By Larry Lark, contributor
The new 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA35, the eighth model to join the global lineup, complements the German automaker’s current generation of compact cars. At the same time, it is the entry-level model in the brand’s wide range of SUVs.
“The new GLA embodies the perfect synergy between pure beauty and rugged off-road elements,” said Gorden Wagener, Design Director of the Daimler Group. “With him, we are taking the dynamic SUV forward into the future of modern luxury.”
With a powerful and efficient four-cylinder engine, the latest driver assistance systems with cooperative driving assistance, the MBUX infotainment system with intuitive operation, the GLA is the perfect SUV for families on the go.
The GLA35 features a signature off-road design that includes a straight front section, short front and rear overhangs, and protective coating all around. 4MATIC models are fitted as standard with the Off-Road Engineering Package, which includes an additional driving program, downhill assistance function and off-road animation on the multimedia screen.
The model can accommodate up to five adults without fear of crowds. If you need room for seven people, check out the GLB. The seats are comfortable and roomy, both front and rear, with rear cargo space large enough to meet the needs of a family. My tester provided more than enough room for a pair of golf bags and travel bags for my brother and I on an overnight golf trip to Leavenworth.
The AMG-upgraded 2.0-liter inline turbocharged engine quickly gets the job done for contenders in scheduled passing lanes. The engine is complemented by an AMG eight-speed automatic transmission and performance, 4MATIC, all-wheel drive. The combination generates 302 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque and 29 miles per gallon of fuel economy on the highway.
The GLA has a comfort suspension with steel springs and all versions come with a multi-link rear suspension as standard. The suspension with adaptive damping system (available as an option) allows the driver to choose the preferred damping characteristics. On request, the GLA is equipped with the permanently available 4MATIC all-wheel drive system with fully variable torque distribution.
All of this makes the GLA35 responsive, agile, safe and fun to drive.
My test model came with several options including a performance Nappa leather steering wheel ($ 500), 19-inch 10-spoke AMG matte black wheels ($ 300), a multimedia package ($ 1,295) that adds the navigation and MB services as well as speed limit assistance, AMG night set ($ 750) with front splitter, grille trim and louvers in the exterior air intakes, AMG side panel inserts and pipe trim black exhaust. And a premium package ($ 800) includes a keyless, auto-dimming rearview mirror and power flip side mirrors.
Standard creature comfort included a digital instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, ambient lighting (set to Husky Purple), dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, head-up display and a powerful, high-end audio system.
GLA offers the latest driver assistance systems, providing cooperative driver support and one of the highest active safety standards in the compact SUV segment.
The available driver assistance package includes: active distance assistance, active steering assistance, active speed limit assistance, evasive steering assistance, active steering assistance track, active blind spot assistance, active braking assistance and pre-safe plus which can detect a rear potential impact and react
to minimize the risk of injury to the rabbit.
Another noteworthy feature is the GLA35’s car wash function. With a single command, the exterior mirrors are folded down, the rain sensor information is suppressed so that the wipers remain off in the car wash and the air conditioning system switches to air recirculation mode. If the vehicle is equipped with a 360 ° camera, its front image will light up after a few seconds to facilitate entry into the car wash.
These settings are automatically deactivated when the driver exits the car wash and accelerates to a speed greater than approx. 12 mph.
There’s a lot more to write about, but a test drive gets you started on your mission of discovery. You will not be disappointed.
Base price: $ 48,555
Price as determined: $ 53,630
Destination charges are included in the base price. The vehicles are supplied by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealers.