2017 Mercedes GLA Facelift Review
Car Tested: 2017 Mercedes GLA Facelift; Road Test No. 867
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 37.05 – 44.37 Lakhs
The GLA is a stylish car for the urban jungle that stands out with its unique design
Mercedes’ A-Class siblings in India are quite popular amongst the young luxury car owners. The hatch looks quite sporty but has limited practicality, the CLA has a swanky rear but cabin space is below average. However, the biggest sibling GLA offers the best of both worlds – style and practicality. Recently Mercedes gave it a mild facelift just like the other two. We drive the updated compact SUV to see the changes and examine if the three-pointed star is really a worthy alternative to the full-size mass market SUVs.
Motor Quest: The Mercedes GLA is an all new car that was launched in 2014 globally without having any predecessor. It is an entry-level SUV in the Mercedes lineup positioned under the GLC mid-size SUV. The GLA competes with the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3 and is offered in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive layouts. You also get an AMG version of the GLA in India.
Exteriors – The biggest USP of the Mercedes GLA is the design. Keeping the target audience in mind, the German carmaker has made it look so attractive that I feel it is the best looking compact luxury SUV in its segment. However, what I don’t like is the size, which makes it look more crossover than SUV unlike its rivals. The facelifted GLA comes with cosmetic tweaks including a new grille, which makes it look butch, new SUV-focused bumpers, revised LED tail lights and the gorgeous new alloys. The mild tweaks have made it look fresh and more SUVish. For a perspective, if you look at a white GLA on the road now, you won’t say it’s an A-Class!
Interiors – Now step inside and this is when you can’t make any difference between the A siblings if you are not a keen observer. Only way to feel the difference is the seat height, which is slightly above the average sedan height but in the world of SUVs, it is still low. What changes in the GLA facelift you ask? Well, nothing major apart from the new three-spoke steering wheel, ambient lighting with 12 colours and a bigger 8-inch infotainment display that now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The steering now has a 3D effect to it, the horn pad jutting out, looks nice. The screen is bright and clear but it’s not touch, you have to control it via the COMMAND system knobs. Otherwise everything is similar and the dashboard looks quite attractive, specially the slightly updated instrument cluster. I also like the way the aircon vents are styled, practical yet flashy. However, I really can’t digest the fact that a Rs. 40 lakh + Mercedes doesn’t come with auto climate control! It doesn’t even have a reverse parking sensor but thankfully gets a camera.
The GLA gets mild updates inside but still looks very modern and stylish
What you would like in the GLA is the fantastic quality, consistency and the feel of materials. Everything is top notch, the equipment list is quite strong too, push button start, panoramic sunroof, electric seats, driving modes, electric tailgate, etc. The seats also get soft leather which smells nice too. Now the rear seat experience is average if you have the SUV practicality in mind because headroom for tall passengers is limited and because of the huge transmission hump, the middle passenger might find it a squeeze. The tailgate now is electrically operational. The boot is quite big and accommodating but the spare space saver wheel just eats up a lot of space.