2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA Driving Impressions

Taut, nimble handling and snappy responses are offset by a rather stiff ride in the 2019 GLA, especially when the road grows lumpy. Stiff springs and large-diameter wheels are the prominent culprits.

Otherwise, the GLA provides a sufficiently luxurious experience, at a tempting price. Only if optional summer tires are installed does the ride become noisy. Despite its tall body and 8-inch ground clearance, the GLA handles competently.

Performance ranks as competent with the GLA 250, rocketing to blazing levels behind the wheel of a GLA 45. The base model needs just over 7 seconds to reach 60 mph, while the AMG edition needs a mere 4.3 seconds to accomplish that feat – helped by its sport-tuned transmission, while emitting a delightful exhaust sound.

In Sport mode, the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission responds briskly. With Sport off, shifts are less prompt. Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel drive not only copes with loose surfaces, but makes mild off-roading possible. Hill-descent control can be installed.

With 4Matic, the engine sends most of its torque to front wheels, but output can be split evenly, front/rear, to yield greater traction.

Even in AMG trim, fuel economy compares to other compact hatchbacks. With front-drive, the GLA 250 is EPA-rated at 24/33 mpg City/Highway, or 27 mpg Combined. With all-wheel drive, estimates drop to 23/31/26 mpg. The Mercedes-AMG GLA45 is EPA-rated at 22/28 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined.

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