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The entry-level version of the new Mercedes GLA crossover – and an interesting car for all sorts of reasons, not least because its price positioning puts it in direct competition with the most expensive launch version of the new Nissan Qashqai – one of our highest-rated introductions of 2014.


The new GLA's closest rivals are the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, but the Qashqai comparison will be much more helpful if you're seeking to classify this car. This is a crossover hatchback, not a compact SUV. It has up to 185mm of ground clearance, but the silhouette and driving position of a fairly large family five-door rather than of a typical 4x4 or station wagon.
While other parts of the world get a turbocharged 1.6-litre GLA200 petrol as a feed-in model, Mercedes' UK distributor has declined to offer that car, and will instead use the GLA200 CDI to kick off with. Available in ‘SE' and ‘AMG Line' trim, and with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes, all versions of the GLA200 CDI will emit 119g/km of CO2 until the 4Matic four-wheel drive versions go on sale later this year.
Should I buy one?Depends if you find the idea of a premium-brand crossover more appealing that that of a more upright compact SUV. This tester suspects many will, once they realise that the Mercedes GLA provides as much space and capability as they really need, combined with impressive performance, efficiency, quality and brand allure.
There's certainly little wrong with this particular execution of Mercedes' premium crossover concept, and plenty to like about a car we'd confidently describe as the best yet to come from Daimler's new compact generation.
Mercedes GLA200 CDI
Price £25,795; 0-62mph 10.0sec; Top speed 127mph; Economy 62.8mpg; CO2 119g/km; Kerb weight 1505kg; Engine type 4cyls, 2143cc, turbodiesel; Power 134bhp at 3400rpm; Torque 221lb ft at 1400-3000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual
Read the full review at Autocar here:http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/mercedes-benz/gla/first-drives/mercedes-benz-gla200-cdi-first-drive-review
 
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