2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 – Test Drive Review

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The Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 is a compact crossover and an SUV equivalent to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The GLA is the new nomenclature revised according to the company’s norms. However, the Mercedes SUVs fall under the GL base name followed by the placement of the vehicle. Hence, GLA stands for: G – Gelandewagen which is a German word for offroad vehicle, L – stands for the linkage between G & A while the letter A – stands for A-Class (as the GLA 200 is an SUV equivalent to the A-Class, as said before). BMW X1, Audi Q3 were on offer in this compact SUV segment, Mercedes later unveiled the GLA 200 at the Frankfurt Auto Show 2013 and then launched it in India and is now producing the GLA 200 Sport locally at its Chakan plant in Pune.  The GLA 200 caught a lot of attention before its launch and later on many fell for it, especially for its bold and stylish looks. The car shares the same platform as the A-Class and has A-class inspired looks, but the GLA 200 just looks wow and looks like nothing else that comes out from the Merc’s stable.

Price of 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 – Rs. 31.90 Lakhs (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)

Exterior Design: The GLA 200 is one of its kinds. It shares its design with the Merc’s hot hatch, the A-Class and so the GLA looks more like a beefed up version of the A-Class. Keeping the A-Class aside, you will notice that there are a few differences on the GLA 200, like the headlamps on the GLA 200 are bi-xenon with integrated LED DRLs and LED turn indicators. It also gets large grille up front and the aluminum scuff plates on the front and rear bumpers just look so neat and properly placed. The front gets a sharp front end with shapely curvy bonnet. The car isn’t very much tall but it’s as tall as any hatchback but on its sides, the wheel arches remains as black plastic with huge 18-inch alloys fitted in them making the car look sportier. On the rear, it looks like a raised A-class hatchback. The taillights look gorgeous and operate well giving a clear vision. The dual exhausts too add up to the character of an SUV. On the top, the aluminum roof rails look classy and give the car a muscular stance. Overall, the clear contours and smooth surfaces, swoopy curves on the side and the raised rear give the GLA 200 a superstar like quality and make it more striking in flesh and the car looks more youthful.

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Interior Design: As you step inside the car, you will notice A-Class like interiors but everything in the GLA 200 is raised up. The accommodation is nice whether it be the driver’s seat or any other passenger’s seat. There is also ample of legroom and headroom. The seats feel cozy and the passengers have joyous ride while on the move. Mercedes has maintained its norms by using the best of the best materials for the interiors of the car. There are also many storage spaces in the car. There is a sneaky phone storage and a phone charger beneath the front seat’s hand rest. The car gets a visual infotainment system placed in the center which stands above the dashboard with many audio visual option buttons running below it in the center panel. The handbrake is near the headlight switch, a small handle which when you push it, the handbrake is applied and when you pull it, the handbrake is released. The circular AC vents are smoothly designed and look classic and also work well. The steering wheel is placed very well and doesn’t come between you and your road vision. The seating is higher and the curves on the bonnets give an SUV like driving feel and the windscreen offers a better surrounding view. The car comes equipped with many features as standard which is quite an interesting thing. The panoramic sunroof is just wow and the view it gives you is just mesmerizing. There is satellite navigation and Harmon Kardon sound system which plays very well. There are 6 airbags which come as standard, tyre pressure sensors, and also the ambient lighting. GLA 200 has its spare wheel equipped in its boot, so you only get 421 liters of luggage compartment in the boot but with a lot of storage places inside, this Merc actually makes it a handier family car and the interiors make it more delightful to be inside.

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Engine & Performance: The Mercedes GLA 200 gets 1.9L 1991cc, inline 4-cylinder petrol drivetrain which produces 183 BHP @ 5500 rpm and 300 Nm @ 1200-1400 rpm of torque. The engine is mated to a 7 speed dual clutch automatic transmission. The engine also comes equipped with auto start/stop feature which helps the GLA return a better fuel efficiency on the move. We got a mileage of 9-10 km/l in real conditions and the car does a top speed of 225 km/h while the claimed fuel efficiency by the company is 13.7 km/l. the power figures helps the GLA 200 to do a 0-100 km/h sprint in 7.6 seconds which is very impressive for a 1.9L petrol engine. The dual clutch makes automatic gear shifts properly, not that quick though but they happen with an ease. The car also gets a 7 speed manual transmission along with the auto transmission. For manual gear shifting you get the paddle shifters and the shifts happen nicely. We loved driving this urban SUV in manual mode. The GLA has a strong mid-range power thus cruising on highways, open roads and daily driving becomes an easy task. Though it’s a front-wheel drive car, it still impressed us on every kind of road we drove it, whether it was a smooth tarmac, a wet road or a muddy terrain. The tarmac-only large tyres didn’t fail or get stuck on the slushy road and kept on digging its way out. The 1.9L petrol engine is just amazing on this vehicle.

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Driving Dynamics: The GLA 200 looks like a high driving hatch (A-Class), so it even drove like one and it did not disappoint us at all in this case. In the ECO mode, throttle response was soft while in the SPORT mode everything is forgotten as soon as the pedal is touched to the floor. Everything is well assorted. The large wheels with soft suspensions just soak up bumps and give you a comfortable ride. Even with such soft suspensions and an impressive ground clearance of 183 mm it’s also a very capable off roader. The steering is precise and helps the car to steer well. Steering is light which makes an easy task to maneuver the car. It gets a rigid body so you won’t feel lack of confidence at high speed corners. The driving dynamics of this SUV have been very impressive and good. The power figures offer explicit driving performance and so driving just becomes pleasurable in every kind of season and on any kind of road you drive it.

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Safety and After Sales Service: At first! The Mercedes-Benz GLA scores 5 ANCAP stars in the crash test. It gets 6 Airbags as standard, flashing brake lights during emergency braking, hill start assist, attention assist, bi-xenon headlamps for better vision at night, ESP, low tyre pressure warning, acceleration skid control, brake assist, lamp failure indicator and ESP. These safety features keeps the Mercedes’s reputation up. On the servicing front, you don’t need to worry much as there is a wide network of Mercedes service centers across the country.

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Verdict/Conclusion: This GLA 200 with a three pointed star on the front, looks pretty, is pretty, drives well, and has a lot of features. It is liked by many petrol-heads and wins everyone’s heart easily too. The car looks muscular with an attitude of ready to conquer anything anytime. The performance is adequate, handling is nice, fuel efficiency is cool, and practicality is good too with a lot of comfort. This car is perfect for your daily use and weekend gateaways with your family and friends to some hill stations or else. This Merc is a perfect buy for those who want a premium SUV with bang on up-to date features and offroading capabilities.

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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 Technical Data:
* Engine: 1.9L (1991cc), Inline 4
* Power: 183 BHP at 5500 rpm
* Torque: 300 Nm at 1200-1400 rpm
* Transmission: 7G-DCT 7 Speed Dual Clutch Transmission
* 0-100 km/hr: 7.6 Seconds
* Top Speed: 225 km/h
* Fuel Consumption:  9-10 km/l, 13.7 km/l (ARAI Certified)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Tyres: 235/50 R18
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Disc (Rear)
* Safety: 6 Airbags as standard, flashing brake lights during emergency braking, hill start assist, attention assist, bi-xenon headlamps, ESP, low tyre pressure warning, acceleration skid control, brake assist, lamp failure indicator and ESP.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 Dimensions Data:
* Overall length: 4417 mm
* Overall width: 1804 mm
* Overall height: 1494 mm
* Wheelbase: 2699 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1525 kgs
* Ground Clearance: 183 mm
* Turning Circle: 11.84 meters

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