Mercedes GLA review - Interior, design and technology
Mercedes has brought the GLA bang-up-to-date with sharper styling and the latest on-board tech.
The first-generation GLA didn’t really hit the mark for being the best-looking small SUV, and was missing the crucial sense of style that customers desire - particularly from a premium brand.
The revised car offers much more kerb appeal, with the interior including quality materials and a focus on a new digital environment. Outside of the Mercedes-AMG performance models, customers have the choice of six core trim levels, with separate Exclusive equipment lines for the 250 e plug-in hybrid.
Entry-level Sport versions include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a reversing camera and a 7-inch touchscreen display. The Sport Executive trim ups the available tech by including a 10.25-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration, wireless charging and parking sensors. We would expect at least the smartphone integration and parking sensors to be fitted as standard, so it’s a little disappointing that Mercedes makes you pay £1,500 extra for the Executive package to get them. AMG Line cars add 19-inch wheels, an AMG-styling kit, rear privacy glass and sports seats with upgraded upholstery.
Moving further up the price list brings AMG Line Executive, Premium and Premium Plus trim levels which include extras such as a park assist system, interior ambient lighting and a panoramic glass sunroof.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The GLA’s infotainment system is great. The built-in sat-nav can feature augmented reality if you tick the right box, which means it will overlay directional arrows onto a live picture of the view ahead displayed on the 10.25-inch touchscreen, which is standard on ‘Executive’, ‘Premium’ and ‘Exclusive’ models. It’s clever tech, but you have to take your eyes off the road to benefit from it, so it has its strengths and its flaws.
Of course, if you’d prefer to use one of the smartphone integration packages, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard on all except Sport and AMG Line versions. You’ll have to plug in your phone, but there is also wireless charging if you don’t use either of these functions.
Otherwise, the graphics on the Mercedes setup are super-sharp and the touchscreen responds quickly; you can use the touch-sensitive pad on the transmission tunnel, but it’s a bit tricky at times. The menu layout removes a lot of the complexity though, because it’s so simple to navigate.
In this review
- 1Mercedes GLA reviewThe Mercedes GLA offers strong compact SUV credentials, with extra interior space, improved practicality and high levels of comfort and refinement.
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe GLA comes with a choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines, while the Mercedes-AMG versions offer plenty of performance.
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsThe GLA petrol plug-in hybrid version is the most efficient choice, but make no mistake, running any Mercedes isn’t cheap.
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingMercedes has brought the GLA bang-up-to-date with sharper styling and the latest on-board tech.
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe GLA has grown into a genuine small SUV, with a bigger boot and a focus on increased comfort.
- 6Reliability and safetyGLA customers should feel reassured by good levels of safety and decent reliability.