[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ercedes-Benz finally has produced a compact SUV and, as you would expect, it hits the mark with an excellent progressive design, exceptional handling and off-road capability, and it is perfect for day-to-day around-town driving.
The new GLA is a long-awaited entry in the fast-growing compact SUV segment and it rounds off the company’s SUV portfolio, joining four others — GLK, ML, GL and G. It has the high-quality appointments and a lot of attention to detail and a versatile interior that buyers expect in a Mercedes- Benz product, and mark it as a premium compact SUV. It is the first Mercedes-Benz SUV available with the new-generation all wheel drive system 4MATIC, with fully variable torque distribution.
The GLA has a flexible and variable interior.
The rear-seat backrests fold down completely and the spacious luggage compartment is well laid out and can be loaded without difficulty with the low loading sill and the wide automatically opening tailgate.
It has a rigid body structure that gives a reliable basis for the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 208 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. It is turbocharged, has direct injection and comes with ECO start/stop function as standard. It clocks 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 130 mph. The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
As for style and design, the GLA is an expression of modern luxury, with clear contours and smooth surfaces that blend with high-tech sophistication.
It has a low cabin and a raised body with large wheel arches, sharp lines that provide definition and subtle sculptured body contours. The upright front end is muscular and the twin-louver grille accentuates width. The side view conveys power and the beltline gradually rises from the rear door to the Cpillar. Chrome roof rails complete the profile and 18-inch wheels are standard, with 19- inch wheels available.
The large roof spoiler is shares the structure of the rear roof trim and accommodates the third brake light.
On the inside
The exterior style continues with a high-quality look and combinations of high-grade materials. All trim surfaces are galvanized resulting in a metallic finish. The dashboard consists of an upper and lower section, allowing surface structures that are different in look and feel. The three-dimensional trim section of aluminum or wood lends a modern touch to the interior. Abeautiful matte satin finish of the wood trim is an option.
Five round air vents are integrated into the dashboard and the direction of the airflow can be varied by butterfly-shaped inserts. A three-spoke steering wheel with 12 function keys and a galvanized chrome clasp is standard equipment.
The MSRP on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 is $33,300.
[author image=”http://www.samaonline.org/Ron.jpg” ]Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.[/author]