Mercedes GLA is the virilized and bodybuilt version of the compact A-Class sedan. It is logically based on the same platform, and benefits from the same petrol and diesel engines.
A little taller, a little taller (barely) than the sedan, a little more livable, in short, a little more everything, including more expensive, the Mercedes GLA solves almost all the faults of the A-Class.
In any case, the Mercedes GLA is seriously built (even if some finishing details are surprisingly cheap), well equipped against competitors Audi Q3 and BMW X1 at the time, and it is above all very efficient on the road, especially in version 4 driving wheels, which it may have (except the less powerful engines). A vehicle to drive, therefore, but not necessarily to live, with reduced habitability, and an average trunk volume of 421 litres.
The restyling makes it grow 3 cm in height, by raising the ground clearance, but it still does not join the famous Mégane. Still failed to make it a “real” SUV. Claims the status of SUV, it is still a little short on legs (or suspensions) to actually claim to fit into this box. Its ground clearance is lower than that of a Renault Mégane, and it will not go better in sunken roads, it is more like a kind of raised station wagon, with a virilized look.
Finally, reliability is neither a strong point nor a weak point. Some concerns are to be deplored but neither more nor less than the competition, as you will see below.
Qualities and Defects of Mercedes GLA
What will make you love it
The nice look: almost everyone agrees, the GLA has a pleasant aesthetic, halfway between the real SUV and a raised sedan. Athletic, compact, it makes the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 look bland.
Road handling: it is enjoyable and devilishly efficient.
Comfort preserved: despite its dynamism, the GLA remains surprisingly comfortable, more than the Class A sedan, thanks to softer suspensions and greater travel.
Technological equipment: the GLA has all the best, including connected services, the ability to use Siri on the iPhone, etc.
Sobriety: diesels are very frugal and even in gasoline, no bad surprise, especially as the performance is correct, and the weight high! The variety of versions: petrol between 122 and 211 hp, diesel between 109 and 177 hp, 4×2 or 4×4 transmission, the GLA offers a choice. And we are not talking about the AMG version …
What can make a buyer hesitate
Noise in diesel: sober certainly, but very noisy diesels. They let a lot of decibels go through, and this becomes unworthy of the prestige of the brand. The Renault dCi or the PSA HDI are much more civilized on the side.
Average roominess: despite its 12 cm longer than the A-Class, passengers are cramped, and even luggage is not well off. We will not choose the GLA for its space.
Second-hand prices: it slowly discounts, proof that despite its flaws, it pleases. Difficult to find a decent copy under € 15,000, even after almost 7 years.
The few possibilities in 4×4: the 4×4 versions must be considered as safer in conditions of precarious grip. But not as capable of crossing. The ground clearance is shallow.
Consumption: Diesel units, whatever they are, are sober. And in gasoline, no bad surprise compared to the power and performance delivered, even if we are 2 litres above the diesel (8.5 litres on average, against 6.3 litres).
Heavy or immobilizing breakdowns: 7G-DCT box. On equipped models, it may suffer from malfunctions which at worst lead to its replacement (impossible to change gears, noises, crackles). Depending on the mileage, Mercedes must participate in all or part of the bill.
Rear-axle / differential. On the 220d models mainly, fitted with the 4Matic transmission, premature wear of the rear differential (axle), sometimes before 70,000 km. It must be replaced. Again, Mercedes must participate, as this is a piece that is supposed to last at least 250,000 km.
Mechanical box. Rare cases of premature wear of the 3rd gear synchro of the manual gearbox.
Optics. Very many cases of fogging in the optics are recorded. And Mercedes replies that this is normal. A little fog that goes away quickly yes it can happen, a lot and which reduces the lighting at night, no.
Sounds of furniture. It is very random, but on some copies, there are parasitic noises in the passenger compartment, at the level of the dashboard or the front doors.
Air noises. Some owners also reported air noises coming from the door frames, from 120 km / h. You have to look at the door seals or the adjustment of the latter.
Xenon lights. A few cases of premature replacements should be noted.
Front sensors. The front proximity sensors may beep for no reason, or on the contrary, not beep. They must be recalibrated or even replaced.
The Mercedes GLA is not what you might call a beast of grief. It is based on the same technical underside as the Class A, and, released a little later on the market, has benefited from the resolution of some youthful concerns of the latter. However, some sometimes serious risks have tarnished his career. Nothing prohibitive today, because most of the worries have been eradicated. But be vigilant all the same, and check that what is described here is indeed absent from the possible model which interests you on occasion.