and, as I’ve said before, just as what the crossover rule book states.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Space

The interior, shared with the likes of the A-Class and B-Class is typically classy and sporty. The centrally mounted screen combined with the three large air-conditioning vents lends an aeronautic touch to the GLA’s interior. The AC-vents though have been slightly updated with more intrinsic styling elements embedded into them. The GLA also comes standard with a huge panoramic roof and sunroof package that gives the cabin an airy feel. One can opt for three interior color packages. The all-black version with a silver accent piece running from left to right, looks mature and goes well with the silver accent on the steering wheel. On the other hand, the all-beige and the black-beige combination interior options look classy and will surely appeal to the Indian customer.

The GLA-Class comes with electric seats for both the driver and the passenger. While one can choose a black interior package, the more popular beige version makes the car feel airier and larger on the inside. Although there is a decent amount of legroom in the back seats, we found a severe lack of under thigh support. This factor would make the passengers in the back of the GLA feel rather uncomfortable on longer road trips.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Engine

The facelift might be a mild one but there are no changes to the engines on offer. The 2-litre petrol and 2.1-litre diesel motors continue to power the facelift of the GLA and we got down to driving the diesel. The 2.1-litre diesel churns out 168 bhp (which is the same as before) and the torque of 350 Nm kicks in at around 1500 rpm which makes sure you have power at hand early. That 7-speed dual clutch gearbox helps in seamless transfer of power to the wheels and the paddle shifters make your life easier. The 200d and the 200 petrol do not get the AWD system but the 220d comes with four-wheel drive as standard and thanks to this, you get off to a brisk start right from the word go. Sadly, as the revs build up and go past 2500 rpm, the engine grunt becomes obvious. It’s not an enjoyable sound and you immediately get off the gas. There’s a big change though in the way the GLA rides. The bouncy ride has now given way to a bit of comfort, however, I still feel that the suspension could have been tweaked to be on the softer side, but the ride is not a bumpy one now and that’s a big plus.

It’s more agile too and the higher ground clearance has not hampered the performance of the car. As I’ve told you earlier, all-wheel drive is now standard on the GLA 220d and it comes with Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) which helps to handle steep downhill driving. The speed can be set between four and 18 kmph which makes it easier to navigate through terrains. Driving modes include – Eco, Individual, Off-Road and Dynamic and in each you can tweak the setting of the steering and the engine. The best option is individual, where you put the steering response into Eco mode and the engine response into Sport mode and well, it all falls into place. The 18-inch tyres give you the much needed grip and the GLA maintains its composure when driven into a corner. Now, Mercedes-Benz calls it a genuine off-roader and we can’t wait to test that part out.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Driving

The GLA is set up stiff, so the ride is a bit bumpy at slow speeds, especially when driving over potholes or undulations. Pick up the speeds, however, and the ride does get a bit better. But the joy of this set up lies in corners, and that’s where the GLA shines.Despite its 171mm ground clearance, the GLA handles just like a car. It remains flat and true to an intended line around a corner. There is good feedback from the steering too, and the grip from the fat tyres and the all-wheel-drive system make the GLA enjoyable around canyon roads. This, with the added peace of mind that you won’t have to worry too much about scraping the underbelly on bad roads.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Safety

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class comes loaded with everything you might want from a luxury compact SUV in today’s day and age. The typically Mercedes-Benz centre console with the inbuilt telephone and audio controls does look a little outdated although they do their job well. With additional features like a reverse camera, parking sensors and GPS-navigation, the GLA is right at par with everything else in its segment. The GLA also comes with safety features like tyre pressure monitoring sensors, attention assist and seven airbags.Mercedes-Benz’s Command system that controls all the function on the main infotainment screen is as good as ever and offers the driver and the passengers an intuitive experience. That said, we did find the infotainment screen to be slightly smaller than what we could have expected and as with the A-Class and B-Class, a slight after though on the part of the designers.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Cost in Hyderabad

Mercedes Benz Gla Class Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 31,70,935/- (GLA Class 200 d Style) to 38,01,700/- (GLA Class 220 d 4MATIC). Get best offers for Mercedes Benz Gla Class from Mercedes Benz Dealers in Hyderabad. Check for Benz GLA price in Hyderabad at Carzprice

Mercedes-Benz GLA Conclusion

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is not only the most important car Mercedes-Benz will launch this year, we believe it will be the most important car Mercedes-Benz will launch for a while. With the new C-Class and the stunning CLA-Class on its way to India soon, the only thing Mercedes-Benz will really have to be worried about is the GLA cannibalising traditional sedan customers with the lure and aura of a multipurpose platform like a compact SUV.Should the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1 be worried about the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class wooing audiences in a way they have never had to worry about in the past? Considering the fact that the GLA offers good performance, handing and interior trim while managing to look as good as it does, the answer is a resounding YES!