Mercedes GLA 2014 debuts at Frankfurt

Mercedes A-Class based SUV has debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show

The new Mercedes GLA crossover has been revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show – a brand-new crossover SUV designed to rival the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and forthcoming Lexus LF-NX. It’s based on many of the same parts as the Mercedes A-Class hatchback, but is slightly larger and more practical.

The Mercedes GLA was first shown as a concept car at the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this year, but this production version looks a bit more sensible. Like many of its crossover rivals, the GLA is more like a rugged hatchback with raised suspension rather than a full-on SUV.

Mercedes GLA price and release date

Mercedes GLA prices are likely to start at around £25,000, which puts it in a similar price range to its rivals from Audi and BMW. That's quite a bit more than the Mercedes A-Class on which it is based, but with the Audi Q3 costing from £25,270 and the BMW X1 starting at £23,930, the Mercedes GLA should sit neatly in between them in the marketplace.

However, Mercedes predicts that around 75 per cent of buyers will go for the diesel model rather than the basic petrol engine. Figures also suggest that the same amount of buyers will opt for the 4x4 version, instead of the less expensive two-wheel drive model. The market will be keeping a keen eye on sales, though, as this is the first small Mercedes SUV to go on sale in the UK – after buyers were denied the current Mercedes GLK due to engineering restraints and worries about profitability.

The Mercedes GLA release date for the UK is expected to be December, although the first deliveries won’t be until 2014.

New Mercedes GLA specs

The new Mercedes GLA is based on the A-Class hatchback, but being a compact SUV it’s larger and higher up off the road. It’s also got rugged-looking grey plastic around the wheels and bumpers to make it look more like an off-roader. It’s got a wider boot opening than the A-Class too, making it more practical. In the future we could see a version of the GLA with a raised ride height, giving it more off-road credentials – helping it compete with the Land Rover Freelander and Range Rover Evoque.

The 421-litre boot is 80 litres larger than the A-Class’, and an optional Load Compartment package can increase the practicality even further by adding rear seats that can move back and forth to give more legroom or more boot space when it’s needed.

Inside, there’s not too much difference between the Mercedes GLA interior and that of the A-Class it’s based on. It has a chunkier and more SUV-like look to it, and the driver sits higher up for a better view of the road.

DAB radio and mock leather upholstery come as standard, plus attention assist and Mercedes’ collision prevention assist auto braking system. Optional equipment on the Mercedes GLA will include leather sports seats, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping technology and adaptive high beam headlights.

Mercedes GLA engine details

The Mercedes GLA will come with a seven-speed auto gearbox and a choice of four engines, all with stop-start technology to help reduce emissions and boost economy. The GLA gets a choice of two petrols, a 154bhp 1.6-litre and a 208bhp 2.0-litre engine, and two diesels, a 2.1-litre engine with either 134bhp or 168bhp.

The GLA is available with the Mercedes 4MATIC four-wheel drive system, which uses two wheels to drive the car most of the time but directs power to the rear wheels when it is needed. These models also get a system that helps you to descend hills slowly and safely.

A super-powerful Mercedes GLA 45 AMG could also be revealed next year, which would rival the Audi RSQ3. This car would use the same 355bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine used in the A45 AMG hatchback and CLA 45 AMG saloon.

For the full Mercedes range visit the CarBuyer Mercedes reviews page.

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