Small Premium SUV of the Year 2021: Mercedes GLA

The Mercedes GLA is the Auto Express 2021 Small Premium SUV of the Year with the Range Rover Evoque and Cupra Formentor commended

It’s back-to-back wins for the Mercedes GLA, which is an impressive achievement when you consider the quality of the opposition in this closely fought category. Combining luxury, tech and practicality in a distinctively designed package, the high-riding German machine makes a compelling choice for families looking for style and substance.

Nowhere is this more obvious than inside, where the GLA effortlessly blends a premium finish with impressive practicality. Soft-touch materials are used throughout, while the classy touchscreens and displays wouldn’t look out of place in an S-Class limo. Then there’s the excellent MBUX infotainment system, which is so simple to use. 

There’s room for five adults at a pinch, while the 395-litre boot is bigger than most in the class. And of course, being a Mercedes, it’s packed with the latest safety kit, including a lane-keeping aid, autonomous braking and speed-limit assist.

Precise steering and composed handling mean the GLA can take any road in its stride, but with low noise levels and soft suspension that soaks up the bumps, it’s the car’s relaxing comfort that’s the real highlight. The easy-going feel is enhanced by the refined engines, especially the plug-in hybrid GLA 250 e that promises up to 37 miles of silent, zero-emissions progress and cuts overall CO2 emissions to as little as 31g/km. If you fancy something a little more exciting, then the road-burning 415bhp AMG-tuned GLA 45 S will blast from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and tackle twisting roads with the agility of a hot hatch.

The small premium SUV competition is closing in, but with such a breadth of ability, the desirable GLA is still at the top of its game and is yet again a worthy winner.

Best deal

Mercedes GLA 200 Sport (£30,750)

Until the end of September, Mercedes will throw in a £1,000 discount on selected GLA models, including the GLA 200 Sport. We found one Mercedes dealer taking that further with a £2,600 discount; that translates to £330 per month on a four-year PCP with a £5,400 customer deposit.

https://twitter.com/AutoExpress/status/1412699157287034882

Commended

Range Rover Evoque

evoque

When it comes to head-turning style and cosseting luxury, the Evoque is a class act, plus it can head further off road than most rivals. Updated infotainment and the availability of a plug-in hybrid add appeal, but there’s not as much choice as with the GLA.

Cupra Formentor

Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid - side

One of the surprises of the year, the Formentor is the first bespoke model from the sporty Spanish brand. Good-looking, quick and fun to drive, it’s also easy to live with, thanks to its comfortable ride and spacious, well equipped interior. Factor in a plug-in hybrid option and the Cupra is an easy car to recommend.

New Car Awards 2021: the winners

Special edition of Auto Express

For the full experience, make sure you pick up a copy of our special New Car Awards collectors' edition of the Auto Express magazine, which is available in shops now.

Auto Express Issue 1,685

You can buy individual issues of Auto Express or subscribe for even bigger discounts on the magazine cover price. You can currently Subscribe and get 6 issues for just £1 or download our digital edition direct to your desktop, phone or tablet.

Recommended

Mercedes GLA review
Mercedes GLA driving
Mercedes GLA

Mercedes GLA review

The Mercedes GLA offers strong compact SUV credentials, with extra interior space, improved practicality and high levels of comfort and refinement.
27 Apr 2022
Affordable Electric Car of the Year 2021: Renault Zoe
Renault Zoe - header
Renault ZOE

Affordable Electric Car of the Year 2021: Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe is the 2021 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Fiat 500 and MG 5 commended
7 Jul 2021
City Car of the Year 2021: Fiat 500
Fiat 500 - header
Fiat 500

City Car of the Year 2021: Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is the 2021 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen up! commended
7 Jul 2021
Large Premium SUV of the Year 2021: BMW X5
BMW X5 - header
BMW X5

Large Premium SUV of the Year 2021: BMW X5

The BMW X5 is the 2021 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Land Rover Discovery and Porsche Cayenne commended
7 Jul 2021

Most Popular

Best motorhomes 2022: the top 5 picks for all budgets
Chausson motorhome
Tips & advice

Best motorhomes 2022: the top 5 picks for all budgets

In the market for a new motorhome? Here are our top-five recommendations...
18 May 2022
New all-electric Volkswagen Aero B saloon to rival Tesla Model 3
Volkswagen Aero B exclusive image - front
Volkswagen

New all-electric Volkswagen Aero B saloon to rival Tesla Model 3

The new four-door VW Aero B EV could come with up to 435 miles of range and our exclusive images preview how it could look
20 May 2022
New all-electric Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider shapes up
Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider - watermarked front
Alfa Romeo

New all-electric Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider shapes up

Alfa Romeo bosses have confirmed that a new two-seat electric roadster is in the company’s rejuvenation plans and our exclusive images preview how it …
19 May 2022