The new Mercedes-Benz GLA compact crossover has arrived in Ireland, making for a full-house of alphabet soup Merc SUV models. The line-up now runs from GLA to GLB, GLC, GLE, and GLS. Oh, and G-Class (neé G-Wagen) of course, the one that started it all. The reason for such proliferation? Simple - a global market for luxury SUVs that topped 6.5-million before COVID-19 brought car sales to a screeching halt.
Sportier than the GLB
The new GLA is reckoned by Mercedes to be more "sporty, and lifestyle-oriented' than its chunkier brother, the GLB, and it will be a little more affordable too (although we're still waiting for Mercedes Ireland to shed some pricing light on the GLA at the time of writing). The GLA will come to Ireland with a choice of just two trim lines - Progressive, or sportier AMG-Line.
The new GLA is rather more distinctive than the old model (which looked rather too much like an A-Class with taller springs) and is both 100mm taller and 15mm shorter than its predecessor. In spite of the chop in length, it's roomier in the back seats than the old one (an extra 110mm of legroom), thanks to the superior packaging of the new NGCC front-wheel drive platform.
The track width of the suspension has been increased by 40mm, while ground clearance is up just a smidge (so small a smidge that Mercedes doesn't provide an official measurement). The boot is bigger and more useful too (now up to 435 litres) and the rear seat bench can slide back and forth through 140mm depending on whether you want to prioritise luggage space or people space. There's also a height-adjustable boot floor.
At launch, all of the engines are turbocharged, and the lineup consists of four petrol and three diesel versions. Petrol models are a 1.3-litre, 163hp GLA 200, a 2.0-litre, 224hp GLA 250 and GLA 250 4Matic. The Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and AMG GLA 45 will also be available to order. Diesel versions, all 1.9-litre, are a 150hp GLA 200 d, GLA 200 d 4Matic and a 190hp GLA 220 d and GLA 220 d 4Matic. In the pipeline are a 180 d 1.5-litre diesel and a plug-in petrol-electric variant.
Driver assistance package
Commenting, Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in Ireland said: "the arrival of the new GLA is being supported with attractive price and purchase finance arrangements pitched competitively against those of its main rivals and broadly in harmony with those of its predecessor."
Safety is, as ever with Mercedes, very high on the agenda with a Driver Assistance Package that includes automatic inputs to assist drivers with routine and accident avoidance emergency braking, distance control, parking, steering, lane keeping, blind-spot observation, speed limit keeping, driver fatigue alerts, and more.
There's also a one-touch 'car wash' function that automatically folds the side mirrors, closes the windows and sunroof, and switches off the rain-sensing wipers - all of which automatically return to their previous settings as you exit the car wash. Nice touch, that.