There’s enough space in the Mercedes GLA’s front seats to stretch out but its small back windows, low roof and dark grey roof lining mean it’s easy to feel claustrophobic in the back
The Mercedes GLA’s front seats are supportive and come with plenty of adjustment to help you get comfy. Its taller body means you get very slightly more headroom than in the A-Class, too.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay an extra £160 if you want four-way adjustable lumbar support to help reduce back ache on long journeys and heated seats are only available as part of the £995 Executive Equipment Line package in SE and Sport models.
Things don’t really improve when it comes to the back seats, either. They’re pretty cramped and the small windows can make it feel pretty dark and dingy – especially in Sport models with their dark fabric roof lining. Headroom is quite tight for anyone over six-foot tall and there isn’t much space for your passengers’ feet under the front seats.
The Mercedes GLA isn’t as good as the X1 for carrying three adults in the back. Its central seat is quite narrow and hard and there’s very little shoulder room to go round. Thankfully, there’s no annoying lump in the rear floor so at least your middle passenger has somewhere to put their feet.
The Mercedes’ small rear door openings make leaning in to strap in a child slightly tricky but at least the Isofix anchor points are exposed so securing the seat base is a breeze.
The Mercedes GLA’s front door bins are huge. They’re easily big enough to carry a 1.5-litre bottle each with enough space left over for another half-litre bottle or drinks can. The glovebox is pretty generous, too – providing you can find somewhere else to store the bulky owner’s manual – and there’s even a storage tray hidden under the front passenger seat that’s big enough for a phone.
There’s space under the folding front armrest for another small bottle and you get two handy covered trays for keeping your keys and a phone tucked safely out of sight. There’s also a pair of large cupholders in the front and two more that neatly fold away inside the rear armrest.
The GLA’s back seats feel a bit like being locked inside a safe – while the bulky exterior makes you think it’ll feel spacious, the interior compartment is actually surprisingly tight
The Mercedes GLA can carry a respectable 481 litres of luggage with all five seats in place. That’s enough for a baby buggy and some bulky soft bags but not quite as much as the roomier 505-litre BMW X1. The Mercedes’ tall boot lip means it’s more difficult to load heavy luggage than with the BMW but its square shape means it’s dead easy to pack full of large boxes.
You get some handy netted cubby holes on each side of the boot to stop small items rolling around and some hooks to hold your shopping securely in place. The standard-fit 12V socket makes it easy to hoover out the boot without dragging a cable all the way through the cabin but there isn’t quite enough space under the boot floor to store the parcel shelf.
The Mercedes GLA’s back seats flip down in a handy two-way (60:40) split so you can carry a passenger in the back and some long luggage in the boot at once. There’s even a set of clips to stop the seatbelts snagging on the seats when you fold them down and a small hatch behind the central rear armrest so you can carry very long items at two passengers at once.
Flip all the rear seats down and the GLA’s boot grows to 1,235 litres – that’s big enough to carry a bike with its wheels attached but someway behind the X1’s 1,550-litre load bay. The GLA’s boot floor isn’t quite flat so it’s not particularly easy to push heavy boxes right up behind the front seats either.