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Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates

Sanjay ยท Jun 2, 2024 08:00 AM

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 01

Small size, but this is a huge seller for House Stuttgart โ€“ so this mid-life update introduced earlier this year couldn't be more timely in the face of new rivals coming in hot. Say hello to the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift.

Overview: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200
Price RM 258,800
Segment Subcompact Luxury SUV
Engine 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Power 163 PS
Torque 250 Nm
Transmission 7-speed DCT
0-100 km/h 8.9 seconds
Origin  CKD, Pekan

Exterior: Don't fix what's not broken

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 02

We've only got one variant of it this time around, the sole GLA 200 Progressive Line. So no AMG kit (that will be for the GLA 250, to come later), and very, very minor changes compared to its pre-facelift predecessor.

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Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 01

Not bad at all, considering it builds upon a car that's already quite chic to begin with. It also comes off as larger than it seems โ€“ the heavy rump makes the whole thing not as lithe as, say, a BMW X1 โ€“ but it's generally an agreeable, cute car.

Interior: Better software and flair are great, steering wheel is not fun though

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 02

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 03

The breadth of updates concern the interior more, and it's quite holistic. Akin to the A-Class sedan facelift, the GLA's touchpad has gone, replaced with a small storage compartment that hides a wireless charger within.

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 04

Also,  64-colour ambient lighting finally makes it to the junior Mercedes, and that's quite something as it elevates the experience a whole lot more, and psychologically it doesn't feel like a 'cut-price' variant as the pre-facelift did. Down with the drab!

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 05

Striking cabin, but steering looks like a boat tiller

Elsewhere there's the new steering wheel, which for some reason feels like an overall step backwards. The old thick wheel that was decked out with crispy silver buttons fit just nicely in the hands, not to mention being clear and easy to use.

For some reason the new wheel looks two sizes too big for the GLA, and perhaps that has something to do with an odd awkwardness in the hands. In our time with it, gripping the wheel on the safest 9-3 position felt rather unnatural, and that's before the haptic buttons being a bit of a mess to use on the move.

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 06

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 07

Updated MBUX brings full-screen Android Auto (above), and funky new animations (below). Graphics quality is top notch as always

Elsewhere however, the bunch of new stuff Mercedes have given the baby SUV are meaningful. The latest MBUX software within the twin 10.25-inch screens only serves to improve one of the best in-car platforms ever, improving on voice recognition and overall snappiness โ€“ wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay that now finally fill up the screen are just desserts.

Driving: Enough power, reasonable fuel consumption

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 08

Baby Benz comes with a suitably compact engine, all 1.3 litres of Renault-sourced power. We live in times where 163 PS and 250 Nm is chicken feet to BEVs far cheaper than this, though where are you realistically going to use the "0-100 km/h in 4 seconds" claim in daily life anyway?

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 09

The small-displacement engine is aided by a turbo, so there's decent enough shove for city jaunts. Even across highways there's adequate pull when you need to move past the errant lane hogger, though the 7-speed DCT might be a little hesitant to grab a gear down as you're doing so. Elsewhere, the shifts are usually very smooth and well-timed.

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 10

It's worth a mention too that our GLA 200 still does without the EQ mild-hybrid system, but it still does well enough to net a 8.6-litres/100 km fuel consumption figure, which is pretty accurate to what's reported by the on-board meter.

Comfort: Could be better, cushy tyres help a lot

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 11

Ride height is par for the course of a soft-roading SUV. Enough to ford through small flash floods

The suspension on the GLA 200 is of the Comfort sort, so theoratically one expects a softly-sprung ride. In actuality it's a balanced ride, if a little more on the firmer side of things.

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 12

This means that it drives more like a hatchback than an SUV, with good body control and reasonable pliancy. One more positive? The chunky tyres are fantastic at cushioning road imperfections, so the ride is never what one would term as 'crashy'.

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 13

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 14

Because it's also SUV-sized you get the benefits of a higher hip point with the seats, making getting in and out very easy. If you ferry any elderly people frequently, it's something they'll appreciate.

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 15

Speaking of which, the seats of the GLA are reasonably comfortable, if a little stiff. Perhaps the padding should soften up nicely with some use. Leg- and headroom, about two tennis balls each, are just about as expected for something of this stature.

Verdict: Most complete starter Mercedes

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 16

Chic SUV-lite styling, a three-pointed star up front, and a generally positive feeling shows it's little wonder why the GLA has been a sales phenomenon for the brand.

Review: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift - Proof that improvements come in small, measured updates 17

The facelift improves things in points that matter too, mostly in the connectivity aspect and in flair, making it quite the compelling option in this slice of the market.

Sanjay

Senior Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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