Mercedes-Benz GLA: Compact, utilitarian luxe


P3.29-M crossover is entry point into three-pointed star’s SUV portfolio

SUVS HAVE always been extremely popular in the Philippine automotive market and, as of late, we’ve been observing a tremendous upsurge of buyer interest in the subcompact crossover category. These “cuter” segment in-betweeners are cheaper to acquire, easier to park, and still manage to offer a lot of the conveniences that many motorists seek in SUVs. This customer interest is likewise reflected in the luxury segment, and Mercedes-Benz Philippines has promptly responded to this interest by completing its lineup of new SUVs with the recent launch of its second-generation GLA.

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is the three-pointed star brand’s entry point into its family of SUV models. It rounds off the Modular Front Architecture (MFA) lineup of vehicles, and is proudly built in its Rastatt, Germany plant. The vehicle now offers more space, advanced safety features, and added character. In its crosshairs are young professionals and young families who are seeking to buy their first luxury car.

This latest GLA is now 1,611-mm tall (plus an extra 5mm, if you factor in the roof rails), increasing its height by more than 10cm compared to its predecessor. Its GLA 200 AMG Line available here showcases a sportier look, with an AMG body styling coming with a diamond radiator grill featuring pins embellished in chrome. It also flaunts 19-inch, twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, and roof rails made of polished aluminum. Inside the cabin, the driver can enjoy the luxury of a multi-function sports steering wheel that is wrapped in beautiful Nappa leather. The seats of both the driver and the front passenger are also more upright and higher than the seats in its predecessor — adding to this rendition’s more SUV-like feel.

The vehicle’s rear seats can be split 40:20:40 to provide more versatility when it comes to storage space and for accommodating irregularly sized cargo. Petite individuals like myself will definitely appreciate the low boot sill, which makes loading heavy cargo into the rear significantly easier. As a matter of fact, its luggage compartment height can be adjusted in two stages, thanks to its continuous floor console.

As the new GLA is now bolder, sportier, and more dynamically designed, the vehicle is also paired with the brand’s proprietary MBUX or Mercedes-Benz User Experience. This is a modern multimedia system that allows several users to set and save their own profiles. The system features a seven-inch instrument and media display screen with its own intelligent voice assistant that the car occupants may interact with, simply by using the key words: “Hey Mercedes!”

Needless to say, the new-age MBUX also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, alongside the major apps that are commonly used for navigation. Moreover, less driver distraction is also promoted with the vehicle’s comprehensive touch operation concept — which is sort of a combination of a touchscreen on the car’s center console and equivalent touch buttons on the car’s steering wheel.

Powering the GLA 200 AMG line is a 1.3-liter, turbocharged engine that spits out 163hp and 250Nm of torque. It is matched with a 7G dual-clutch automatic transmission, and comes standard as a front-wheel drive. Of course, one of its most enjoyable driving features is the car’s Dynamic Select, which allows the driver to choose from several drive settings which include: Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual (custom).

Aside from its smaller-displacement engine, the GLA also has an Eco Start-Stop system that helps the user save on fuel and cut down on his/her carbon emissions.

Finally, Mercedes-Benz has always been lauded for its exceptional safety features, and the GLA has its good share of advanced safety technologies. The Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive system includes features such as: Active Brake Assist, which is autonomous braking applied to assist the driver during an imminent collision; Attention Assist, which alerts the driver whenever the car detects signs of drowsiness or inattentiveness from the driver; and Active Parking Assist, which supports the driver during parking maneuvers with assists and a reverse camera. A tire pressure loss warning system also comes in handy to immediately inform the driver if any of his/her tires are running low on air pressure, even while driving.

The introductory price of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA is pegged at P3,290,000. Mercedes-Benz Philippines also hints that the high-performance GLA 35 AMG is likely to arrive in the country sometime in 2021.

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