Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

It looks like the crossover segment in the automotive industry is going to stay longer than Bruce Forsyth. and those softroaders continue to grow due to the increasing popular demand. Luxury car makers, especially Germans, are no stranger to this category either. BMW has compact crossovers like the X1, Audi has the Q5 and the Q3, and as for Mercedes-Benz...not only they had crossovers like the GLK but now, they've added a new crossover that some say it was a worthy opponent to Audi's Q3 and BMW's upcoming sport activity coupe that is smaller than the X6.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

This is the GLA and like any crossovers based on their normal hatchback equivalents, the latest entry to the list of Mercedes-Benz crossovers has a message to the rivals and what was that message says? We may never know but it involves swearing, I think. Anyway, like any other crossovers I have ever witnessed, especially the GLK-Class, the GLA feels like an A-Class with a jacked-up suspension that was heightened to make it feel like it's taller than the A-Class.

So, what's it all about? Because this is the crossover version of the A-Class, the new GLA still retains the looks of the present-day A-Class judging by its familiar-looking headlamps, the side profile, and the rear view and if you manage to park this next to the new A-Class, you can't really tell the difference between this and the new A-Class. The same thing when their Q3 looked like the A3 perhaps but that's a different story because the new model is about 10mm higher than any midsize compact hatchback.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class interior

On the inside, it dons the familiar new Mercedes-Benz interior especially its cousins like the A-Class and the CLA-Class and you still get loads of tech gizmos suitable for the young urban professionals or yuppies. Unlike the A-Class, the GLA-Class has a bigger boot and the rear seats are okay, much okay that having a cramped space in an A-Class despite both of them have five doors exclusively. If you worked hard, you might be tempted to add this car with some optional extras such as the reversible camera, BlueTooth connectivity, Digital Audio Broadcasting, and some others.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Even though crossovers of today are still focused on being "on the road" rather than being "off the road", the GLA is a bit okay because while some models come standard with front-wheel drive, the drivetrain conventional crossovers do come, the GLA do comes with an optional 4MATIC four-wheel drive system. When it gets rainy or snowy or when the roads get harsher and harsher, this four-wheel drive system really does come in handy. Besides, this drivetrain dons well both on and off the road not to mention the good traction and the ride comfort that is as mild as...mild language and mild lyrics. Let's hope it wasn't too Rated SPG for this until we save it to the AMG model soon.

At launch, the GLA comes with  1.6L petrol engines with three configurations, a 2.0L turbo engine, and a 2.1L diesel engine with some additions to follow later not to mention the AMG model that comes with the same turbocharged engine derived from the A45 and the CLA45 cousins. The 2.1L diesel engine generates about 136bhp in the GLA 200 CDI and 170bhp in the GLA 220 CDI. As for the 2.0L turbo engine equipped on the GLA 250, it develops about 211BHP, almost as spicy as a dijon mustard. Although the acceleration sounds can be a bit of a wuss, the top-end GLA 250 4MATIC can do 0-100kph in 7.1 seconds and it gives up the ghost when it reaches 230kph. As for the 7G-TRONIC double clutch gearbox it feels not that bad. Again, on the scale of Poor, Okay, Not Bad, Good, and Wheely Good, I would say it's on the Not Bad position because even though the double-clutch gearbox now comes with the smoother and responsive shifts, I think Mercedes-Benz could have done better than that, in fact with the update so successful, in theory, I think they might be put it to the A-Class and the CLA-Class as well but frankly, I don't hold much hope.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Price-wise, the new GLA starts for around 29,304 Euros (estimated $41,000 or Php1.85 Million) so it's expensive to own than the Q3 and the X1 but cheaper to own than its big brother, the GLK. Is it a smart buy, could be but when you festooned it with optional extras and when it breaches, you'll need your own.

Available colors: Jupiterrot, Zirruswei╬▓, Nachtschwarz, Sudseeblau metallic, Kosmosschwarz metallic, Nordlichtviolett metallic, Polarsilber metallic, Mountaingrau metallic, Universumblau metallic, Orientbraun metallic, Designo Mountaingrau MAGNO.

Photo: Daimler AG.

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