This second generation Mercedes-Benz GLA is as classy as you'd expect a premium family SUV to be from the German carmaker. It's essentially a crossover'd version of the impressive A-Class hatchback, which means there's plenty to like beyond just the premium badge. Motability drivers who value a fashionable interior, high tech connectivity and driving efficiency will love it, but it's not quite as practical or as fun to drive as other premium crossovers currently available to lease through the Motability Scheme.
Mercedes-Benz vehicles are not currently available to order through the Motability Scheme (section updated October 2023).
Mercedes-Benz has one of the widest ranges of SUVs available and the line-up starts with this GLA model, this being the second generation version of this design and the only Mercedes-Benz crossover available through the Motability Scheme. It competes in the premium part of the SUV 'C' sector and, like all models in this segment, is based on family hatchback underpinnings, in this case those of the fourth-generation version of the Mercedes A-Class.
The original MK1 Mercedes GLA, launched back in 2014, won't go down as one of the more remarkable models in the Stuttgart brand's history but it sold well and was popular with Motability customers, shifting nearly a million units over a six year production run which ended with the introduction of this second generation version. This car is the eighth Mercedes model to be spun off the brand's current compact car 'MFA2' platform.
In its mainstream guises, the GLA is available with a choice of two petrol and three diesel engines. The GLA 200 uses a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol powerplant with an output of 163hp mated to 7G-DCT seven-speed automatic transmission. All other engines use the brand's 8G-DCT eight-speed auto gearbox. The diesels use the company's usual 2.0-litre unit, which develops either 150hp in the GLA 200d or 190hp in the GLA 220d.
So, the oily bits are generally pretty familiar; as is most of the other engineering on offer here. The suspension features McPherson struts up front and either a torsion beam or multi-link arrangement at the rear, plus variable damping control is optional. Cornering traction should be aided by a track width increase of 46mm.
There's a bit more of a 'want one' factor with this second generation GLA thanks in part to the fact that its proportions and stance are more clearly defined than its predecessor. The car measures in at 4,410mm long, 2,020mm wide and 1,611mm high, making it 14mm shorter and 2mm narrower, but 104mm higher than the previous model. Larger wheel arches accommodate rims ranging from 17 to 20-inches.
Inside, as expected, this 'H247'-series GLA switches to the same cabin layout as has featured in all other recent compact Mercedes models, featuring a dashboard with a free-standing digital display panel. With standard models, this gives you two 7 inch screens - one in front of the driver for the instruments and a centre-dash one for the infotainment functions. Pay extra and you can have both these displays uprated to 10.3-inches in size. The monitors are operated via Mercedes' MBUX operating system, which supports both touchpad and voice control. A colour head-up display can also be ordered. To give more of a crossover feel, the front seats are positioned 140mm higher than in the A-Class and there's 22mm more head room up front than in the original GLA.
That previous car was a little cramped in the back: this one's better, thanks to a 30mm longer wheelbase, though a little disappointingly, rear head room has been reduced by 6mm. The addition of an optional sliding rear bench is useful - it can be slid fore and aft by up to 140mm, giving up to 116mm more legroom than before. Plus, you can vary the angle of the backrest - which helps with boot space too. That's one reason why the quoted cargo capacity figure has risen by 14-litres to 435-litres.
Trim levels start with either base 'Sport' or 'Sport Executive', then it's the 'AMG Line' variants. If you were buying this car instead of leasing it through the Motability Scheme you'd be looking at around £33,000 for the entry-level GLA 'Sport' petrol model.
Even the entry-level 'Sport' trim gets you quite a lot of kit, including as standard 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, LED headlights and aluminium roof rails. Inside in a 'Sport' variant, there's heated front seats and Thermatronic two-zone air conditioning. Infotainment's taken care of by the 7-inch screens that feature the MBUX multimedia system with its 'Mercedes me' connectivity and the 'Hey Mercedes' voice-activated virtual assistant. 'AMG Line' trims add features like bigger wheels and an AMG body styling kit.
Let's get to the figures all of which are WLTP for fuel and NEDC for emissions. The GLA 200 emits 129-137g/km of CO2 - depending on specification - and can deliver up to 43.5mpg. The diesel-powered GLA 200d can deliver up to 53.3mpg and emits 121-126g/km (or 51.4mpg and 130-138g/km for the GLA 200d 4MATIC). The GLA 220d can achieve up to 51.4mpg and emits 133-140g/km.
The 'Mercedes me' connect services package comes with a self-diagnostic feature, enabling it to monitor wear and tear items and alert your local dealer to let you know if something needs seeing to.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA competes in a very different Motability market today to the one it was launched in back in 2014 and this second generation model will offer stiffer opposition to key rivals like the Audi Q2, the BMW X1 and the Volvo XC40. That's primarily because it has improved in the two main areas the old model fell a little short. That car looked a little unremarkable and it was a little cramped in the back. Both those issues have been thoroughly addressed here.
And in summary? Well every compact SUV in this class claims to have something of an adventurous streak. This GLA does too, but with a bit of extra polish. We can see why many Motability customers will like it.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Mercedes-Benz GLA through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local Mercedes-Benz dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.