Added 23rd March, 2018
By Jonathan Crouch
'Freedom', Mercedes says, 'is contagious'. Desire for premium-branded compact Crossover models of this kind certainly is - even if they cost as much as this one. It doesn't directly compete with RAV4-style SUVs but, given that it costs the same sort of money, we can see a number of people who'd previously have simply settled for another such CR-V-style soft roader being tempted by what's on offer here.
Some cheaper Crossover models of this kind seem a little crude in comparison with this GLA. Like them, it's essentially a family hatchback in a pair of hiking boots, but its transformation to meet that need has here been completed with a silken thoroughness typical of the Three-Pointed Star. That doesn't extend to any really serious off road capability but then, for many buyers, such a thing is neither wanted nor needed. Appropriate then, for this car to be so visually subtle in its expeditionary pretensions.
True, similar claims are also made in this segment by the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, rivals this car was directly pitched against. But these are SUVs with higher running costs, smaller boots and asking prices that are no cheaper. You can see then, why Mercedes did quite well in our market with this GLA. From its era, it was arguably one of the best compact cars the brand made.