What's New for 2016
The 2016 GLA-Class gets an updated standard infotainment system with a 7-inch screen. Also newly standard are keyless ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control and adjustable-length front-seat cushions. A Dynamic Select drive-mode selector debuts, while the optional rearview camera now offers a 180-degree view. The AMG version boasts 20 additional horsepower and 18 more pound-feet of torque, plus revised gear ratios and a new Dynamic Plus package with a limited-slip differential. Finally, Mercedes' mbrace2 Connect package (online and emergency services) is now standard for five years on all trims.
Entering its second year of production, the compact 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class retains the same promise it offered last year. This baby Benz boasts an upscale blend of hatchback and crossover traits, also offering good performance and a wide range of features and options. The GLA shares its 106.3-inch wheelbase with the CLA-Class sedan, making it the company's smallest SUV. But it's both shorter and wider than the CLA, which gives it more aggressive proportions.
Being less frumpy than the CLA, however, doesn't exactly cover the GLA in glory. Under the surface, ride comfort and drivability challenges keep the GLA from reaching its full potential. The taut suspension can be jarring over even mildly uneven terrain, while potholes may have you wishing for a kidney belt. Moreover, the seven-speed transmission's low-speed indecisiveness and sometimes belabored responses take a bite out of driver confidence. Couple these downsides with a relatively small cargo area and rear seat, and making a case for the GLA becomes more difficult.
Competitors include the and , both of which ride more comfortably but suffer similar cargo and occupant constraints. The all-new has a roomier interior and looks to be a particularly tough rival for the Mercedes. The is hardly the freshest face in this segment, but it continues to appeal with its spunky turbocharged engines and inimitable style. Although we awarded the hopped-up GLA45 AMG model due to its sizzling performance, it's the GLA250 that's more representative. The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has plenty of promise, but depending on your needs, this hatchback-crossover mashup may not fully deliver.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2016 GLA-Class is offered in three trim levels: GLA250, GLA250 4Matic and AMG GLA45.
The GLA250 comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, a roof rack, foglamps, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, cruise control, a 14-way power driver seat, a 10-way manual passenger seat, driver memory settings, MB-Tex vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks (with a cargo pass-through). Electronics features include a 7-inch central display with a console-mounted control knob, a media interface for digital music players, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an audio system with a CD player, HD radio and a USB audio input.