Mercedes GLA250

Compact wow!

"Get into the German luxury brand without spending a fortune, which it was previously known for" said Issam

"The perfect crossover on twisty mountains roads"

"The GLA is a car for those who aim to conquer the world, rather than merely discover it"

The past couple of years, the whole planet has been facing serious issues regarding gas prices. In parallel, all carmakers went into conspicuous fashion to make smaller vehicles, somewhat based on low fuel consumption, but also on styling. The automotive industry has responded by providing vehicles in the small crossover segment.

We took the Mercedes GLA250 from T. Gargour & Fils, official distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Lebanon, for weekend spin. The GLA is the least expensive vehicle that gets you into a Mercedes-Benz SUV/crossover segment. The GLA platform is shared with the entry-level CLA Coupe (which is in fact a sedan) but has more ground clearance and looks like a hatchback.

Driving Impressions
So how does it handle on the roads? I discovered during my weekend test drive that the GLA's throttle response is a bit slow when I initially pushed the accelerator. That auto stop-start button is really annoying, honestly. In traffic, the engine shuts down; it incompletely turns on again and then takes a bit of time to move forward. When disengaging the auto stop-start and/or putting the car into "sport" mode, all these delayed responses are gone.

At higher speeds and particularly on better asphalt highways, the ride was perfectly acceptable. On open road or through twisting mountain roads, the driving experience gets better. The GLA is then a sharp, engaging and fun crossover to drive. The fact that it's not much of an SUV but rather a hatchback with higher stance, means it is a good drive. I drove up to my mountain house (around 450-500 meters above sea level) and it felt firmly fastened to the road, inspired with confidence while tackling corners with minimal body roll. The steering was reliable and precise while turning, and lets you to feel the road.

Verdict
All in all, and objectively speaking, take the GLA out of the city, as it is rather annoying to drive around traffic. But when it comes to highways, open roads and specifically through twisty mountain roads (which we have plenty of them in Lebanon), they are what it was made for! Check out your nearest dealership around the Middle East/GCC and get yourself a complimentary test drive so that you understand what I'm talking about. Yes, Mercedes has opened the door for all folks to own a SUV/crossover without paying a fortune!

One word: solid
3.5 stars
Rivals: Lexus NX 200T, Porsche Macan, Audi Q3, BMW X1, Range Rover Evoque
Pros: impressive handling, satisfying engine's power, modern look, comfortable seats
Cons: entry model not well equipped, tight rear seats legroom, expected better fuel consumption

Specs
2.0L Turbocharged, i4 cylinders, 208hp @ 5500rpm, 350Nm @ 1200-4000rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode, FWD/4MATIC AWD
0-100 kph: 7.1 seconds, top speed: 235 kph, fuel consumption: 6-6.5L/ 100km
Weight: 1586 kg

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