2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review

GLA-Class

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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Overview

Aiming for the small crossover market, Mercedes-Benz introduces the GLA-Class for the 2015 model year. Smaller, less endowed with standard goodies, and a bit less expensive than more exotic offerings from other luxury manufacturers, the 5-passenger 2015 GLA-Class compact luxury crossover nevertheless has the prestige, the moves, and the pep that made the German automaker famous.

Available in a pair of all-wheel-drive (AWD) trims—the GLA250 4Matic and its up-powered and track-tested GLA45 AMG sibling—this pint-size ute is slated to have a front-wheel-drive-only (FWD) version (the GLA250) join the family in the spring of 2015. Now, although the AWD system isn’t designed for more extreme off-road adventures, standard skid plates and sill guards (not to mention descent control) come standard aboard each AWD trim to allow some medium-duty bushwhacking.

More than a few reviewers complain that with its emphasis on downsizing, this mini-ute offers little rear-seat comfort for larger adults. Cargo space measures a somewhat chintzy 43.6 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded.

Despite their perceived lack of practicality, both GLA250 iterations boast a peppy 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder (I4) powerplant that works with the standard 7-speed auto-manual transmission to pound out 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Both iterations, by the way, sport steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Additionally, look for the force-fed I4 to feature auto stop/start technology in helping to keep EPA-estimated mileage at 24 mpg city/32 highway in the AWD-equipped (4Matic) trim. Fuel economy figures for the FWD-only GLA250 are as yet unavailable. Oh, and this heady 4-cylinder is also Flex Fuel-capable (FFV).

The flagship GLA45 AMG, a product of M-B’s racing division, tweaks the 2.0-liter turbo I4 to put out 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, again under the management of the upgraded 7-speed auto-manual. With this added power comes a drop in mileage estimates to 23/29. However, a 3-mode stability-control-intervention system is also delivered with this potent performer, while a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds will help any commuter get the work day started hot.

On the outside, look for both versions of the debuting GLA250 to boast—besides a commanding ride and seat height—standard 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, and a power liftgate. Inside, expect standard leatherette upholstery, full power accessories, power-adjustable front seats with memory for driver's settings, cruise control, and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Manual air conditioning is also standard, as is M-B’s touted mbrace II telematics technology with a 5.8-inch display and COMAND interface.

Further techno-bling includes Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, along with a single-CD player with auxiliary audio input.

The 2015 GLA45 AMG, meanwhile, adds standard 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded steering response and braking, and some sporty exterior styling enhancements.

Packaged options include an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone auto climate control, heated seats, a premium audio upgrade with satellite radio and 10GB of music storage. Mercedes also offers leather upholstery, GPS navigation, a power sunroof, a rear-view camera, and front sport seats. Standalone options, meanwhile, include front and rear parking sensors with the Auto Parking Assist feature and genuine wood cabin accents.

Options slated only for the sport-oriented GLA45 AMG include upgraded leather, a performance exhaust system, 20-inch upgraded wheels and distinctive styling add-ons.

Standard safety equipment for the just-introduced 2015 GLA-Class includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, and thorax and pelvic airbags. Mercedes also includes front fog/driving lights, mbrace II emergency telematics, Collision Prevention Assistance with pre-collision braking, and Attention Assist driver alertness monitoring. Optional safety stuff includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and blind-spot monitoring.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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