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I have just taken delivery of a 2015 ex-dealer-demo GLA 220 4Matic AMG in grey with the black/red AMG exclusive interior. This came after several months of reading tests but, in the end, I ignored the tests and went with my intuition. I wanted a crossover vehicle and considered the Evoque, Macan, BMW Active Tourer and the GLA (which was a latecomer to the list). The Porsche was too long for my drive (as well as being very expensive) so I narrowed the choice to the other three cars which are all more or less the same length.
I have to say I enjoyed driving the Evoque and decided to go for a used Dynamic Lux model, which had all the toys I like. However, before pressing the order button I thought I'd get an insurance quote. I have an unblemished record, no claims and protected NCB, so I wasn't expecting any shocks. But I got one. The website computer said the premium would be £2,400. When I called they checked all the details and put it up to £2,600. I then checked my own broker who came up with £1,200 from Allianz, which was the same company being used by Land Rover Insurance. I called them again, pointing out these facts, so they ran me through the computer for a third time andthis time it came up as £2,800. They said the Evoque "is highly targeted by thieves, especially in west London" where I live. All this unnerved me to the extent that I decided not to go with Range Rover. What on earth would be premium be next year? In contrast, my brokers have insured the GLA for £700, which I think is reasonable (especially at 25% of Land Rover Insurance's figures).
This left the BMW and the GLA. If I relied on the road tests I would gather that the BMW's two-litre diesel engine is sweeter than the Mercedes plant; and that the 8-speed gearbox on the X-Drive versions is also superior. The tick boxes said BMW but, as usual, they tell only half the story. Fortunately, as it turned out, high-spec used Active Tourers are as rare as rocking horse manure, unlike the GLA which is plentiful.
So I had a test drive in a GLA 220 4WD at my local dealer. I disagree with the testers who say that the engine is unrefined. It feels very good to me, for a diesel. And I had no problems with the box. I also like the ride, the reasonably sporty handling. I didn't find the 19-in AMG wheels caused any problems. In fact, as I have subsequently discovered, the ride, though firm, is perfectly compliant and good on rougher roads and speed bumps. I have previously test driven two Active Tourers and, although I thought them both comfortable, smooth and wholly acceptable. I am glad now I chose the Mercedes.
All this preamble serves to illustrate my decision process, which has been long and convoluted. But I am absolutely delighted with the GLA. It has all the essential toys I like, the seats are comfortable (none of the "Mercedes right leg" I have experienced of the years with several models) and it looks brilliant. As far as I am concerned, it is refined and very enjoyable to drive.
 

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Welcome to the fold - most of us on this forum, I think I'm right in saying, are very happy with our GLAs, although a few people have had some strange electronics issues. I'm over the moon with my GLA250, which is a year old now :)
 

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This is not a sales pitch but have you tried insurance via Mercedes (Aviva) that's who I use and tho I'm considered a wrinkly and have a good claim record the misses and me for just over £300. Cheaper than my E-Class.
 
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