It may be spinning at a slower rate, but the motoring world is most certainly alive. Late last year we were looking forward to welcoming some twenty new models from Stuttgart, their planning and manufacture already at an advanced stage.
Just being placed into the nations Mercedes-Benz showrooms is their new compact Sports Utility Vehicle, the GLA and while I have yet to drive it, like everyone else, I look forward to the day when the shutters go up once more.
Compact SUV’s are very popular, our liking of high driving position and ease of in and out, key factors in their purchase. Add in passenger and cargo space, to an airy cabin and safe, dependable road manners and it’s easy to see the attraction.
This new GLA, (the ‘A’ denoting its lineage), is the latest in a line of models first introduced six years ago, and later updated in a face-lifted variant launched in 2017.
Described by Mercedes-Benz as ‘a sporty, lifestyle-oriented’ partner to the GLB, and a companion to the GLC and GLE within their wider family of SUV models, the GLA will be available here in a choice of two design lines – Progressive and a high-performance AMG version. Prices have yet to be finalised.
The 2020GLA is more than 100mm taller, despite being 15mm shorter, with added interior headroom for driver and front passenger and considerably greater rear legroom for back seat passengers.
Dimensions-wise, track width has been increased by four centimetres while ground clearance has been raised, albeit marginally. Boot volume has been increased, helped by rear seats that can slide by up to 140mm. Other design features include details carried over from the larger 7-seat GLB and the GLC.
The new GLA Mercedes-Benz will be powered by modernised four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. All four petrol and three diesel versions are turbo charged.
· 1.3-litre, 163hp GLA 200
· 2-litre, 224hp GLA 250
· GLA 250 4MATIC
· AMG GLA 35 and AMG GLA 45 will also be available to order at the launch date.
Diesel versions - all 1.9-litres:
· GLA200d 150hp
· GLA 200d 4-MATIC
· GLA220d 190hp
· GLA 220d 4MATIC
· A 180d 1.5-litre diesel and a plug-in petrol electric variant is in the pipeline.
Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in Ireland commented: “the arrival of the new GLA is being supported with attractive price and purchase finance arrangements pitched competitively against those of its main rivals and broadly in harmony with those of its predecessor”.
In appearance, the new GLA has short overhangs front and rear, wearing a single louvre radiator grille and central positioned star that gives it an unmistakable Mercedes-Benz appearance.
Side and rear views are characterised by its powerful shoulders, contoured coupé-like side profile, and doors that reach over the sills to give occupants ease of access and improved impact protection. Front and rear under guards and all-round protective cladding emphasise its off-road character.
Inside, the most visually striking feature is a free-standing driver instrumentation and infotainment display that frames the view almost from door-to-door. Standard is the now familiar MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system and voice activated ‘Hey Mercedes’ driver assistance system, and touch-control pads mounted on the steering wheel.
Extra spaciousness is key with more headroom, rear legroom and more boot space. More typical of an SUV, the seating position for driver and front passenger is higher and more upright while all-round visibility has also been improved. Ventilation outlets and air guidance vanes have a high-quality turbine look.
Utility value being a design priority, rear seats come with 40:20:40 split. Standard is a height-adjustable load floor that, when set in the correct position with rear seat backrests folded down, can be transformed into an almost flat loading area extending to the front seats.
An extensive menu of safety and driver assistance systems are available on the new GLA. These include in the Driver Assistance Package automatic inputs to assist drivers with routine and accident avoidance emergency braking, distance control, parking, steering, lane keeping, blind spot observation, speed limit keeping, driver fatigue alerts, and more.
One very helpful feature is a car wash function whereby, with a single command, exterior mirrors fold inwards, side windows and sliding roof close, rain sensor is suppressed and other settings disabled – all of which can be automatically deactivated when the driver exits the carwash.