The 2018 GLA class is powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-4 engine. The base GLA 250 trim has a power output of 208 horsepower and 258 lb. ft. of torque, with a seven-speed automatic transmission that delivers power to the front wheels. The GLA 250 4Matic trim is essentially the all-wheel drive configuration of the GLA 250. The AMG GLA 45 almost doubles the power of the base trim with 375 horsepower and 350 lb. ft. of torque. The transmission is the same seven-speed automatic but only available in all-wheel drive. With the base engine under the hood, the power delivery for the street isn’t the smoothest. Lag is present due to the late spooling of the turbo. The transmission then waits for this surge of power to shift to the right gear. Despite only taking a little over six seconds to reach 60 mph, there is a lack of bottom end oomph that is often relied upon on the street. The handling on the other hand felt planted on the road without much body roll. Grip from the tires and the composure through the turn inspired confidence in its abilities. The steering is responsive with just the right amount of effort needed to turn. The light weight of the GLA means this subcompact SUV turns at will. The stopping power from the brakes allowed it to stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, a decent distance in its category. The feel of the pedal was firm enough at first, but after several braking tests, the responsiveness decreased.
The base GLA 250 trim comes standard with a power liftgate, power-adjustable driver seat, three driving modes, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD radio, SD card reasoner and an infotainment system with 8-inch touchscreen, CD player and six-speaker sound system. The GLA 250 4Matic is the all-wheel drive version of the GLA that comes with driver aids for all-weather and off-road driving scenarios. The Premium package include keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, motion-sensing power liftgate, and a few advanced safety and driver aids. The Interior package adds ambient interior lighting and upscale interior appointments. The Multimedia package adds navigation, voice commands, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and real-time satellite traffic and weather updates. The Driver Assistance and Parking Assist package adds more advanced safety and driver aids. The Convenience package then adds the auto-dimming rearview mirror. The top-of-the-line AMG GLA 45 trim comes standard with LED headlights, power-adjustable passenger seat, and performance parts upgrades. The AMG Dynamic Plus package adds more performance parts upgrades and a Race driving mode. Standalone options include heated front seats, LED headlights, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
The 2018 model has not been crash tested by the NHTSA and the IIHS. Standard advanced safety and driver aids include a rearview camera, automatic emergency braking and the mBrace telematics system while the all-wheel drive models include hill descent control and off-road status monitoring. The mBrace telematics offer remote access to the vehicle by connecting a smartphone and being able to control the doors, ignition, horn and lights. Other services include Roadside Assistance Connection, Vehicle Finder, Speed Alert, and Valet Protect. More advanced safety and driver aids can be added from packages include blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, 360-degree camera, power-folding side mirrors, and a self-parking system.
The 2018 model has a 173.9-inch length, 71-inch width, 60-inch height, and a 106.3-inch wheelbase. The 2018 model receives minor visual updates in the front and rear fascia as well as different wheels from last year’s model. The GLA class resembles more of a bigger hatchback than a smaller SUV with its low ride height and overall proportions. The base GLA 250 trims start with 18-inch wheels with options up to 19-inch wheels. The AMG GLA 45 starts with 19-inch wheels with options up to 20-inch wheels. The AMG Line package for the GLA 250 offers 19-inch wheels and AMG-styled body panels. The Night package includes wheels and exterior trim in a dark color scheme. The AMG Performance Studio package for the AMG GLA 45 includes 20-inch wheels, front splitter, and a rear spoiler.
Being the smallest in Mercedes’ lineup of SUVs, the ride height is considerably lower and getting inside is more akin to getting inside a sedan. The headroom and legroom isn’t as spacious like its bigger SUV siblings and taller passengers will feel more cramped inside. The optional sunroof eats away space above the head in the already limited space. Up to five passengers can fit inside the cabin and fortunately like its bigger SUV siblings, seat comfort is good with ample support and remained plush on longer road trips. Despite the faux leather trim, it still felt high quality to the touch and breathability is decent. During slow speeds, the ride quality is harsh when going through bumps and edges. Suspension could be adjusted for more dampening to soften the very firm ride. On smoother surfaces however, comfort is achievable. Wind noise can be heard with those large side mirrors, but did not prove to be a nuisance to the ambience inside.
Behind the rear seats is 17.2 cu. ft. of space and folding down the seats opens up 43.6 cu. ft. space available to load cargo.