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Mercedes-Benz GLA Review & Prices

The Mercedes GLA is a stylish small SUV with a posh interior and plenty of high-tech features. It’s not as practical nor as fun to drive as other premium SUVs, though

Buy or lease the Mercedes-Benz GLA at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £35,625 - £71,150
Carwow price from
Cash
£35,625
Used
£21,500
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wowscore
7/10
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Brilliant infotainment system
  • High-tech, stylish interior
  • Loads of space in the back seats

What's not so good

  • Boot is smaller than alternatives
  • Not much fun in bends
  • A bit expensive

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz GLA

Is the Mercedes GLA a good car?

The GLA is the smallest SUV in the Mercedes range, and it’s essentially an A-Class with a raised ride height and chunky 4x4-esque styling. It’s a bit like Danny DeVito wearing platforms and puffing his chest out.

Once you’ve got over that curious image, your Mercedes GLA cross-shopping list should also include other small premium SUVs, such as the BMW X1, Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and Range Rover Evoque.

Mercedes introduced an updated GLA in 2023, which tweaked the already stylish exterior to make it look a bit more rugged, with a new front bumper design showing off the underbody protection. Off-roader chic in a car that will probably never venture further off the beaten track than a gravel driveway, but it looks good all the same.

This stylish appearance continues inside, with a sweeping twin-screen setup for the instruments and infotainment. Mercedes is one of the best in the business for its infotainment system, which gets sharp graphics and easy-to-navigate menus. You also get wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard, and can choose between different instrument displays from classic, minimalist looks to sportier designs.

Interior quality is pretty good too, with artificial leather upholstery and nice materials on the dashboard. It’s easy to find scratchier plastics lower down, though.

The Mercedes GLA is a spacious small SUV with great on-board tech, but the BMW X1 has a bigger boot and is more fun to drive

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

What’s more impressive is how spacious it is inside. This is quite a small SUV, but you won’t feel cooped up in the front or the back. It’s not all good on the practicality front though, because while the 485-litre boot is bigger than that available in a Volvo XC40, it’s smaller than both the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

There’s a good range of engines to choose from, with a petrol, two diesels and a plug-in hybrid, as well as two high-performance AMG models. Most people will be well-served by the petrol, called GLA 200, because it’s the least expensive to buy and offers decent fuel economy. The plug-in hybrid’s low benefit-in-kind rating will make it the go-to for company car buyers, though. Like the idea of the GLA but want an electric car? The Mercedes EQA is worth a look, though it’s far from the best small electric SUV.

Whichever GLA model you go for, it’s great for driving around town. The raised driving position gives a clear view of the road ahead, and you have good visibility all around the car. The steering is nice and light, which makes tight manoeuvres easier, but the flip side is that the GLA isn’t the most rewarding car to drive down a fun road – unless you go for one of the AMG models, that is.

Those versions aren’t particularly comfortable nor economical. Stick to the regular models and the suspension happily irons out bumps and potholes in the road, while cruising around at motorway speeds is pretty quiet and relaxing.

Couple this with the high-tech interior and the Mercedes GLA is a decent posh SUV, but it’s not as well-rounded as the BMW X1 or Audi Q3. Still, if this is the car for you, check out the latest Mercedes GLA deals, or see how much you can save on a used GLA. You can also browse other used Mercedes models from our network of trusted dealers, and when it’s time to sell your car, Carwow can help with that, too.

How much is the Mercedes GLA?

The Mercedes-Benz GLA has a RRP range of £35,625 to £71,150. Prices start at £35,625 if paying cash. The price of a used Mercedes-Benz GLA on Carwow starts at £21,500.

Our most popular versions of the Mercedes-Benz GLA are:

Model version Carwow price from
GLA 200 Sport Executive 5dr Auto £37,625 Compare offers
GLA 250e AMG Line Executive 5dr Auto £45,210 Compare offers
GLA 180 Sport Edition 5dr Auto £35,625 Compare offers

As a posh SUV, you probably don’t expect the Mercedes GLA to be cheap, but even compared with similar alternatives it is a touch on the pricey side. Both the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 start at around £4,000 less than the Mercedes, and as you go up the range, this price difference largely remains – though a fully loaded Q3 costs about the same as the GLA.

Elsewhere, the Volvo XC40 and Lexus UX follow a similar price range to the GLA, while if you’re looking at top-spec versions of the Mercedes you could also consider the Range Rover Evoque – though these feel like a step up in poshness, and prices reflect that.

Within the Mercedes GLA range there are four trim levels. The jump from the entry level model to the two mid-spec trims is about £4,000, then from these – which are around £1,000 apart – to the top-spec trim is another £4,000 again. Want a plug-in hybrid? You guessed it – about £4,000 more than an equivalent petrol model.

Performance and drive comfort

The Mercedes GLA is comfortable to drive around town and on the motorway, but the BMW X1 is more fun on a twisty road

In town

You have two suspension setups available in the GLA, and the way Mercedes describes them is very telling. Instead of ‘comfort’ and ‘sport’ there’s ‘comfort’ and ‘comfort with ride height lowering’ (which you get on AMG Line versions). It’s pretty clear where Mercedes’ priorities lie.

That’s a good thing around town. The GLA smothers bumps that would be felt with a thump in the BMW X1.

You sit up high in the GLA, a whopping 140mm higher than in a Mercedes A-Class hatchback. That gives a good view out, which is especially helpful when keeping an eye out for hazards on busy inner-city roads.

All GLA models come with an automatic gearbox, so stop-start traffic won’t have your left leg aching. The GLA 200 petrol has seven forward gears, the rest of the range has eight. If we’re being picky, the gearbox is occasionally a little jerky at very low speeds, but mostly it’s smooth and responds reasonably quickly.

If you can keep the battery topped up, the plug-in hybrid is your best bet for driving around town because you can stick to the smooth, quiet electric motor. The 2023 update brought in a more powerful motor and bigger battery, so it’s better to drive and now has an electric range of about 40 miles, which is a bit more than the Audi Q3 and a bit less than the BMW X1.

On the motorway

The GLA’s suspension works just as well at speed as it does around town. This is a smooth, controlled and comfortable motorway cruiser.

You will notice the GLA is quiet as well as comfy. There’s little wind and road noise at speed, and not much more than a murmur from under the bonnet, whichever engine you choose.

Although it’s the weakest engine in the range, the 163hp petrol isn’t out of its depth on the motorway. If that’s where your GLA will spend most of its time, though, we’d go for the 150hp GLA 200d, which has enough performance to pull off swift overtakes and will be very economical.

All models get active lane-keeping assist to keep you from straying in your lane, and Mercedes updated this to work better for the 2023 models. However it’s a bit of a shame that while basic cruise control is standard-fit, you have to get the expensive Driving Assistance package for adaptive cruise control, and even then it’s only an option on the top-spec AMG Line Premium Plus trim. The one exception is the 220d, which gets this as standard on every trim level.

On a twisty road

Without a doubt, the Mercedes-AMG cars are the ones to drive if you want to enjoy yourself on a favourite B-road. The 306hp GLA 35 and the 421hp GLA 45 are both rapid, although not quite as rewarding as a lower-slung hot hatch. They are also pretty expensive.

The rest of the range is above such silly antics. Sure, there’s decent grip and for an SUV, the GLA doesn’t lean too much in the bends. But it isn’t really up for fun and games on a twisty road. If you want an agile premium SUV the BMW X1 is a much better option.

Space and practicality

The cabin is pretty spacious, but the boot is smaller than you’ll find in alternatives

There’s plenty of space in the front of the GLA. Even really tall drivers should be able to get comfortable.

If you’re shorter in stature, you’ll definitely appreciate the high seating position that gives a good view out and is really supportive under your legs. You sit a lot higher than you do in a Mercedes A-Class, even with the seat on its lowest setting, and you can jack it right up if you want to.

Electric adjustment is standard on only the top trim, while all models get an extendable seat cushion for more under-thigh support. There’s also a good amount of adjustment in the steering wheel and seats, so it’s not too hard to get a comfortable driving position.

Storage is taken care of by really large door bins that can easily swallow a couple of bottles of water. The glovebox is a more modest size, but still big enough to be useful, and there are two cupholders at the base of the centre console. There’s a USB-C slot here too, with two more hidden beneath the armrest.

Space in the back seats

Headroom is good, even in cars with a full-length sunroof, which can eat into space. Only a very tall rear-seat passenger will complain that you should have bought a car with a regular roof.

There’s enough legroom for adults to get comfortable, and because the front seats are so high even on their lowest setting there’s plenty of room for those in the back to stretch their legs out in front of them. You also get two USB-C slots for the rear so there’s no fighting over who charges their phone.

ISOFIX mounting points for child seats are fitted to the outer seats. They’re not covered, which makes for easy seat fitting. With so much legroom you shouldn’t need to slide the front seats forward, even when fitting a bulky rear-facing seat.

Boot space

Boot space is not the GLA’s strong point. At 485 litres, there’s significantly less capacity than you’ll find in an Audi Q3, which has up to 530 litres, and the BMW X1, which has up to 550 litres. That said, it’s bigger than the 452 litres you get in a Volvo XC40 and the 320 litres in the Lexus UX. You could also consider a well-specced Volkswagen Tiguan at this price, which has a massive 520-litre boot, and can be extended up to 615 litres by sliding the rear seats forward.

Go for the plug-in hybrid and the GLA’s capacity drops to 445 litres. That means it’s still behind an equivalent X1 (490 litres), but is actually more spacious than a hybrid Q3 (380 litres).

The boot floor can be set to two heights. The higher position puts the floor level with the tailgate opening, making it easy to slide heavy items inside. The back seats split and fold if you need more room for bags. With the seats lowered, luggage capacity goes up to 1,430 litres (1,385 litres in the plug-in hybrid) which is a bit less than the BMW and Audi.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The cabin feels high-tech with its twin-screen setup, but there are plenty of cheaper materials to be found

The Mercedes GLA’s interior design is pretty swish, and you get a very good first impression with the high-tech displays.

Those twin-screens will grab your attention first, and while pre-2023 revision models had smaller displays as standard, all trims now get the dual-10.3-inch setup, which looks more coherent and upmarket.

Sharp colours, crisp graphics, and endless options to configure the displays mean that the Mercedes infotainment system is one of the very best in the business. You also get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, so it’s easy to connect your phone and use your maps and music.

On top of the touchscreen, you can also control certain settings or navigate to menus by saying ‘Hey Mercedes’ and then asking a question. Voice control systems can sometimes be clunky but this is, again, one of the best and means you don’t have to get distracted by digging through menus.

The screen ahead of the driver displays your relevant driving information such as your speed and fuel consumption, but it’s highly adaptable, with pre-configured styles that range from a classic, minimalist look to a sportier design with red graphics and more focus on your revs and speed.

Once you are done playing with the infotainment, look around you and take in the quality of the cabin. The turbine-style air vents look great and the metallic trims are classy and expensive looking. It’s only when you look lower down on the dash and doors that you start to notice some more scratchy plastics and the odd wobbly button. The GLA has more wow factor than the Q3, but the Audi has an even better finish when you start investigating the finer details.

MPG, emissions and tax

Excluding the high-powered AMG models, the Mercedes GLA comes with four engine options in the form of one petrol, two diesels and a plug-in hybrid.

The petrol option, badged ‘200’, is a 1.3-litre engine that makes 163hp. It’s the most affordable engine in the range and has an official fuel economy figure of up to 50.4mpg. It should prove more economical around town than the diesels.

If you regularly drive on the motorway, though, the 2.0-litre diesels are likely to be your best bet. The ‘200d’ will be enough for most – its 150hp output might seem a bit low and put you off, but it has enough power to get up to speed and pull off overtakes, and it will be the more economical of the two diesel options because it’s two-wheel drive. Official figures register up to 61.4mpg.

However, the ‘220d 4MATIC’ has more power at 190hp and the security of all-wheel drive might be appealing, particularly if you live off the beaten track or somewhere that experiences a lot of bad weather. It’s a bit less economical at up to 57.7mpg.

If you’re able to top up the batteries, or are looking for a company car and want the lowest benefit-in-kind rate, the plug-in hybrid is your go-to. It’s the most expensive to buy, but with a regularly recharged battery and predominantly town-based driving, you will see the best fuel economy and lowest running costs by miles. Official figures are over 250mpg, for example, but this will drop drastically if you ignore the battery and only use the petrol engine.

The plug-in model also faces the smallest first-year road tax, falling into the second-lowest band above zero-emission vehicles. The petrol and diesels are considerably higher, sitting in the top half for fees.

Want more performance? There’s the GLA AMG 35 and 45 S, which make 306hp and 421hp respectively. The latter’s 4.2-second 0-62mph time is more than five seconds faster than even the powerful 220d can manage. Though with fuel economy of just 33.2mpg, you pay the price at the pumps…

Safety and security

Mercedes usually builds very safe cars, and the GLA ticks all the right boxes when it comes to avoiding a crash or protecting you if the worst happens.

It was tested by the safety experts at Euro NCAP in 2019, and scored the maximum five stars – though testing is becoming more stringent all the time. Adult occupant protection was rated at 96% and child occupant protection 90%.

The GLA comes with a bonnet that pops up by 65mm in a crash with a pedestrian to keep them away from the hard and unyielding engine, as well as a blind spot monitoring system and Guard 360, which alerts the owner to any break-in attempts through the Mercedes app.

Since Mercedes introduced the updated GLA in 2023, it has improved assistance technology, such as a better lane-keep assistant and the ability for the automatic parking system (on top-spec models) to parallel park. This also introduces a 360-degree parking camera, while other trims just get a reversing camera.

Reliability and problems

Lots of car buyers see Mercedes as a byword for quality, but that reputation isn’t necessarily born out in reliability or customer satisfaction surveys. 

In fact, Mercedes tends to finish in the bottom half of the league table, which is disappointing considering the premium prices it charges, and this is generally true of the GLA, too.

All Mercedes come with an unlimited mileage three-year warranty, which is a similar time-frame to other manufacturers, though some put a limit on mileage. Lexus is the premium brand with the best warranty, as this can be extended up to 10 years through annual servicing.

Buy or lease the Mercedes-Benz GLA at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £35,625 - £71,150
Carwow price from
Cash
£35,625
Used
£21,500
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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