The subcompact SUV segment has only been getting more popular as these practical vehicles displace sedans and hatchbacks across the USA, and as the entry point to a more premium range of vehicles, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is particularly alluring. The small SUV is not nearly as sporty as the competition – which includes the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 – but instead, it focuses on delivering a more refined and comfortable driving experience. It’s still satisfyingly potent, thanks to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and you even get the option of an all-wheel drivetrain. Up-to-date tech and high-quality materials round out the package, but is all of this worth the price you pay just to own a premium crossover with limited interior space?
2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV Price: Which One to Buy
Even though it may be the smallest model in Mercedes’ SUV lineup, the 2024 GLA-Class has a premium price tag. At $37,500 MSRP, however, it’s cheaper than the X1 by $1,600 and just $500 more than the latest entry-level Q3. If you want the benefit of all-wheel-drive traction, you’ll need to spend an extra $2,000 for the 250 4Matic version. In either case, you’ll have to account for the $1,150 destination charge.
Since there is no real difference between the two trims, we’d only opt for the 250 4Matic if we lived in a state where the AWD would be useful due to inclement weather. Otherwise, we’d pocket the $2k and use it to add the Premium Package for the larger 10.25-inch displays, hands-free tailgate, and Keyless-Go. But we’d also add a little extra for the Driver-Assistance Package, which adds 12 more safety features, many of which we believe should be standard at the base price. This total comes to $43,500, all in.
Interior and Features
There are a few cheap parts around the cabin, but Mercedes has managed to present an overall high-quality and stylish space to spend your time.
Mercedes may have been on a stricter budget when designing the tiny GLA-Class, but it still managed to create a gorgeous interior. Circular vents give it a very modern feeling, though there are enough physical knobs and buttons to retain a certain old-school appeal. No less than half of the dashboard is taken up by the optional 10.25-inch displays, but it still manages to look clean and sophisticated. However, it would be nice if there were more standard features at this price – upgrading to the larger displays over the standard dual seven-inch items is a must.
Despite being the smallest Merc SUV, the GLA is actually surprisingly roomy. However, the design of the seats and dash makes it look a little tighter than it actually is. The roof is a little low, so taller passengers may need to slouch a bit as they get inside, but there is plenty of legroom for what the GLA-Class is, even in the back row. The power-adjustable front seats also make it easy to find a comfortable driving position, and there aren’t the same huge blind spots you’d find in larger SUVs. Heating and ventilation for the front row are available.
While the GLA may boast a decent amount of passenger space, it seems that not a lot of space was left for cargo. There is just 15.4 cubic feet in the trunk with all the seats in place, which is not much more than your standard sedan. Luckily, you can fold the rear bench in a 40/20/40 split to free up a much larger 50.5 cubic feet. Small-item storage around the cabin is average, with a pair of cupholders in each row, a glove compartment, an armrest cubby, and mid-sized door pockets at all four corners.
Materials and Colors
Mercedes never disappoints when it comes to interior quality, but to ensure the GLA remains a somewhat affordable entry model, it has kept things simple inside the cabin. MB-Tex synthetic leather is the only no-cost option, in a choice of Black or Macchiato Beige, but if you add one of the available AMG exterior appearance packages, you can also choose from Neva Grey/Black or Black MB-Tex/Dinamica with Red stitching. Upgrading to leather costs $1,450, but it also requires one of the AMG packages and heated front seats. Interior colors at this level include Black, Bahia Brown, Classic Red/Black, and Titanium Grey/Black.
For the interior accent trim, you get Spiral Look and Carbon Structure for free, while Natural Grain Black Linden and Brown Walnut woods can be installed for a nominal fee of $325.
Features and Infotainment
The automaker ensures that even its cheapest models come with enough features to warrant their prestige and premium price tag. Still, it couldn’t throw in everything. Thus, you get power-adjustable front seats with memory, keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, and dual-zone climate control.
There are two seven-inch displays for driver information and the infotainment. The latter includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, and Bluetooth streaming. As standard, the sound system comprises six speakers, but you can upgrade to a 12-speaker Burmester sound system.
Other available improvements include heated and ventilated front seats, Keyless-Go, dual 10.25-inch displays, a wireless charger, navigation, SiriusXM, and in-car Wi-Fi.
While the GLA can go quite fast, it takes a while to get there, with the focus being on comfort and driving ease over sheer performance.
There is only one engine for the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class – a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder block that makes 221 hp and 258 lb-ft. This comes mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends to your choice of front or all four wheels. Far from a high-performance setup, this sees the Merc GLA launch from 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds or 6.6 seconds with AWD, slower than its BMW counterpart but quicker than the entry-level Audi Q3. Top speed is limited to 130 mph.
While it may not be an athletic SUV, the GLA is not clumsy on the road. It remains poised, especially with all-wheel drive, and light, accurate steering helps it zip around town without any effort. However, the focus is definitely on comfort, as the suspension is happier soaking up bumps than it is keeping everything in place as you take corners. To ensure it does the best job possible, we’d never go above 19-inch wheels. You can also opt for an adaptive suspension for an even plusher ride.
While premium cars running on premium gas are not known for their good gas mileage, the Mercedes GLA actually gets decent mpg, so long as you aren’t directly comparing it to the likes of Nissan or Kia. The standard FWD trim manages 24/34/28 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles, while the AWD trim drops to 23/32/26 mpg. But with a low fuel tank capacity of just 12.7 gallons, the maximum range you can hope for is 356 miles on the FWD model, and around 330 miles for the AWD version.
Mercedes gives the GLA the bare minimum in terms of safety tech, asking you to pay extra to unlock most active driver assists.
Even though it is the cheapest SUV from Mercedes-Benz, the GLA-Class still has no safety rating review from the NHTSA or IIHS. In terms of safety features, the small vehicle gets seven airbags, ABS, stability control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, crosswind assist, blind-spot monitoring, attention assist, and a rearview camera.
Quite a few extra systems are available behind a paywall, including active steering assist, evasive steering assist, a surround-view camera, active lane management, Pre safe plus, and active parking assist.
US NHTSA Crash Test Result
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The Merc GLA-Class has some of the best reliability expectations in the brand’s entire lineup, earning 80 out of 100 from JD Power. The model was recalled seven times in 2021, but the last two years have seen no significant issues reported, so that score tracks quite well.
The warranty for the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class includes four years/50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage, with unlimited roadside assistance for four years.
Even with so little to work with, Mercedes has managed to deliver a product that undeniably shares DNA with the more prestigious vehicles in the stable. The front fascia is covered by a broad diamond-block grille with a single horizontal bar and the company logo. The LED headlights are quite wide and they sport LED daytime running light surrounds. Following the sleek curves over the roof, you’ll notice that the rear curves down a little, but this doesn’t affect rear passenger space too much. The tailgate is power-operated and has a small spoiler at the top. You can also upgrade it with hands-free access and install a panorama roof. Two rectangular exhausts can be found integrated into the rear bumper. As standard, the SUV comes equipped with 18-inch alloys, but you can choose from 19- and 20-inch variants with AMG design patterns.
Verdict: Is The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV A Good SUV?
The subcompact luxury SUV segment is no longer a niche market, with most of the big names now offering something that qualifies. However, Mercedes has been at it long enough that it has one of the most refined products, combining decent levels of practicality with good interior quality, enough power for most needs, and a price tag that isn’t out of reach for the average shopper. Sure, BMW and Audi present more exciting prospects in terms of driving experience, but the Merc’s comfort levels and style remain high. Nevertheless, we would be remiss for not pointing out that you can get better all-rounders from more economical brands, with models offering a lot more space and even some features that Mercedes makes you pay extra for. But, if you want a small and affordable car with a certain air of superiority, you could do a lot worse than the GLA-Class.