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Mercedes-Benz's updated GLA in SA: Details and prices

2017-05-08 07:40

CAN YOU SEE MY GRILLE? The new grille on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA is the most notable exterior update. Image: Sean Parker

Sean Parker

Cape Town - The GLA, Mercedes-Benz’s raised hatchback or a as some would call it an "A-Class on stilts", has undergone a minor facelift.

Apart from style tweaks it now features an updated version of the world’s most powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Sean Parker drove the 2017 GLA in Cape Town. 

The GLA is the compact crossover SUV (we know how popular they are) in the German firm’s extensive model line-up. 

Updated crossover

Outside, you’ll notice the modified bumpers, a new grille, new wheels and now available in "canyon beige" (a pretty cool hue I might add), the optional xenon headlights are now full LED on the new model. 

There are variety of suspension choices for the GLA; the comfort suspension is standard; Mercedes does offer a lowered suspension on request (in conjunction with the AMG Line or the Dynamic Handling package). 

South African cars are by default fitted with the off-road comfort suspension (standard) and the body is 30mm higher. Adaptive damping is optional too. 

The Cape Town launch was devoid of any off-road sections (no surprise), as most GLA owners use their vehicles in urban areas. The ride is still not best in class by any means, which was partly attributed to the low profile tyres and the noise, vibration and harshness levels could be improved. 

I sampled the two diesel models (200d and 220d 4Matic), which produce 100kW and 130kW respectively. The diesels offer a torquey (300Nm and 350Nm) nature that is perfect when overtaking or freeway driving makes up the bulk of your commute. 

The GLA 45, fitted with a 2.0-litre engine now producing 280kW/475Nm is ludicrously loud when you’ve prodded the exhaust button and popped into Sport + via the driving mode control on the centre console. 

It releases its power in a savage manner that’ll have you pinned back in the sport seat like a South Easter on the Foreshore. It also looks the part with an aero kit and massive wing adding to the drama. 



Inside

It’s really on the inside where Mercedes has added more features: there is an optional 360-degree camera records the direct surroundings of the car, the image is produced from four cameras; front, reversing and cameras fitted to the exterior mirrors.

You’ll find new seat covers and trim parts as well as chromed control panels. There is also more chrome on the switches on the electric seat adjustment and the stowage compartment in the centre console is also surrounded by a chrome frame. 

The new style lines: Style and Urban feature new seat cover fabrics for the design and new upholstery colours for the Style and Urban design and equipment line as ARTICO man-made leather. 

Mercedes says the GLA is the only model in its competitive segment to offer features such as the 360-degree camera and the optional hands-free access which opens the hatch at the touch of a button or even with a kicking motion below the rear of the car. 

Final thoughts

The popularity of compact SUVs or hatchbacks with some off-road appeal show no signs of letting up, so Mercedes' decision to spruce-up its GLA can only aid its sales in a growing market. 

It looks good and manages to fuse elegance and ruggedness into a smart package and if that's what you're after the GLA might be a premium choice you'd find hard to resist. 

Prices 

GLA 200 - R485 400
GLA 250 4MATIC - R654 700
Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC - R856 700
GLA 200d - R513 000
GLA 220d 4MATIC - R592 500


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