Road Test: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

Road Test: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

Story by David Symons, photos courtesy of Mercedes

Price:  $42,400 (MSRP)

Price as tested: $50,875

Engine: 2 litre in-line 4 Cyl Turbo

Trans: 8 speed dual-clutch

Power:  221 hp@ 5500 rpm

Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1620 – 4000rpm

Curb Weight: 3,296 lbs/ 1,495kg

Fuel Consumption: (L/100km – City/Hwy) 9.8/ 7.1

New for 2021: Everything! Mercedes has introduced a new generation of GLA with this new 2021 model. For starters, the entire exterior has been redesigned. It’s taller, wider, and sits on a slightly larger wheel base this year. Correspondingly, the interior has also added some much improved spacing. HP power gains 13 horses as well. There are also now options on options way too numerous to mention here, but worth a checking out what you might want to, well, put a check mark next to the most wished for.

Segment Competitors: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Volvo XC40, Cadillac XT4


The Skinny: As alluded to, 2021 marks the make-over of this 2nd generation of the GLA family of vehicles that Mercedes has been promising… and it didn’t disappoint. The exterior of this smallest of their GLA offerings has picked up 1.5” width and more noticeably 3.6” of height while the wheelbase grows by just over an inch. All of which creates an all-around bigger feeling. The exterior also loses some of its “boxiness” from the previous design and in the process, succeeds in losing a bit of the hatch feel that it had felt previously. The front fascia has been updated across the lineup, and with new LED head lights and tail lamps, along with the inclusion of the huge pana-roof that our tester enjoyed, the exterior really does look sleeker and much improved.

The interior is also much improved with all manner of options available to further reinforce the point that this is after all, a prestige class vehicle. It actually feels higher off the ground while sitting at 5.2 inches of ground clearance. Both shoulder room and head room are also improved with a not inconsiderable 4.5” gain in leg room to match. The 15.4 sq ft of cargo area is the result of the uptick in sizing, with a fair number of alternate stowing compartments also available throughout the cabin. Mercedes impressive MBUX infotainment is again included in this vehicle with its touch screen (dual screen standard), and all of its impressive basic functionality included, while the beautiful 10 ¼” screen and myriad bells and whistles are optionally available. I still think that Mercedes jumped the gun a little by replacing all USB ports with USBC receptors only. Your choice of ambient colored lighting throughout the cabin is also available to set your mood – especially at night. Tall people (read over 6’0”) need not be fearful that they won’t fit in this charming offering from our friends at the Three Pointed Star. You will be pleasantly surprised. While this may be the least powered Crossover in its segment, it did gain a respectable 13 ponies and now has a great ratio of power to torque delivery. The Comfort mode is great for eliminating rough edges from the road and delivering what can be considered a much improved driving experience, while in Sport mode the steering input tightens a bit and it becomes an even more engaging driving experience.

Pros: Bigger is indeed better in terms of overall sizing and interior ergonomic comfort levels. Much improved design of both Interior and Exterior. Added HP helps the driving fun quotient.

Cons: Steering can get a wee bit torquey when cornering at speed. Sound like a bit of a broken record, but would prefer the rotator knob over the track pad for ease of use. Heated steering here in Canada please.

 The Verdict: A very maneuverable crossover for driving in the city that feels so much better than the older model. The design team did a fantastic job at getting most things much improved in this 2nd gen offering, including a much improved interior. This 2021 iteration of the GLA 250 is a great option for the price and is worth checking out at your local dealership.

Categories: Driver Plus, Road Tests