Test Drive Notes Library
- The GLA45 AMG is a sporty car that happens to be a practical hatchback with room in the back for passengers and some cargo, as well.
- The GLA is a wonderful cruising car, with all kinds of power. It definitely does go. It has tremendous acceleration and stability from 60 MPH, on up. We got it up to 90 almost without noticing. (Note to law enforcement: This happened when we were very briefly rocking out to Sleepy LaBeef and not paying attention to our speed.)
- Step on the gas, while you’re moving, and the dual-clutch automatic transmission shifts immediately to the correct gear.
- It corners and handles very well.
- It’s all-wheel drive, which makes the GLA a reasonable choice for anyone living in or near the snow belt.
- While the lack of vibration makes the stop-start function one of the smoother we’ve ever experienced, the noise from the muffler is downright jarring every time the engine comes on.
- The GLA45 AMG is in a class by itself, without any real direct competitors. At two thirds the price, and with half the prestige, the Subaru WRX and the VW Golf R could also be on your list.
- The AMG designation means Mercedes has packed the most powerful possible engine into the GLA, making it essentially a factory “tuner” car. It comes with a two-liter, turbo-charged, 355 horsepower engine.
- Ergonomics are good, steering wheel position is very comfortable, and the driving position is good. Seats are firm and very comfortable.
- On the center console, you’ll find a handy volume button, several buttons for seat heat, eco-mode, and different audio options. There are knobs for dual temperature controls. Navigation is fine, and audio functions are reasonably intuitive.
Test Drive Notes Library
- It’s quick—except when it’s not. When it’s not is when you’re coming off the mark. It has a dual sequential clutch transmission, which seems to do a lot of things nicely, but one thing it doesn’t do well is get off the starting blocks. It sounds and feels like it needs to “spool up.” Or like you’re waiting for someone to slowly let the clutch out. It’s a little odd. It’s kind of similar to turbo lag (which, by the way, is something else you’ll experience in the GLA).
- The interior is bathtub like, with a high-belt line. Visibility is not great, though we did get used to it. The back windows are small. To its credit, the backup camera comes on quickly, and there are plenty of other sensors to alert the driver. You’ll have to work hard to run someone over.
- The GLA uses Mercedes’ “Comand” system for many functions. It’s not awful, but neither is it intuitive. We figured it out, though it’s not quite as elegant as BMW’s iDrive. The joystick, used to change station settings, is far too sensitive. It’s easy to accidently change stations, when you absentmindedly place your arm or hand onto the driver’s right-side armrest.
- The placing of the cupholder is awkward. It’s slightly behind the driver. If you have a rotator cuff injury, get a long straw.
- Cartoony-looking exterior design, that looks like it’s trying awfully hard. We didn’t see many souped-up, hatchback Mercedes in the back parking lot when we were in high school. But if we did, this is what they’d probably have looked like.
- It’s noisy, with loud tires, and a raucous exhaust burble sound which has been designed-in by Mercedes. The GLA comes from the factory sounding like it needs a new muffler. If you can embrace that noise, then this is the car for you.
- Interesting dashboard design looks a bit like Mercedes forgot to put a display in it, and then decided to slap an iPad on the front. The screen isn’t really integrated into the dash, but appears to us to be an afterthought. Some folks younger than us liked this, though, and thought it was cool.
- The back seats are just okay. If we were passengers in a back seat for more than 100 miles, we’d be offering to drive every few minutes.
- Adding those three letters, A-M-G, to your GLA will set you back an extra $10 grand.
- The model we test drove had an MSRP of $60,705. However, the base price for the GLA45 starts at $48,300. That’s a lot for a small hatchback.
- For $60,000, it feels like it’s missing a few things. For example, you still need to use a key to get in and start the car—remote access and push-button start being two items that are available on cars costing less than half as much.
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