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2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA places in the middle of our luxury subcompact SUV rankings. It earns points for its spacious front seats and nimble handling, but it has less rear-seat legroom and cargo space than many rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious, supportive front seats
  • Responsive handling
  • Good fuel economy
  • Quick, sporty AMG edition
  • Cramped rear seat
  • Limited cargo room
  • Base powertrain can be slow to respond
  • Ride quality will feel too firm for some

New for 2018

  • Refreshed exterior elements
  • 18-inch alloy wheels became standard
  • Rearview camera and high-definition infotainment display became standard




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.9
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Overview

Is the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the 2018 Mercedes GLA is a good luxury subcompact SUV. This sporty cross between a hatchback and a luxury coupe is high on comfort but low on utility.

The 2018 GLA has many strengths:

  • Spacious front seats with lots of power adjustments
  • Large infotainment display with crisp graphics
  • Agile and composed highway handling
  • Below-average projected maintenance costs
  • Good fuel economy for the class
  • Performance-tuned AMG model is lively and quick

It also has a few shortcomings:

  • Rear seats have limited legroom
  • Ride quality isn’t as cushy as some small SUVs
  • Less cargo room than most rivals
  • Base powertrain can feel sluggish
  • Above-average projected repair costs
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Mercedes-Benz GLA review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 26 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA?

Based on listings for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA on our site, the average price is $32,300. Prices range from $26,500 to $41,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Cost to Own?

The 2018 GLA’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $30,560, or $6,112 per year. That’s higher than most other luxury subcompact SUVs.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New GLA?

Changes for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA pertain mostly to exterior features, including paint color and wheel size. For most shoppers, it's best to bypass the new Mercedes-Benz GLA for a 2018 model, which is nearly identical to and likely costs less than the 2019 model.

Read about the new Mercedes-Benz GLA »

The 2018 GLA belongs to the model's first generation, which was launched for 2015. A generous update for 2016 added standard goodies like dual-zone climate control and adjustable thigh support for the front-seat cushions, and upgrades like ambient lighting became available. Mercedes added standard remote start and available Android Auto to the 2017 GLA. For 2018, the front and rear bumpers were redesigned, and 18-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, and a high-resolution infotainment display became standard. For the best value, we recommend finding the oldest model year that comes with the features and styling you prefer.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 GLA »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about GLA reliability »

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA.

See more information on Mercedes-Benz GLA safety recalls »

Which Used Mercedes-Benz GLA Trim Is Right for Me?

The GLA is available in two main trims: the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 and the performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG GLA 45. The horsepower ratings and performance specs are significantly different between the two, along with a handful of interior amenities and performance components. If you are after blistering acceleration, go for the AMG GLA 45. Otherwise, the GLA 250 is a fine choice, and it comes with an attractive set of standard features.

  • Mercedes-Benz GLA 250: The Mercedes GLA comes with a 208-horsepower engine and front-wheel drive. Standard amenities include synthetic leather seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, an infotainment system with an 8-inch display, Bluetooth, two USB ports, remote start, a rearview camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and automatic emergency braking.
  • Mercedes-Benz GLA 4Matic: The 4Matic is the all-wheel-drive version of the GLA. It has the same standard and available features as the base model and adds upgrades related to the all-wheel-drive system. These include downhill speed regulation, an off-road drive mode, and an off-road driving display.
  • Mercedes-AMG GLA 45: The high-performance Mercedes-AMG GLA comes with sporty upgrades such as a 375-horsepower engine, all-wheel drive, a high-performance braking system, a sport suspension, and a sport exhaust. You can get many of the same features and amenities that are available in the GLA 250. If you want to increase the AMG GLA's performance even more, seek out a model with the Dynamic Plus package. It comes with a racetrack driving mode, a higher top speed, limited-slip differential, and an adjustable sport suspension.

When it was new, the GLA was available with several packages and standalone features, including a panoramic moonroof, LED headlights and taillights, heated front seats, proximity keyless entry, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, and a Harman Kardon premium sound system.

 If you want leather seats, look for the Interior package, which also includes front sport seats. The Premium package adds blind spot monitoring, proximity keyless entry, heated front seats, and satellite radio. The Multimedia package comes with navigation, voice command activation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Several driver assistance and advanced safety technologies are also available.

See 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA trims and specs »

What Does Mercedes-Benz's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Mercedes-Benz offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Mercedes-Benz certified pre-owned vehicles come with the balance of the original four-year/50,000-mile new-car warranty, plus an additional one-year/unlimited-mileage warranty. This warranty can be renewed for a fee. If the new-car warranty has expired, you’ll receive the one-year warranty with unlimited mileage. Every Mercedes-Benz CPO vehicle must pass a 165-point inspection.

If you’re unsatisfied with your CPO vehicle, Mercedes’ Exchange Privilege program allows you to exchange it for another CPO vehicle of equal or lesser value within seven days or 500 miles. Additional benefits like towing and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Mercedes-Benz warranty page carefully.

Among luxury car manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz’s CPO program is about average. It’s better than BMW’s but not as robust as Jaguar’s or Lexus’, according to our analysis.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the GLA?

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA, which is common for luxury vehicles.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • driver drowsiness monitor
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • lane keep assist
  • adaptive cruise control
  • 360-degree parking camera
  • active parking (Parking Pilot)

See GLA safety scores »

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA or 2018 BMW X1?

The 2018 BMW X1 ranks as one of the best all-around luxury subcompact SUVs. Its turbocharged engine is energetic, and its handling is responsive yet comfortable. Passengers have ample space, even in the back seat. The X1 has more cargo space than the GLA, boasting 27.1 cubic feet versus the Mercedes' 17.2 cubic feet. Most shoppers will be happier with the X1.

Which Is Better: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA or 2018 Infiniti QX30?

The 2018 Infiniti QX30 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA are closely related. They were built on the same platform and use the same base powertrain, but they do have some differences. You can get better smartphone integration through Mercedes' available Apple CarPlay, and the GLA has a higher predicted reliability rating than the QX30. The Infiniti posts the superior value, however, with average list prices that are around $6,400 lower than the Mercedes. Less expensive projected ownership costs could save you about $320 a year too. If you're looking for a luxurious vehicle at an entry-level price, the QX30 is a good choice.

Compare the GLA, X1, and QX30 »

2018 GLA Performance

How Does the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Drive?

The GLA 250's performance is laid-back. Those looking for a quick start off the line or for responsive shifts may find the base engine and transmission too leisurely. The sporty AMG GLA 45 is notably stronger, trimming the zero-to-60 time from 7.2 to 4.3 seconds.

Handling is responsive and composed in both models. The firm suspension results in good stability and little body roll, though the ride can be stiff.

  • Base engine: 208-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 375-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Does the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Get Good Gas Mileage?

The base GLA engine has one of the highest fuel economy ratings in the luxury subcompact SUV class. There is almost no difference in annual fuel costs between the front-wheel-drive GLA 250 and the all-wheel-drive GLA 250 4Matic.

  • GLA 250, FWD: 24/33 mpg city/highway
  • GLA 45, AWD: 22/28 mpg

Read more about GLA performance »

2018 GLA Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 GLA Seat?

The 2018 GLA seats five people in two rows. The best seats are in front, where occupants are treated to loads of legroom and ample power adjustments. Even the length of the front-seat cushions is adjustable. The back seat is tight, with little room to stretch out.

Standard seating features:

  • synthetic leather upholstery
  • power-adjustable front seats

Available seating features:

  • genuine leather upholstery
  • heated front seats
  • front sport seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA?

The 2018 GLA has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The lower anchors are set in plastic cutouts instead of buried in the cushions, making them easy to locate.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Features

The GLA's infotainment system looks sharp and is easy to use. It has a high-resolution display, and though it isn't a touch screen, navigating it is reasonably effortless using the adjacent buttons and the centrally located knob.

  • Standard infotainment features: an infotainment system with an 8-inch display, HD Radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and remote start
  • Available infotainment features: a Harman Kardon premium sound system, satellite radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, and voice command activation
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control and push-button start
  • Other available features: a panoramic moonroof, ambient cabin lighting, and proximity keyless entry

See 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA specs »

Read more about GLA interior »

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Dimensions

Mercedes-Benz GLA Cargo Space

The GLA has 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 43.6 cubic feet if you lay down the 60/40-split-folding rear seats. That's on the low side for a luxury subcompact SUV, and the GLA's high cargo floor makes it difficult to load heavy items. A power liftgate is standard, and a hands-free liftgate is available.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Length and Weight
  • Length: 14 feet, 6 inches to 14 feet, 7 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,296 to 3,461 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Built?

Mercedes-Benz built the 2018 GLA in Germany.


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