Is this what an SUV looks like? Mercedes thinks it ought to. The GLA is a new addition to Mercedes' family of light off-road vehicles. It comes in an all-wheel version and is Mercedes' first SUV with the new 4MATIC drive's fully variable power distribution. It has the same platform as the A series. Its competitors -- Audi's Q3 and BMW's X1 -- are already established on the market.
The GLA starts at 29,300 euros in Germany, about 1,600 euros more than the comparable A series car. The two have the same wheel base. The GLA's bigger trunk makes it 12.5 centimeters longer.
All the engines have the start-stop function and meet the Euro-6 emissions norm. We tested the GLA with the 250 4Matic engine, which produces 155 kilowatts. It sprints from zero to 100 kilometers an hour in 7.1 seconds, clocks a top speed of 230 kilometers an hour, and shifts with a 7-gear double clutch transmission. It costs about 37,500 euros in Germany.
But how well does the GLA handle off-road use? We left the pavement to seek adventure.
An optical underrider and dark gray recessed cladding all around underscore that the GLA is an SUV and protect the paint from flying grit. But what's really special about the GLA is its aerodynamics. The underbody is covered to prevent air turbulence. Especially at speeds above 60 kilometers an hour, this reduces fuel consumption noticeably. .
We see that as an indication that the GLA is at home primarily on the pavement. But a little ride on a dirt track has its pleasures.