Offering more tech and practicality, the Mercedes GLA stands proud and tall (literally) as the smallest SUV to bear the three-pointed star
SINGAPORE – In a live virtual launch hosted by radio DJ Glenn Ong, the new Mercedes-Benz GLA compact SUV has made its Singaporean debut. For now, just one engine variant is available, split across two model trims – the GLA200 Progressive at S$176,888, and the GLA200 AMG Line at S$182,888. Both prices are inclusive of COE and are valid until 3 Sep 2020.
More space and tech are the orders of the day, although Mercedes insists that “more character” is another cornerstone of its new compact crossover.
As the ‘A’ in its name implies, the GLA is the entry-level Mercedes SUV, and surprisingly, also the shortest new Mercedes you can buy today. In a departure from the general automotive evolutionary norm of newer = bigger = better, the new GLA is actually 14mm shorter than the car it replaces, and 9mm shorter than the A-Class Hatchback on which it’s based.
“Shorter” doesn’t automatically mean “smaller” though. Like Singapore’s buildings, the GLA’s body has grown skywards to liberate more space, gaining a whopping 104mm in height. This allows front occupants to sit 97mm higher than before, which Mercedes says is a position far more typical for an SUV.
In fairness, the company does have a point; where the old GLA looked pretty much like just a jacked-up hatchback, the new car looks altogether more purposeful.
Additionally, the new GLA is wider and has a longer wheelbase than before, resulting in significantly more room, especially for those in the back.
At the rear of the car, there’s even more reason to cheer, as improving utility was one of the focus points during development. The boot capacity may only be 14 litres larger, but the load compartment is both wider and deeper. The rear seatbacks also fold in a 40:20:40 split, and the seats themselves are fully adjustable, with 14cm of fore-aft adjustability and seven preset angles for the backrest.
The tech aspect of the GLA comes in the form of the familiar twin 10.25-inch screen setup, that make up the infotainment system and instrument display. That, along with the self-learning MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User eXperience) interface, complete with “intelligent” voice recognition, are carried over from the A-Class, although the dashboard on which it’s housed is of a different design.
Similarly, the engine is also familiar hardware, being the same 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that we experienced in the A200 Saloon, and producing the same 163hp and 250Nm of torque.
The GLA200 may be the only variant available at present, but you can be sure that other variants, such as a cheaper GLA180 and high performance AMG GLA35 and 45s (below), will be introduced in due course.
With the introduction of the GLA, the much-vaunted Mercedes “small car family” is nearly complete. With the A-Class Hatchback and Saloon, B-Class MPV, CLA, and CLA Shooting Brake already on our shores, all that’s left is for the seven-seater GLB SUV to join the party.