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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250: First Drive Review

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review.


The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 is an all-new model and the most compact crossover to wear the 3-pointed star. It’s based on the same platform as the CLA sedan, which is the cheapest new Mercedes-Benz on the market. This one is priced at a similarly competitive level, considering that it’s a premium brand. It also means that buyers can select front-wheel drive or opt for all-wheel drive with the 4MATIC version. All-season capability is just one of many attributes. All of this illustrates the main appeal of the GLA250: It works so well as a multifaceted whole. See the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class models for sale near you

The GLA Multiverse

One key facet of the GLA250 is the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. This 4-cylinder motor makes 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque while returning 24 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg combined in 4MATIC models. We’re coming to expect that kind of efficiency these days, but it still merits recognition.

This unit has to provide momentum to a vehicle that weighs 3,384 pounds in all-wheel-drive form, a tad heavier than a typical midsize sedan. Sprinting from a standstill to 60 miles per hour happens in a modest 7.1 seconds — not crazy-fast, but the GLA250 is quick enough to overtake and reach freeway speeds without stressing its occupants. The transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch system that changes gears in a tiny fraction of a second with barely perceptible action.

The driver enjoys an elevated driving position within a quiet and well-designed cabin. Drivers will probably enjoy the steering feel, as well. Some cars from Mercedes-Benz haven’t always been that engaging, which is not to say that the GLA250 is an enthusiast’s dream machine, but there’s a substantial and precise feel that doesn’t require the driver to make continual little steering corrections.

The suspension continues this theme of unflappability. Rough road surfaces won’t bother the GLA250. Let’s compare it with a midsize sedan again, not because it’s a similar vehicle but because crossovers are beginning to outsell sedans. Only a few years ago, we would have expected vehicles with higher centers of gravity to show some body roll as they go through corners, but technology has progressed to the point where the GLA250 can handle a curve in a sporty-sedanlike way. It stays pretty much flat and still while providing a ride that doesn’t shake or rattle.

For a compact vehicle, rear passenger space is relatively generous, offering room for a couple of average-sized adults. Cargo space is 11.8 cu ft. with the rear seats up, or they can fold down flat to make 42 cu ft. For comparison, cargo volume in a 2015 BMW X1 is 14.8 cu ft. with rear seats up and 47.7 cu ft. with the seats folded, so the GLA250 isn’t the most practical in its class, but there has to be some price to pay for those sleek lines.

Mind Over Money

Speaking of price, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 starts at $32,225 including destination. The roster of standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a power lift gate, a 5.8-in center screen, chrome roof rails and power adjustable front seats with memory.

Among the standard safety features are eight airbags, driver-attention assist and Collision Prevention Assist Plus with autonomous braking. This latter item is a development of the company’s radar-based collision-prevention system that warns a driver of impending accidents. It also pre-tightens the seat belts. What makes it “plus” is that now the vehicle can brake itself within a range of speeds.

It’s far too easy to spend serious money on options, especially when some prime features are packaged together. For example, a blind spot monitoring system, lane-keeping assist and intelligent cruise control make up one $2,500 bundle. Some options are available individually, though, such as heated front seats and the blind spot monitoring system. There’s one frivolous extra: an illuminated Mercedes-Benz grille badge. It’s $550, but it does look good. Find a Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class for sale


Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More about Colin Ryan

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