While just a bit shorter than its predecessor, the new GLA is 10 centimetres taller resulting in more headroom at the front and considerably more legroom in the rear, Mercedes-Benz claims.
The exterior is more aerodynamically shaped and looks much racier now, especially when it comes to the front fascia and hood. Contrasting elements and wheels up to 20 inches in size further add character to the GLA, which also benefits from increased ground clearance.
The cabin evolves to adopt a more contemporary and refined layout where the MBUX infotainment system naturally takes centre stage. The HMI is available in two variants: with two seven-inch displays or, in the Widescreen version, with two 10.25-inch displays.
All-around visibility is enhanced and the seating position up front is higher and more SUV-like than in the outgoing model. With regard to cargo, a height-adjustable load floor comes standard. When the rear seatbacks are folded down and the load floor is in the upper position, an almost flat loading area extending to the front seats can be created. For bulky items, the load floor can be put in the lower position.
Safety in the GLA has been improved, too, with features such as the turning manoeuvre function, the exit warning function alerting the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles, and a warning when pedestrians are detected near zebra crossings. Active Brake Assist autonomously intervenes by applying the brakes in order to avoid a collision or reduce its severity. The system can also brake at a speed of up to about 60 km/h for stationary vehicles and pedestrians crossing the road ahead.
As for powertrains, the base GLA 250 4MATIC delivers 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC boosts output to 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque while relying on an eight-speed AMG Speedshift dual-clutch unit.
All-wheel drive is standard on both models, though the GLA 35 gets a performance-focused, variable system designed to produce maximum traction and dynamic handling. It also gets unique suspension and steering calibration along with upgraded brakes.
An available Off-Road Engineering Package enhances the GLA's capabilities with an additional driving program, downhill driving assist functions and an off-road animation in the media display.
Produced in Rastatt, Germany, the new 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA is set to arrive in Canada by early summer of 2020. It’s expected to become one of the brand's most popular compact models.