Mercedes-Benz GLA isn’t a true 4×4 SUV. Still, it has made a name as one of the leading compact luxury crossovers in the premium segment since its launch in India in 2014. The first generation vehicle was phased out last year, and its successor is here.
The new GLA is based on Mercedes-Benz’s MFA-2 platform that it shares with the new A-Class sedan, which was launched in India earlier this year. Compared with its predecessor, the new GLA gets more SUV-like styling cues, a more upright stance, slightly longer wheelbase and more cabin space. While the earlier vehicle’s low-slung hatchback-like styling wasn’t a big hit with some SUV enthusiasts, the new one certainly makes it look like a ‘proper’ SUV.
What is also interesting this time is that the car will be sold not only at the Mercedes-Benz dealerships across the country, but also from the company’s online store. This, according to the company, will help ensure sustainability for its retail network in these difficult times, when many dealerships have to remain shut for an indefinite period of time. ‘We sincerely hope the pandemic situation alleviates and normalcy resumes in our lives and society at large,’ says Martin Schwenk, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.
The car is available with both petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol-engined GLA 200 gets a 1.3-litre inline-four that produces 163bhp and 250Nm of torque. Available in 2WD only, with a 7-speed automatic transmission, the GLA 200 can accelerate from zero to 100kph in 8.7 seconds and has a top speed of 210kph. The diesel-powered GLA 220d, available in 2WD and 4WD versions, gets a 2.0-litre inline-four that makes 190bhp and 400Nm of torque.
The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 220d is quicker than its petrol sibling, going from zero to 100kph in 7.4 seconds, with a top speed of 222kph. The top-of-the-line GLA 35 AMG packs an even bigger punch, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine that makes 306bhp and 400Nm of torque, with a 0-100kph time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 250kph.
All GLA variants boast a high-spec, a beautifully built cabin that can accommodate five adult occupants, a host of advanced safety features (including anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control and seven airbags), an AI-powered user interface for the infotainment system with voice commands, full smartphone connectivity and power-adjustable front seats with memory function.
The fully digital instrument panel is a 10.25-inch panel, which merges seamlessly into the HD media display unit, which is also a 10.25-inch panel. Together, the two colour displays stretch across the dashboard, providing information, media playback and control functions in one cohesive unit.
The new GLA SUV line-up comes with an introductory price (valid until 30th June 2021) starting from Rs 42.10 lakh for the GLA 200, going up to Rs 57.30 lakh for the range-topping Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4M. In addition to the company’s standard 3-year comprehensive warranty for the car, the engine and transmission come with an 8-year warranty, which is a big plus for buyers.
With the growing popularity of entry-level premium SUVs and given that most luxury-segment buyers seem to be switching over from sedans to SUVs, the new Mercedes-Benz GLA is likely to do well in India. The competition includes the BMW X1, the Volvo XC40 and the upcoming new Audi Q3, which is expected to arrive in India very soon. However, the new GLA seems quite well equipped to deal with the competition and is available in a range of sensibly priced variants, so Audi, BMW and Volvo may well have a tough battle on their hands this time around.