Mercedes-Benz's new GLA's superiority is apparent at a glance

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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA

• The GLA is the smallest SUV in Mercedes-Benz's portfolio.

• Priced from R679 000, the GLA line-up offers a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

• The SUV competes against the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

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I'm not entirely sure how many people would know this, but the 'G' in the GLA name stands for the German word Gelände, or terrain. In a world where the outdoors is significantly more alluring than in the past, the off-road ability of the GLA, although limited, is welcomed.

The GLA is not a serious off-road vehicle, but it has more than you'd hope for to enjoy a fun and adventurous weekend - from an innovative off-road driving mode to LED headlamps with integrated off-road function and decent ground clearance.

In SA, the GLA is relatively new, having landed on our shores in 2014. We had, at that stage, become accustomed to the A-Class, but the GLA offered an alternative more suited to fun and adventure, and it immediately found a receptive market in South Africa. Those in the market for German competitors like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, now also had an exciting GLA to consider. And the GLA did not disappoint here, and across the world, with about a million cars sold, the GLA is the choice over the tired A-Class.

Mercedes-Benz GLA
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA

New look, better interior and safe as always

The new generation GLA is distinctly different from its predecessor: 100mm taller and 30mm wider, and the superior interior is apparent at a glance. The ride height is higher, and despite its petite looks, one enjoys a more comfortable seating position and greater headroom.

The high-tech features and sportiness fit in seamlessly with the overall look of the car. The free-standing Widescreen Cockpit and the illuminated air vents give a unique distinction and add to the hip and sporty styling. This iteration of the GLA has greater luggage capacity, and the 40:20:40-split rear backrest adds to this vehicle's family-friendliness.

Together with the usual safety features one expects from a Mercedes, the GLA has a package that helps protect your car against break-ins and from being towed away. The tow-away protection would warn you if the vehicle has moved. An added advantage and protection from potential thieves is the ability of the system to sound an alarm if the door is opened by someone who was not authorized to open it.

Mercedes-Benz GLA
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA

Protection in the GLA includes:

• Anti-theft alarm system

• Extended anti-theft protection

• Selectable tow-away protection, visual and audible warning in the event of a change in position

• Alarm siren

• Interior monitoring system, triggered when there is movement in the interior

• Theft notification and parking damage detection

In SA, the GLA comes standard with the following:

• electric-folding side mirrors

• front fog lights, seat-comfort package

• a seven-inch MBUX touchscreen multimedia infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability

• automatic climate control

• an auto-dimming rear-view mirror

• Safety equipment includes an electric parking brake, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP and dual front-, driver knee and curtain airbags

Pricing and warranty

The GLA 200d costs over R715 000, compared to R680 000 for the petrol GLA 200. The entry-level GLA 200d comes with halogen headlamps. As is usual with vehicles in this range, one has multiple upgrading options – for example, a Driving Assistance package will cost about R35 000 while an AMG line package will set you back R53 000. If one chooses some of the other upgrade packages available, the GLA could easily cost you more than a million.

Mercedes-Benz GLA GLA 200D - R714 560

Mercedes-Benz GLA GLA 200 - R679 040

All Mercedes-Benz models are is sold with a 2-year or unlimited km warranty and a 5-year or 100 000km maintenance plan.

Mercedes-Benz GLA
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA
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