New Mercedes-Benz GLA
What's the news?
Mercedes-Benz hasn't been quiet about wanting to make a family of models with the A-Class and it's heading off-road with the new GLA. Not far off-road mind, as the GLA is more soft-roader than Unimog or G-Wagen, but its chunkier looks, higher stance and optional four-wheel drive system will unquestionably appeal to urbanites with countryside aspirations - or just those who'd rather climb speed bumps in more comfort than is possible in the A-Class.
No surprises to see that Mercedes-Benz has stuck pretty rigidly to the A-Class's style; the only real defining features over its hatchback relation are more butch looking wheel arches, with some black plastic protection, as well as roof bars, the raised ride height and faux under-body protection on the front and rear bumpers. Think Audi A4 allroad quattro from A4 Avant and you get the idea. Thing is, we think it looks great, Merc's first foray into the crossover hatch segment a very appealing one.
Internally it's all but identical to its A-Class relation, too. That's no bad thing either, the A-Class's interior arguably the best on offer from the three-pointed star. The devil's in the details, and you'll need to be a committed A-Class fan to notice the differences, but if you want a hint the GLA comes with more flexible seating, which should be perfect for all that outdoor kit you'll be hauling to the countryside, coast or mountains.
No surprises here either, as the GLA is likely to feature much the same line-up as the A- and B-Class ranges (though Mercedes-Benz Ireland has yet to release the details). So there could be two petrol and two diesel engines to choose from: a 156hp 1.6-litre turbocharged GLA 200 and 211hp 2.0-litre GLA 250, as well as two turbodiesels - both of 2.2-litre capacity but offering either 136- or 170hp. Only the higher power engines are likely to be offered (optionally) with four-wheel drive, Merc dubbing its system 4MATIC. All the numbers, CO2, economy and performance are provisional, but Mercedes is saying that the GLA 200 CDI will manage 65.6mpg on the official combined cycle - that equating to 114g/km of CO2, attracting annual road tax of just €200. Not bad.
No word on prices or proper specifications yet, but given Merc's current form expect them to be highly competitive and reasonably generous. It'll come loaded with safety kit as standard too, but as ever the options list will be longer than Mr Tickle's arm. The Mercedes GLA debuts at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show.
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