Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium

Sanjay · Jul 10, 2021 10:00 AM

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 01

Fairly recently, we took the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 AMG Line for a spin. Priced from RM 285,336 in Malaysia, this Volvo XC40 and BMW X1 rival comes fully imported (CBU) from Germany.

As we've sorted out the review (linked below), let's take a look at the nitty-gritty through our instrumented WapCar Ratings tests.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 02

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Please note that all photos and measurements were taken before MCO.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250: Driving Performance - 34.5/50, It's quick

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 01

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Facts and Figures
Engine 2.0-litre, turbo 4-cylinder
Transmission 8-speed DCT
Power 224 PS @ 5,500 rpm
Torque 350 Nm @ 1,500 - 4,500 Nm
Weight 1,540 kg
0-100 km/h 7.6 seconds
100-0 km/h 38.3 metres

Make no bones about it, the GLA 250 AMG Line is rather quick. But it doesn't quite feel like you're blazing down the straights, since the weight and tuning lends a mellow character to power delivery.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 02

If you're new to Mercedes cars, this and other ergonomical touches will need some getting used to

No complaints about its 8-speed dual-clutch automatic (DCT) too, as doesn't judder in low speeds and is very snappy at higher ends of the speedometer. It's a creamy powertrain combo that sees the GLA completing the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 7.6 seconds.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 03

But power's not all there is about how a car drives, steering and brakes are quite another. Aside from the slightly artificial feel to the steering - as its weight increases with speed - it's sharp. Brakes are good, a little grabby in town driving but reassuringly strong at higher speeds.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 04

Speaking of which, the GLA 250 in Malaysia comes with the 'lowered comfort suspension', and much like its stance suggests, handles relatively well. However, it could use some improvement in the comfort aspect of things, as we'll see in the next bit.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Driving Performances Breakdown
Engine Acceleration 3.5 / 5
In-gear Acceleration 4 / 5
Throttle Response 3 / 5
Transmission Shift Logic 2 / 3
Smoothness 4 / 5
Sport/Manual Mode 3 / 3
Steering Accuracy 2 / 3
Response 2 / 3
Weight & Feel 1.5 / 3
Braking Distance 2 / 3
Feel 2 / 3
Handling Chassis Balance 2 / 3
Grip 2 / 3
Load Reaction 1.5 / 3
Total   34.5/50 pts

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250: Ride Comfort - 36/50, Could be more comfortable

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 05

Yes, the lowered suspension setup makes it look sharp and lends a sporty aura to how it drives, but there's a couple of drawbacks to that.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 06

For the most part, the GLA 250 absorbs roads irregularities rather well. But that doesn't happen all the time, as there's a firm rebound that happens as the car settles after bumps.

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Which means its otherwise calm ride is disturbed by a crashy feeling over sharper edges on the road. It doesn't quite flow very smoothly over larger undulations at higher speeds too, which results in small head-bopping moments in the cabin during such situations.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Cabin noise
0 km/h (AC off) 41 dB
0 km/h (AC on) 46 dB
60 km/h (AC on) 59 dB
90 km/h (AC on) 65 dB
110 km/h (AC on) 69 dB

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 08

Sound insulation is at acceptable levels, and generally the cabin is a rather comfortable place to be in.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Ride Comfort Breakdown
Sound Proofing 8 / 10
Suspension 7 / 10
Passenger Comfort 7 / 10
Seat Support 3 / 5
Ergonomics 4 / 5
Engine Refinement 7 / 10
Total points 36 / 50 pts

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250: Quality and Features – 39/50, Top-notch build

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 09

Built quality is fantastic on the GLA 250, with only the bonnet differing 0.5 mm between sides. The rest of the car is as tight as a drum.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Panel Gaps (mm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side Difference
Bonnet 4 3.5 0.5
Front Fender 4 4 0
Front to Rear Door 3.5 3.5 0
Rear Door to quarter panel 3.5 3.5 0
Tailgate 4.5 4.5 0

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 10

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Paint Thickness (µm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side
Front Bonnet 85
Front Fender 93 82
Front Door 100 105
Rear Door 98 100
Rear Quarter Panel 97 100
Tailgate 88
Roof 110
Average paint thickness: 96 µm ±8

Paint isn't very thick (most cars we test hover around the 100+ µm mark), but application is consistent all around.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 11

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Exterior Material Use
Bonnet Soundproofing Material None
Struts Gas
Front Fenders Soundproofing Material Yes
Doors Front Windows Single Glazed
Rear Windows Single Glazed
Construction One-piece
Tailgate/Boot Opening Powered

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 12

Cockpit has a funky full-digital setup. It comes with ambient lighting too

Pop open the doors and getting into the GLA 250 couldn't be any simpler - the seats are at an ideal position, and circus acts are not necessary for one to slide in. This is a great plus point for those ferrying elderly people.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Cabin Material Use
Seat Seat Cover Leather
Armrest Armrest Cover Leather
Dashboard Upper Section Soft Plastic
  Lower Section Hard Plastic
Front Doors Upper Section Leather
  Middle Section Suede
  Lower Section Hard Plastic

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 13

There's more than enough thigh support on the front seats thanks to their extendable seat base, but comfort is fairly average at best, as some of us who tried the car found themselves constantly tweaking the seat back for the most ideal recline angle and lumbar support.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 14

The touchscreen infotainment system (and by extension, the digital instrument cluster) is crisp, giving sharp visuals at anytime and are pretty slick to use. Yes, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support are bundled in too, in addition to Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) functions.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 15

There's nothing extraordinary about its safety kit - 7 airbags, Pre-Safe anticipatory occupant safety system, active brake assist, and blind spot assist - the latter being the differentiating factor between this GLA 250 and its cheaper GLA 200 Progressive Line sibling.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Quality & Feature Breakdown
Exterior Paint Finish 4 / 4
Panel Gaps 4 / 4
Assembly Quality 2 / 2
Interior Build Quality 3.5 / 5
Materials Used 3.5 / 5
Features Safety 8 / 10
ADAS 2 / 5
Luxury 4 / 5
Convenience 3 / 5
Infotainment 5 / 5
Total   39 / 50 pts

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250: Interior space – 28/50, Oodles of space

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 16

Fittingly, the snazzy interior feels way airier than its other A-badged stablemates. Bumping up the cool factor is the cabin's design, as well as the liberal use of high-quality materials like leather and suede.

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Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 18

Practicality-wise, there's back seat pockets (don't discount this, even the Toyota RAV4 doesn't have them), 6 cupholders, and a little cubby where we'd much prefer rear air cond vents to be.

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In the second row, there's more than 2 tennis balls of legroom and 1 tennis ball of headroom, plenty enough for a 177 cm tall adult. Boot space is rated at 435 litres with the seats up, and it can be expanded to 1,430 litres with the second-row folded flat.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 20

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Interior Space Breakdown
Front Row 7 / 10
Middle/Back Row 7 / 10
Third Row 0 / 5
Boot Space 3 / 5
Practicality 3 / 5
Storage Space 3 / 5
Visibility 3 / 5
Storage Flexibility 2 / 5
Total 28 / 50 pts

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250: Fuel consumption – 15/20, Relatively efficient

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 21

Over a combined driving trip of 103.5 km, broken down to around 60% highway and 40% urban driving, the tested fuel consumption of the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 works out to 8.6-litre/100 km.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 22

These figures mean it bests the RAV4 (8.91 l/100km), Mazda CX-5 2.5 turbo (9.1 l/100 km) and VW Tiguan Allspace Highline 1.4 (10.34 l/100km).

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Fuel Consumption Test Breakdown
Fuel Consumption 11 / 15
Eco Mode 2 / 2
Indicator Accuracy 2  / 3
Total points 15 / 20 pts

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 23

It's a Mercedes-Benz, it's turbocharged, and they say RON 95 is enough

Mercedes-Benz GLA: Purchase and cost - 17/30, RM 285k is quite pricey

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 24

Here's where it gets a little sticky to judge. It's a good car, but we're not sure if its RM 285,337 good (OTR without insurance and 50% SST discount).

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 25

This is borderline compact executive sedan (Mercedes-Benz C300 or BMW 330i) territory, and it's achingly close to the BMW X3 20i's price tag of RM 286,674. The kicker is that the Beemer SUV is a whole segment higher than this GLA. However, it must be reitierated that while the GLA is fully-imported, the X3 is locally-assembled (CKD), which benefits its pricing.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 service costs
Package Cost (RM)
Four years service and maintenance package 5,838

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 26

Maintenance cost is on par with other European makes. Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) doesn't outline them in a schedule, but the GLA 250 AMG Line comes with four-year service and maintenance package that starts from RM 5,838.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 - Purchase & Cost
Purchase Car Price 8 / 15
Warranty 2 / 5
Cost Maintenance 3  / 5
Fuel Cost 4 / 5
Total   17 / 30 pts

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250: Conclusion – 168.5/250 pts overall

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 27

There's plenty to like about the GLA 250 - an interior seniors won't complain about, effortless performance, relative fuel efficiency - which really makes it a strong contender for a daily driver.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 28

In spite of that, the rather costly price tag might give reasons for prospective customers to think twice. But that's for the here and now, and there's one good reason why you should wait.

Ratings: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in Malaysia - Performance and class at a premium 29

And that reason is that a cheaper GLA is on the cards, as it's one of the 5 models slated for local production (CKD). That should close the gap in price with its rivals and by then, we should see some of its value scores bumped up.

Full Ratings list: https://www.wapcar.my/car-ranking

Also read: 

Malaysia to launch CKD 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan, GLA, GLE - 5 new CKD models coming

Review: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 – It’s good, but is it RM 285k good?

Pros and Cons: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 – Great daily companion, if your wallet agrees

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