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The GLA is very much a beefed-up hatch instead of a proper SUV. Indeed, on some of the lower suspension settings available (and there are several) you could mistake it for a modified A-Class. Still, it is available with Mercedes' latest 4MATIC four-wheel-drive system, including an off-road mode that incorporates hill descent control.
Mercedes is pitching the GLA above the A-Class, so that car's more modest engines aren't on offer here for now. Instead, the line-up starts (at £25,850) with the 134bhp, front-wheel-drive GLA200 CDI.

The four-wheel-drive models tested here are badged 4Matic, and they get more powerful engines: the 167bhp GLA220 CDI (from £30,030), and the £29,910 GLA250 turbocharged petrol, with 208bhp.
There's also the outlandish GLA45 AMG, which has a 355bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the dual-clutch gearbox and four-wheel drive. It's not on sale yet, but it's likely to cost around £44,000.
What's the 2014 Mercedes GLA like to drive?
Mercedes has said all along that the regular GLA would focus more on comfort than the fairly stiff A-Class, and the good news is that the engineers have followed the brief. We tried both a GLA250 on sports suspension and a GLA220 CDI on the standard 'comfort' set-up, and both felt more sophisticated than any A-Class, even on relatively smooth Spanish roads.
You don't seem to pay any great penalty for this comfort, either, because the GLA doesn't lean particularly badly in corners compared with many other SUVs. The steering, meanwhile, is direct enough around the straight ahead, and nicely weighted.
What's the 2014 Mercedes GLA like inside?

The front cabin of the GLA will look familiar to you if you've spent any time in the A-Class or CLA; in fact, it's a mixture of the hatchback's design with the slightly more upmarket finish of the baby saloon.
The fascia itself is dominated by the centrally mounted infotainment screen (some may feel that it looks 'tacked on', although its image quality is particularly crisp) and a large expanse of wood material.
Thankfully UK models won't get the dull brown wood finish of our test vehicle pictured here; we'll be offered piano black, 'black wood' or aluminium instead. The other materials are hard to fault, with solid-feeling switches and plenty of dense, soft-touch plastics.
We can see why the GLA will have real appeal when it arrives in showrooms in late spring. It's nicely finished, roomy enough for two adults and two children with a fair amount of clutter, and comfortable enough, too.
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5 Posts
Yet another review - gets 4 stars.
And yet another one - but only gets 3.5 stars !

Edited by: Dave Irvine
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