Published on August 16th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair


Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 Short Review: A Great Way Into the Brand

Mercedes-Benz has a pretty large portfolio consisting of limousines, dream cars, SUVs and compact cars. While the GLA technically falls in the last of these categories, there’s no denying it has ambitions of entering SUV-hood. With this latest revision of the GLA, it inches ever closer to that goal.

That’s because the GLA now comes with a few more rugged visual cues. From the front grille with rectangular cutouts to the aluminium roof rack – the new miniature GL takes the SUV cues to the next level. It even has off-road comfort suspension which sits 30mm higher than the standard suspension. To be fair, the previous model sat higher than standard too with its regular comfort suspension, but pairing off-road comfort suspension with a front-wheel drive setup feels like there’s a bit of redundancy going on. Still, there’s no denying the GLA looks more the part than ever.

Of the compact Benzes (A, CLA, GLA), it was the last to receive its facelift. In Malaysia, the GLA was given its update back in May of this year. On paper, the engine and gearbox hasn’t changed, but we see a small bump in the performance figures. Top speed is unchanged at 215km/h, but acceleration to 100km/h takes 0.8 of a second less at 8.1s.

What’s more, the rated economy and CO2 emissions have improved ever so slightly. We chalk this down to either marginally better aerodynamics or improved ECU tuning. Perhaps a bit of both. Whatever the case, it definitely feels like an efficient vehicle. In ECO mode, it often enters ‘GLIDING MODE’, essentially disconnecting the engine from the gearbox. The car is left to glide  with the engine idling. Great for fuel savings. Of course, because it’s a lightning quick dual clutch transmission, it reengages instantly when power is needed.

The GLA 200 we have here gives you a lot of what you expect out of a Mercedes for a reasonable asking price of RM240,000.

19” 5-spoke alloys in dual-tone finish is plenty for tyres and they come wrapped in Runflats from Goodyear. We think the rims look absolutely gorgeous and matches the plastic underbody cladding very well.

You even get LED projector headlamps with Auto High Beams, which is great considering this is the base model.

The interior gets a bump up as well. Expect to see an 8” display with modern animations with support for Garmin Map Pilot, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Inside you’ll find 7 airbags, including one for the driver’s knees and keyless push-to-start. Most units brought here will be finished in black, but our review unit had white upholstery. Here’s what a typical showroom unit might look like:

Boot space is extremely well managed. You get more than 420 litres of it.

What about how it drives? Well, to be honest, smaller Mercedes-Benz vehicles don’t retain a lot of the characteristics found on their larger siblings. Having said that, I don’t think a lot of people go into smaller Benzes expecting the E- or S-Class treatment. And in fairness, for a car of its size, its NVH properties are second to none.

And like we said, the 1.6-litre turbocharged unit in here is still brisk. It really does feel like a premium-lite experience behind the wheel. The GLA 200 is one of the most affordable ways into the most sought after brands in Malaysia, and we’re sure it’ll keep newcomers eager for more of the Benz treatment. Yes, the A-Class offers a lower price point, but with crossovers being as popular as they are, the GLA can provide what no other Benz can.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 Specifications
Engine: Inline-4 Turbo
Capacity: 1595cc
Gearbox: 7-G Dual Clutch Transmission (Wet clutch)
Max power: 156hp @ 5300rpm
Max torque: 250Nm @1250Nm
Top Speed: 215km/h
0-100 km/h: 8.1 secs
Selling Price: RM239,888


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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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