Review: CKD 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 – Lower price, even more want
Arvind · Feb 26, 2022 12:00 PM
New CKD price is RM 14k cheaper
Space and refinement levels deserve a thumbs up
It's a fast, fun SUV you can enjoy driving every day
Our first impressions of the fully-imported (CBU), Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 concluded – yes, it’s a car we like for all the right reasons, but is it worth the asking price?
With the launch of the new locally-assembled (CKD) variant, it's now priced at approximately RM 14k (valid until 30-June 2022) less than the previous CBU model – making an impressive package, even more appealing.
The small premium SUV category is a highly contested battleground and whilst looks, features, performance and badge appeal are all important factors, it ultimately comes down to the price tag.
Thus, should the GLA 250 be your first premium SUV or are you better off with one of its immediate competitors from BMW, Volvo or Lexus?
Exterior - Understated and grown-up
Well, the general consensus is that the 2022 GLA 250 looks charming and understated, although it lacks some of the in-your-face pizazz the first-generation model had.
The GLA might seem to be understated when parked up next to a Lexus UX but with rounded and organic lines front-to-back, and touches of aggression thanks to its AMG Line additions, it's a good looking SUV.
But, those taut lines and a rounded rear end also makes the GLA look visually smaller than it really is.
I actually parked up next to a Volvo XC40, and not only was the GLA's window line lower, the XC40's towering rear end actually made it look a segment above the GLA 250.
Though we know the XC40 isn't much larger than the GLA 250 per se, one will immediately perceive the XC40 to be a bigger SUV.
With that said, the stylistic touches such as intricate detail within the headlamp and taillamps, the beautiful diamond grille, and aero garnishes in the front bumper give the GLA 250 a high-street presence that's hard to ignore.
Interior - As impressive as the A-Class, but bigger
The first impression of getting into a GLA is just how spacious and airy it feels. Legroom - both front and rear - is excellent for its size, the seats are well designed, and entry and egress is so much better than before.
It's wife- and child-friendly, and even elderly-friendly. Thus it's is also my pick of the Mercedes-Benz junior range if it was my money on the line.
The seat padding and support are a tad stiff for my taste, but I reckon, with some use, it should soften up nicely.
Another highlight is the overall ergonomics and design, which are easy to get used to and live with.
The GLA 250 also packs a bag of party tricks with its wide twin-screen infotainment and instrument cluster, voice-activated MBUX system and ambient lighting, with more colours than you could ever need.
In terms of the user interface, the graphics and resolution are top-notch, except for the Android Auto/Apple CarPlay feature that doesn’t fill up the entire screen area.
And it's worth saying again, Mercedes-Benz has the best if not among the best reverse camera systems in terms of resolution and clarity.
Driving Experience – Poised, powerful, and fun too
If the interior was impressive, the refined driving demeanour of the GLA 250 is equally a step in the right direction.
After just seconds behind the wheel, there's an immediate sense of how smooth it sets off from a standstill.
The GLA 250 notably comes equipped with an 8-speed DCT transmission, therefore there's none of that lurchy abrupt movement when you're trying to inch forward in traffic (or parking) like you get in the A200, A250 and GLA 200, all of which utilise a different 7-speed DCT transmission.
In contrast, the GLA 250's unit is seamless and builds speed with confidence, as you slide through its 8 forward ratios.
With 224 PS and 350 Nm supplied by its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, the GLA 250 offers an impressive turn of speed at virtually any time you need it.
The torque response is urgent and unwavering right up the redline and given the snappy gearshifts, you get up to speed very quickly in the GLA 250.
Although power delivery isn't as urgent as in the A250, it's plenty for a small-ish SUV. In fact, I would go as far as to say this is one of the fastest SUVs you could enjoy driving every day given its power and overall agility.
Steering is relatively sharp and, but tends to feel artificially light, especially at speed. Brakes are in typical Mercedes-Benz fashion - slightly grabby at low speeds and town driving but reassuring and strong at high speeds.
Ride and handling - Comfortable and compliant
Given its chunky tyres and talented suspension system, the GLA 250 offers a surefooted yet compliant ride.
Thus, the GLA 250 is a good proposition if you are concerned with overall comfort levels and ride quality. Also, if you plan to ferry your family or elderly passengers.
Besides small thumps at the front when you ride over bumps and large potholes, the GLA 250 manages the rough and rutted roads of KL very well.
Though I would still give the Lexus UX the last word in terms of overall refinement, the GLA 250 isn't very far behind. The GLA 200 also scores very well in this respect.
In terms of cabin noise, it felt quieter than the A-Class sedan and the sound level meter reflects this as well. The GLA recorded lower dB values at speeds of 60 km/h, 90 km/h, and 110 km/h.
Cabin noise levels
Fuel Consumption - Similar to the A250
Over a combined driving trip of 103.5 km, broken down to around 60 percent highway and 40 percent urban driving, the tested fuel consumption of the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 works out to be 8.6-litre/100 km - similar to the A250 sedan.
The trip computer displayed an average of 9.0-litre/100 km, which is not too far off the actual calculated figure.
Overall, the GLA 250 is much improved in terms of the overall design, interior space and ride quality In short, Mercedes-Benz has pretty much overhauled all its predecessor's shortcomings and this alone deserves recognition.
Arvind can't remember a time when he didn't wheel around a HotWheels car. This love evolved into an interest in Tamiya and RC cars and finally the real deal 1:1 scale stuff. Passion finally lead to formal training in Mechanical Engineering. Instead of the bigger picture, he obsesses with the final drive ratio and spring rates of cars and spends the weekends wondering why a Perodua Myvi is so fast.