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Mercedes-Benz expands SUV lineup with all-new GLA

Sole trim level is powered by a turbocharged 1.3-liter engine

The local-market GLA is built in Rastatt, Germany. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

Mercedes-Benz understands that there is rapid growth in the crossover and SUV segment. Its extensive lineup of products from the iconic G-Class to the practical GLB signifies the automaker’s intent to cover the entire size spectrum of these practical and luxurious family vehicles. But just to make sure that it really has covered everything, it adds the GLA to its portfolio.

The MBUX infotainment system can be controlled using this touchpad. PHOTOS FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

The GLA is the literal baby of the Mercedes-Benz crossover family on account of it being the latest and the smallest. However, its 2,729mm wheelbase is anything but cramped, allowing the subcompact Merc to accommodate tall occupants. Luggage capacity is quite generous as well. The cargo floor is adjustable, and the rear seats can be split into three to make the load area extremely flexible.

The GLA comes standard with MBUX, which is Mercedes-Benz’s cleverly-designed infotainment system. Easily woken up with the voice command “Hey Mercedes!”, the user interface swiftly responds to touch just like on a smartphone. If navigation and Bluetooth connectivity are not enough, there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility to keep passengers entertained.

No additional horsepower from the AMG wheels. But the turbo engine should be more than enough for daily driving. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

The sole GLA200 AMG Line variant is powered by a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine. Thanks to the magic of turbocharging, the mill has 163hp of output and 250Nm of torque on tap. It is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which guarantees instant power delivery and minimal powertrain losses.

Aside from the usual antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, parking sensors, and front airbags, the GLA is equipped with other safety and convenience features that should take the driving experience up a notch. Working with sensors that constantly scan the road for obstacles, Active Brake Assist can keep the braking system primed for autonomous emergency stops. The GLA also has Attention Assist which monitors driver fatigue levels and gives aural and visual warnings at the first sign of inattentiveness.

This or a C-Class sedan? PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

With prices starting at P3.29 million, the GLA packs a punch in terms of its features and the level of luxury in a package that is both compact and easy to live with. Despite its place in the Mercedes-Benz crossover hierarchy, customers can be assured that this car is every bit as good as its larger brethren.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.