The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is the company’s smallest and most affordable crossover SUV. And its optional 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is a good choice for those who live wherever winter has a firm grasp. However, this is the final year of the first generation, so anyone not inclined to attempt a steal of a deal right now might want to wait until later in 2020 for a 2021 GLA.
Not that the current GLA-Class feels particularly outdated. It has a strong yet fuel-efficient turbocharged engine. It provides flexibility with its folding rear seats, then adds a touch of class with a standard powered lift gate. And we’ve found the GLA to be a pleasant package overall.
What’s New for 2020?
The sporty AMG GLA 45 variant has been discontinued. See the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class models for sale
What We Like
- Enjoyable drive
- Decent fuel economy
- Easy to park
- Upscale ambience
What We Don’t
- Limited cargo capacity
- Some subpar cabin materials
- Firm ride
- Relatively noisy for a Mercedes-Benz
$35,245 to $37,245
The GLA 250 employs a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This goes to the front wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (it works like an automatic). The engine also has a stop-start function to save fuel while idling.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in combined driving.
The GLA 250 4Matic has the same engine and transmission, but adds AWD. Fuel consumption is still respectable at 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class comes in GLA 250 and GLA 250 4Matic versions.
The GLA 250 ($35,245) comes standard with 18-in alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, selectable driving modes, powered lift gate, aluminum roof rails, leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium vinyl upholstery, 14-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, Adaptive Brake (with hill start assist and automatic brake drying), Comand infotainment system with an 8-in display, Bluetooth (phone and audio), 8-speaker audio system with HD radio and a USB port.
The GLA 250 4Matic ($37,245) is equipped much like the GLA 250 but adds AWD along with off-road drive mode, off-road display and downhill speed regulation.
The optional Convenience package comes with a garage door opener, self-dimming mirrors and a compass. A Premium package brings keyless entry/ignition, blind spot monitoring, heated front seats and satellite radio. A Multimedia package includes navigation, voice control and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. The Parking Assistance package has a self-parking feature, 360-degree camera system, power-folding side mirrors and self-dimming rearview and driver’s-side mirrors.
Other extras include 19-in wheels, upgraded front brakes, LED headlights and taillights, panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon Logic7 12-speaker audio system, multi-colored ambient cabin lighting, hands-free lift gate operation and leather upholstery.
Maximum cargo capacity is 41.8 cu ft. with the rear seats folded. Not impressive for the class.
All GLA-Class models come with anti-lock disc brakes, stability control and eight airbags (front, front side, front knee and full-length side curtain). Rear side airbags are optional. Forward-collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking is standard.
Although the GLA-Class hasn’t been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it has performed exceptionally well in European tests.
Behind the Wheel
In general, the GLA has a premium air, but closer inspection reveals some uncharacteristically hard plastics on the dashboard, door panels and center console. Everything seems to be put together tightly, though.
Cheaper materials make sense considering the GLA’s comparatively low price. This is an opportunity to get into a Mercedes-Benz crossover for around the same cost as a Volkswagen, so a lot of shoppers will probably be willing to forgive a few below-par surfaces. They might also be able to live with the limited interior space.
The front seats offer pleasantly firm support and ample adjustability, but rear legroom depends on who is sitting in front. If the driver has long legs, an adult passenger seated behind them is going to be cramped. With shorter folks up front, the back seat is fine for adults.
The driving experience is precise and eager. The base 208-hp engine has plenty of punch, while the quick steering and firm suspension provide athletic handling in tight corners.
On the flip side, the suspension isn’t particularly forgiving on rough roads. Anyone expecting a typical Mercedes-Benz ride might be disappointed. Noise levels at speed are also higher than the luxury-class norm.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Audi Q3 — Completely new for 2020. Larger and more refined than its predecessor. AWD is also standard.
2020 BMW X1 — Updated for 2020. Involving and relatively spacious.
2020 Jaguar E-Pace — Fresher, roomier and with a gutsier engine than the GLA. More expensive, though.
2020 Volvo XC40 — Arguably good looking, full of luxury touches and safety equipment.
Used BMW X3 — More space and a highlight of its class. Check out a certified pre-owned example with a reassuring warranty.
At this point, it might be wise to wait for the new generation of the GLA-Class or take a serious look at the competition. If the decision is still to buy a 2020 GLA-Class, try and make sure there’s enough room in the budget for as many safety features as possible. Find a Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class for sale