- Published: Friday, 25 August 2017 23:12
A facelift for Mercedes’ compact crossover should prove timely as SUV fever shows no signs of abating
SINGAPORE —Three years after its debut here, Mercedes-Benz’s baby faux-by-four gets a customary mid-life refresh, and was unveiled to the public on 25 August.
As before, four variants of the GLA will be available. The range starts with the Category A Certificate of Entitlement-friendly GLA 180, priced at $166,888.
Next up on the model ladder is the GLA 200, at $185,888. It shares its 1.6-litre engine with the GLA 180, but here the four-cylinder turbo is in a higher state of tune, putting the car in Category B.
Then there’s the 2.0-litre GLA 250, at $194,888, and the range is topped off by the high performance version, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45, which will set you back $277,888.
Like the other models in the compact Mercedes range, the A-class and CLA, the changes brought on by the facelift to the GLA are minor. The exterior sees mildly reshaped bumpers front and rear (said to improve aerodynamics), LED headlights and taillights in place of the previous bi-Xenon units, new rim designs, and a new colour, Canyon Beige.
Inside, the seats have been updated with new patterns, and a smattering of chrome highlights adorn various parts of the dashboard.
With the exception of the GLA 45, powertrain options are carried over from the outgoing models. This means the 1.6-litre engine in the GLA 180 and GLA 200 produces 121hp and 156hp respectively, and the 2.0-litre engine in the GLA 250 has 211hp. All variants are turbocharged and have a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox.
The GLA 45 (below) also uses a turbo 2.0-litre four-pot, but has gained 21hp over its predecessor, for a total of 381hp. Its transmission has also been tweaked, with shorter ratios for gears three to seven to make for punchier acceleration.
Not only does this powertrain combo make this mini-SUV more powerful than a Porsche 911 from just a decade ago, but faster accelerating, too; the 0-100km/h sprint is done and dusted in 4.4 seconds.
Several new options are available for the GLA range. Among the more desirable of these is an optional 360° parking camera that shows a bird’s eye view of the car and its surroundings. Also optional is Hands-Free Access, which allows you to open the tailgate just by waving a foot underneath the rear bumper; Mercedes is keen to point out that the GLA is the only car in its segment to offer these.
Finally, there’s also a Garmin GPS system and Keyless-Go, which are optional extras on the GLA 180 but standard on the GLA 200, GLA 250 and GLA 45.
Mercedes faces increasingly tough competition in the segment. Audi, Jeep and Mini all launched competing products in the form of the Q2, Countryman and Renegade this year. A new face and new features for the GLA-Class can only help.
Americans have done SUVs for decades. Case in point? Jeep. The Renegage is poised to be the brand's best seller — ever!