$22,134 - $34,500

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class was new.


Performance: 7.9

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA's base engine provides satisfying acceleration, and the more powerful engine in the AMG GLA45 makes driving the GLA even more fun. However, the sluggish transmission can be a pain when driving around town. Despite its somewhat firm ride, the GLA's athletic handling around turns makes it an enjoyable SUV to drive.

  • "As a daily driver, the GLA will handle everything from runs to school, the Super Target, and pickups of arriving out-of-towners followed by the inevitable and highly anticipated return of same, back to the airport. But the GLA is more than just an around-town go-getter." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "If you're the type to fight for the driver's seat, the standard-issue Mercedes GLA250 has a lot to like, while the GLA45 AMG offers even more to love." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "On southern Spain's hilly and entertaining driving roads, the GLA250 4Matic would avail itself beyond our natural expectations for a small crossover, in much the same way that both the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 continue to impress us." -- Autoblog (2015)

Acceleration and Power

Powering the 2017 GLA250 and GLA250 4MATIC is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 208 horsepower. The AMG GLA45 has a 375-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard in the GLA250 and GLA250 4MATIC. A faster shifting seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is paired with the AMG GLA45. The GLA250 gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those are great estimates for the class, though most luxury subcompact SUV’s estimates aren’t much lower. Additionally, the GLA comes standard with an engine start-stop feature that conserves fuel when the car isn't in motion.

The base GLA250 has plenty of power and brisk acceleration. However, the AMG GLA45’s potent engine power and heartier sound make it a blast to drive. The base GLA's transmission, however, receives some criticism for its slow responses, particularly during low-speed driving.

  • The transmission is also frustrating - it is slow to engage a gear from a standstill and stutters with indecision in stop-and-go traffic. That's a shame because the GLA250's turbocharged four-cylinder actually possesses solid low- and midrange grunt. This gives it a satisfying and user-friendly power delivery." -- Edmunds
  • "The 355-horsepower GLA45 AMG is livelier, louder, and more fun to launch from a standstill, though its behavior is more measured (and less explosive) than those of other, pricier AMG models. Though its estimated 4.8 second 0-to-60-mph time is slower than its CLA45 sedan counterpart, this AMG nonetheless offers an entertaining and rewarding experience behind the wheel." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "208 horsepower may not seem like a lot in this day and age, but it provides plenty of grunt on local roads and on the interstate." -- AutoWeek (2015)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 GLA's handling is more comparable to a sporty compact car than a family SUV. It feels agile and secure through turns, and its steering is light and precise. However, the GLA's athleticism results in a firmer ride quality, particularly on models with larger available wheels.

Front-wheel drive is standard in the GLA250. The GLA250 4MATIC and AMG GLA45 come standard with all-wheel drive and have optional off-road packages available.

  • The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic's on-road character more closely resembles that of a conventional hatchback than a typical go-anywhere SUV. Around turns, the GLA250 will impress you with its agility and secure handling. The GLA's relatively tight turning circle of 36 feet proves well-suited to the cut and thrust of urban driving as well. Unfortunately, the GLA suffers from an overly firm and occasionally harsh ride quality, especially when you opt for bigger wheel sizes." -- Edmunds
  • "Thanks to a low center of gravity, handling feels nimble and the GLA tracks nicely through corners, with a predictable amount of understeer as the adhesion limits are approached." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The GLA250 we drove steered and handled very much like its sedan counterpart, which is a good thing. The steering is light yet precise, and the vehicle handles more like a sporty compact than a small crossover." -- Automobile Magazine (2015)

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