Mercedes is hoping to take on the compact SUV market with a brand new model called the GLA.
A rival to the Range Rover Evoque, the GLA is built on the same platform as the A-class, but the similarities with its hatchback cousin end there. The GLA has more ground clearance and an SUV-style body measuring 442cm long, 180cm wide and 149cm high ─ a tad longer than either its Evoque or Audi Q3 rivals.
Surprisingly, the GLA’s 421-litre boot space is smaller than the Audi Q3’s and Range Rover Evoque, which offer 460 and 575 litres, respectively. Loading stuff should be easy, though, thanks to a low sill and a wide tailgate that can open automatically.
Four versions of the Mercedes-Benz GLA will be available at launch; the 156bhp GLA 200 and the 211bhp GLA 250 petrol models and the 136bhp GLA 200 CDI and 170bhp GLA 220 CDI diesels.
The 200CDI can manage 65.6mpg with CO2 of 114g/km, according to provisional figures. Part of that efficiency comes from the GLA’s impressive aerodynamic efficiency rating of just 0.29, created by a low A-pillar step, streamlined back end, roof spoiler lip and specially shaped tail lights.
For those who crave the most traction, the GLA 250 and GLC CDI 220 have the option of Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system, but be prepared to pay a little extra.
Other highlights include radar-based collision prevention assist, adaptive brake assist, which offers autonomous braking up to speeds of 124mph, and attention assist, which keeps an eye on whether the driver is tired or not.
There’s also the ability to plug your iPhone into the COMAND infotainment system to enjoy social network browsing, Internet radio, Siri voice control and real-time location sharing to make it easier for people to find you.
Like its Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3 and Volkswagen Tiguan rivals, the GLA wants to be as home doing the school run as it is knee-deep in mud or eating up motorway miles. Based on the specs we’ve seen so far, it should have all the bases covered.
The Mercedes GLA will make its public debut at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show. Sales are expected to start in early 2014. UK specification and prices are yet to be confirmed.
Mercedes-Benz GLA Pictures