The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is a subcompact luxury SUV that competes in the same realm as the BMW X1, Volvo XC40, and Lexus UX. If you’re in the market for a small premium SUV and the Mercedes-Benz GLA is in your shortlist, we’ve gathered the pros and cons to help with your buying decision.
To recap, there are two variants of the Germany-imported Mercedes-Benz GLA – GLA 200 and GLA 250, priced at RM 244,200 and RM 285,337 (OTR without insurance, with SST discount) respectively. The variant we’re discussing here is the GLA 250, here a quick overview of its pros and cons.
Also read: Priced from RM 244k, 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (H247) launched in Malaysia, up to 224 PS, 350 Nm
- Interior as snazzy as A-Class, with more space
- Ease of ingress and egress
- Effortless straight-line performance
- Pricier than CKD rivals like BMW X1 and Volvo XC40
- Not the most supportive seats
- Ride quality could be better
Pro – Interior as snazzy as A-Class, with more space
As per Mercedes-Benz usual, the GLA’s interior presentation is impressive. You get 64-colour ambient lighting, which also lights up the turbine-styled air vents, and the dual widescreen displays taking centre stage of the dashboard.
It’s as impressive as the A-Class siblings, and the GLA does it whilst offering more space. The cabin feels airy, whether you’re seated at the front or rear. At the rear, there are more than 2 tennis balls of kneeroom and 1 tennis ball of headroom for a 177 cm adult.
Pro – Ease of ingress and egress
One of the biggest advantages of the GLA compared to the A-Class is the ease of ingress and egress. The seat height is at an ideal position in reference to the hip point.
You won’t be crouching down or climbing up to enter; you just slide in with zero contortion. If you ferry any elderly frequently, they’ll appreciate it.
Pro – Effortless straight-line performance
Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (M260) that makes 224 PS and 350 Nm of torque. An 8-speed dual-clutch transmission drives the front wheels.
In our tests, the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 clocked a 0-100 km/ time of 7.6 seconds. Whilst not as quick as the A250, it’s still a strong unit with a healthy surge of mid-range torque. Getting up to speed is an effortless task, which aids daily drivability.
Con – Pricier than CKD rivals like BMW X1 and Volvo XC40
Being a fully-imported model (from Germany), the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is at an understandable price disadvantage against its closest rival like the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40, both of which are around RM 50k cheaper.
At RM 285,337, the GLA 250 is verging on the entry variant of the Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 and BMW X3 20i, or the upper range compact executive sedans, the Mercedes-Benz C300 or BMW 330i. Unless you’re a big fan of the GLA, it’s tough to overlook its asking price.
Con – Not the most supportive seats
In terms of seat support, it’s average at best. A plus point is the decent thigh support with its extendable seat base. As for the backrest, this writer found himself constantly tweaking the recline angle and lumbar support for even distribution of pressure across the back of the body.
For shorter drives, it’s perfectly adequate but when seated for extended periods of time, minor discomfort starts to set in hence the constant tweaks.
Con – Ride quality could be better
The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 gets the ‘lowered comfort suspension’ and it rides commendably well, for the most part. The key phrase here being for the most part.
The suspension compresses rather willingly, so most of the protrusions on the road are absorbed well. But its rebound is on the firmer side, which seems to be the characteristic trait of modern Mercedes-Benzes.
This means at higher speeds, the GLA doesn’t flow with larger and more sudden undulations, causing more vertical movements than this writer would appreciate. Also, it does crash over sharper edges on the road.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 has one the best interiors in its class and its ease of ingress and egress makes it a good daily companion. The effortless straight-line performance also makes it easy to drive day in and out.
However, it’s at a price disadvantage compared to its closest rivals. While overall comfort is decent, it can be improved.
If you have an affection towards the GLA and don’t mind its asking price, or perhaps you’d prefer a fully-imported car, then the pros will outweigh the cons for you.
Review: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 – It’s good, but is it RM 285k good?
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