2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA: The Three-Pointed Star’s Entry-Level SUV
















The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA is the SUV version of the German brand’s subcompact CLA sedan. The first generation model was introduced as a 2014 model, and has been facelifted for 2018. As a subcompact luxury SUV, it competes against the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3.

These entry-level SUVS from the German luxury brands are an attempt to attract new customers. They are all priced between $32,000 and $34,000 to start, where they act as gateways to their respective brands. At this price point, they also compete with larger, better-equipped SUVs from mainstream brands like Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Hyundai, and others. So customers have a choice to make: mainstream value, or the appeal of a luxury brand?

Of course, the reality is that most of these entry-level German luxury SUVS will be optioned up to the point where they have sticker prices of $40,000 or more. A large proportion will be driven off the lot with subsidized leases, so they end up being more affordable than you might think. This is how the luxury game is played – keep your customers coming back for a new lease every three years, and try to move them upward through your product line each time they do.

What’s New On The 2018 GLA

For 2018, the Mercedes-Benz GLA has redesigned front and rear bumpers, new standard 18” alloy wheels, a standard rearview camera, a new instrument cluster design, and a new standard 8” hi-resolution display screen. Android Auto has been added to the smartphone integration package. New available options are LED headlamps and black ash matte wood trim. There is a new exterior color: Canyon Beige.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Models And Pricing

The 2018 GLA is available in three models: the GLA 250 with front-wheel drive, the GLA 250 4Matic with all-wheel drive, and the high-performance, all-wheel drive Mercedes-AMG GLA 45.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA pricing starts with the GLA 250 at $33,400 and goes up to the AMG GLA 45 at $50,600.

2018 GLA Engines And Drive Configurations

The front-wheel drive GLA 250 and all-wheel drive GLA 250 4Matic come with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 208 horsepower. The all-wheel drive AMG GLA 45 is equipped with an uprated, high-performance version of the 2.0L turbo, putting out an incredible 375 horsepower. It is the world's most powerful four-cylinder engine in series production.

All GLA engines are mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The GLA 45 has an added AMG Speedshift function.

Safety Is Paramount In The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA

Vehicle safety has long been a top priority at Mercedes-Benz. The 2018 GLA comes standard with eight air bags, as well as other driver assistance technologies. The GLA offers "active brake assist" as standard equipment. This warns the driver if there is not enough stopping distance from the vehicle in front. If the driver reacts too late, it will apply the brakes to prevent or minimize an accident.

The GLA comes standard with "attention assist," which can detect driver drowsiness and warn the driver. Adaptive braking technology with hill-start assist, automatic brake drying and brake hold feature are also standard.

Additional available safety features are active lane keeping assist, 360-degree surround-view camera, and Distronic distance pilot.

The 2018 GLA Is A Small SUV With Mercedes-Benz DNA

If you are in the market for a very small but upscale SUV, take a look at the GLA 250, and compare it to its competitors from Audi and BMW. In return for their tiny interiors and cargo spaces, you are granted access to the wonderful world of German luxury. Watch out for the expensive option packages, and consider leasing one of these, not buying. They depreciate very rapidly!

If you like the size but not the price, consider the less-expensive subcompact Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona, or Buick Encore. If you like the price but not the size, fully loaded mainstream compact SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Mazda CX-5 are around the same price, and give you loads more interior space.

About The Author

Stephen Fogel

Stephen follows the global automotive industry on a daily basis, including new model announcements, new technologies, sales trends, and the latest in "green" cars.