When we last wrote about the GLA, it had just entered production in Germany, and we were looking forward to a spring arrival in the U.S. We now know, however, that the GLA250 4MATIC® and GLA45 AMG® will arrive in the fall, and the 250 in the spring of 2015.
To herald their coming, however, we have our first drive impressions thanks to a write-up by Motor Trend. The GLA-Class is essentially meant to be the most entry-level of entry-level SUVs for Mercedes-Benz. Priced at the low 30s, it will either include or make available many of the up-scale features that the brand carries, which should make you curious about exactly one thing: how does the low-cost, high-value GLA-Class fit into Mercedes-Benz’s business model?
The answer isn’t terribly important because consumers are still going to get an exceptional product for an unreasonably reasonable price. As Motor Trend notes, the GLA-Class is a small vehicle. It’s about four and a half inches shorter than the Range Rover Evoque, and almost two inches shorter than the MINI Cooper Countryman—MINIs, after all, are known for one thing.
The 250 version gets a turbocharged four-cylinder, and the AMG is an AMG. Motor Trend thinks that the AMG®’s exhaust note is perhaps the liveliest across the entire AMG® lineup, which shows that it’s not how big the car is around the engine, but the engine itself that counts.
The magazine’s writers took the GLA-Class around Malaga, Spain to test out its roadworthiness and were able to detect the 4MATIC®’s favoritism toward the front wheels, and extra boost to the rear wheels when tough cornering demands more traction.
All in all, the next 12 months or so are going to see lots of change in the crossover SUV space, and Mercedes-Benz clearly wants to enter the fight with the best possible machine instead of rushing to market. A fall arrival will also give additional time to study new challengers like the Porsche Macan to see if MB can’t give the GLA-Class an extra something or two to push it over the top when it arrives. A wise strategy to be sure, and one that makes us look to the GLA-Class’s arrival with anticipation.