2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA Introduction

With the GLA, Mercedes-Benz blends practical hatchback dimensions with crossover functionality, joined by suitably luxurious fittings.

Since its debut as a 2015 model, the compact GLA crossover SUV has earned only a few refinements, largely made for the 2018 season. Not much has changed for the 2019 model year, except for two new paint colors, including Denim Blue. Premium and Convenience packages for the AMG GLA 45 model have been revised. That high-performance version also gains new 20-inch wheels.

Powertrains and other structural elements are closely related to those offered in Mercedes-Benz’s CLA sedan (which is billed by the company as a “four-door coupe”). Once again, Mercedes-Benz offers the GLA 250 with either front-drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive. The 4Matic system is standard on the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 model.

Beneath the GLA 250 hood, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, teamed with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. While the GLA 250 is clearly the more common of the duo, enthusiasts are far more likely to gravitate toward the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45. Its amply-modified, handcrafted version of the turbo 4-cylinder engine whips up 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet. Mercedes-AMG also has modified the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for use in the CLA 45.

On the safety front, each 2019 GLA comes with forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking. Additional safety features are optional, including adaptive cruise control and active lane control. A helpful surround-view camera system also is available. Automatic parking assistance, also optional, can help the GLA driver slip into a tight parking spot, with minimal driver input.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested a Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Compact dimensions limit the GLA to providing full comfort for two passengers, but two more can squeeze in when necessary.

GLA 250 options include leather-upholstered seats and a panoramic sunroof, as well as a hands-free liftgate and LED headlights. An available Premium package adds blind-spot monitoring and heated front seats. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility also is an option, within a smartphone package.

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