India-bound: The Mercedes Benz GLA Class Compact SUV

Mercedes Benz GLA
Mercedes Benz GLA

Mercedes Benz GLA

Amongst the new cars coming to India this year, are two major models from the world’s biggest game players and they’re sure to send shock waves through the playground already teeming with contestants. Late 2014 will see the launch of two brilliant new SUVs – the Mercedes Benz GLA Class, and the Jeep Wrangler.

Benz’s baby is definitely some grim news for all the compact SUVs already making their mark in the elite Indian buyer’s circle, and brings a treat both for those who love to rough it up, and those who like to play it smooth.

Built on the same platform as Mercedes’ baby offspring – the A class, and CLA class models that have gotten Benz great popularity and applaud through media and an endless list of prospective buyers. With compact SUVs selling like freshly baked goodies, this road and dirt baby is sure to drive all of those looking to buy one, and others, completely mad.

How does the hill descent system work

The Mercedes Benz GLA comes equipped with a 4matic all wheel drive (AWD) system, that directs 100 percent of the torque to the rear wheels as per the demands of the terrain and other driving conditions. A centre console mounted button turns on the hill descent system that utilizes engine and regular braking in synchronization to moderate the pace on steep sloping surfaces, making driving both uphill and downhill much easier. It also comes with an off road transmission mode in the 4matic models to quickly adapt to traction shifting and throttle response on loose surfaces like dirt, gravel and even sand. With the same powerhouses both in petrol and diesel variants as those found in the A, B, and the CLA class range, that have probably had nowhere near an experience of real world conditions as their off roading sibling is built for and about to – specially on Indian roads.

The GLA carries on the German giants fresh, edgy and youthful appearance in the new design language evident in the A and CLA class models. More than three-fourth of the Indian buyers of the company’s new production children have only just experienced the brand and are ten years younger than the average buyer age. The three pointed star stares one in the face, from its poise on the twin louvre grille and provides for Merc’s invigorating stare.

A different theme for the interior

The lower sides of the vehicle get armour protection from the everyday hits and bashes by flying stones and flung branches – that are everyday issue for an SUV – by grey cladding all around the lower half of the car’s body surface. Wide, gaping wheel arches and a slightly lowered greenhouse gives the SUV a high rear and hunched down front predator’s poise, ready to spring upon its prey. The interiors mimic the company’s compact car theme with large circular air vents and the metal bits sport the galvanized silver finish. The India-bound model may probably have a different theme for the interior altogether.

The one’s who’ve tested it haven’t been allowed to crash it yet, but with the already tested chassis, that it shares with its smaller siblings, and the single central display being utilized for all the safety features along with other infotainment options ensure the car a five star verdict on safety.

If it makes it any easier to understand, one can think of the GLA as an A class that hit the gym before it hit puberty and got all ripped and pumped up. It has a cargo space volume of 420 litres and the best ride quality in its class. The rear headroom is an improvement over previous models. The GLA 250 is a treat in terms of power, performance and – the third one should probably be the Indian buyer’s favourite – price. From a stand-still to 100kmph in just 7 seconds is great performance but we’re sure that this is one of those cars that do significantly better on road – or in this case offroad – than they do on paper.

No rollover while you take a sharp turn

Even on the standard stock suspension, the GLA glides over imperfections in the road or any rough flat for that matter, and takes some of the sharpest turns without the slightest hint of a body rollover. Be it the throaty growl of the new Merc powerhouse, or the shock neutralizing suspension, to crazy acceleration, the GLA makes sure the only expression on the driver’s face is either constant awe or an exhilarated half smile – half peal of mad laughter.

The Indian road version is expected to be priced between thirty to forty lakh varying according to the variant and the specifications offered. All models will come equipped with a dual clutch seven speed automatic transmission unit, and would also feature an automatic tailgate.

If you’re still unsure, we would tell you to wait patiently and test the car for yourself. And when you do, we’d be happy to see you step out of it with a wide grin that would refuse to leave your face. Till then, count the bucks you’ve saved for your big elite, and prepare for its arrival.