2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

MSRP $36,230

Ranked #10 in Subcompact Suv

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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 7, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has received a complete redesign this year. With the redesign, the GLA-Class has grown in size but now looks well-proportioned from the outside and has more in-cabin and cargo space compared to the outgoing model. The other changes have been under the skin. The 2021 GLA-Class is powered by the same 2.0-liter turbo-four engine but this year it produces more power and gets an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Due to this, the 0-60 mph timing has improved and the fuel economy in the city has also gone up.

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Pros

Feature loaded infotainment

Spirited performance

Luxurious cabin

Fuel efficient

Cons

Most sought for features are optional

Less standard safety features

Poor sound insulation

Small boot

What's New?

Completely redesigned for 2021.


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$36230

bodystyle

dr SUV

warranty

roadside assistance

No


Pictures & Videos


Trims

GLA 250$36,230 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class in Denim Blue Metallic color
Denim Blue Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Engine and Performace

7.0

Pricing and Features

6.0

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

8.0

Exterior

7.0

Safety

7.0

Competition

6.0

7.1

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.1

Overall Rating


Mercedes-Benz has also reworked the suspension setup and thanks to that the ride now feels well-tuned and comfortable than the previous model. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is offered in two drivetrains i.e., FWD and 4Matic AWD, the prices for the GLA FWD start at $36,230 and the GLA 4Matic AWD commands a two grand premium over the base price. The rivals of the 2021 GLA-Class remain the usual BMW X1, Audi Q3, and the Cadillac XT4.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV front angle view
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV rear angle view

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

8.0/10
Interior

7.0/10
Exterior

7.0/10
Safety

6.0/10
Competition


2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Features

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is divided into two variants one is the standard GLA and the other being the AMG GLA. The standard GLA has one trim i.e., GLA 250 available in FWD and 4Matic all-wheel-drive configuration while the AMG GLA comes in two trims i.e., AMG GLA 35 and AMG GLA 45. The AMG GLA trims have been covered by us separately so don’t forget to check them out. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is powered by a 221 hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The FWD configuration is standard while going for the 4Matic all-wheel-drive you need to pay $2,000 extra.

The GLA 250 being the sole trim has almost every feature in it but the GLA 250 4Matic adds few more features over the GLA 250’s feature list. The GLA 250 4Matic gets 4-wheel electronic traction control and the off-road engineering package added extra to it. Standard features include powered-front seats, manually-adjustable steering column, heated and powered side mirrors, Bluetooth audio streaming, 7-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster, electric parking brake, rear-window wiper with auto-on in reverse, rearview camera, etc. 

Model

GLA 250

GLA 250 4Matic

MSRP

$36,230

$38,230

Features

18-inch alloy wheels

Adds or upgrades to ‘GLA 250’

 

Digital cockpit w/ MBUX voice assistant

4Matic all-wheel drive

 

Powered-front seats w/ memory function

Off-Road Engineering Package

 

Dual-zone automatic climate control

4-wheel Electronic Traction System (4-ETS)

 

MB-Tex upholstery

 

Keyless start

 

Power liftgate

 

Cruise Control

 

7-inch touchscreen infotainment

 

LED exterior lights

 

Adaptive braking

 

Rain-sensing windshield wiper

Optional packages list include AMG Line Package for $2,600 that adds AMG interior and exterior styling, sport seats, etc. Premium Package for $1,750 adds keyless entry and go, 10.25-inch touchscreen, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors. Multimedia Package includes navigation, speed limit assist, etc, and costs $1,295. Driver Assistance Package is priced at $1,700 and includes steering, assist, brake assist, emergency stop, blind-spot assist, lane change assist, speed limit assist, etc. Parking Assistance Package includes surround view system and park assist and the complete package costs $1,090.

The standard features list does miss out on a few essential features which are provided as packages but if you want to individually select them then you can have a look at the optional features. A few of them worth looking at include adaptive suspension, panoramic sunroof, AMG body styling, adaptive headlights, evasive steering assist, parking assist, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, auto-dimming inside rearview, heated steering, sport front seats, 10.25-inch touchscreen, Burmester surround sound system, wireless device charging, etc.

We Recommend:

There is hardly any reason for you to take the GLA-Class off-road and assuming you don’t live in an area where it snows a lot, we suggest sticking to the GLA 250 trim. The money saved can be used to get the Premium Package that adds a bigger touchscreen and few other nifty features. Other than this we also suggest individually adding heated seats and steering wheel in case you have colder weather otherwise heated and ventilated seats would be the perfect addition.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Engine and Performance

Even with the complete redesign, the powertrain of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has been carried over. The same old 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 does duty on the 2021 GLA-Class. The turbo-four puts out a subpar 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque that is channeled to the front wheels via an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Although the engine remains the same this year we see a power bump of 13 horses and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission being replaced by the 8-speed unit. 

 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV driving view

The bump in power has resulted in a spirited performance yet the 2021 GLA 250 0-60 mph timing of 6.8 seconds and quarter-mile timing of 14.9 seconds aren’t the fastest in the segment. The GLA 250 4Matic all-wheel-drive version shaves off two-tenths of a second and it does 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds. The introduction of the 8-speed automatic and the bump in power has helped the 2021 GLA-Class better the 0-60 mph timing by 0.4 seconds in GLA 250 and by 0.5 seconds in GLA 250 4Matic over the 2020 GLA-Class’ timings.

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

2021 Audi Q3 Premium

2021 BMW X1 SDrive28i

2021 Cadillac XT4 Luxury

MSRP

$36,230

$34,000

$35,400

$35,795

Engine

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

AWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

8-speed dual-clutch automatic

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

221 hp @ 5500 rpm

228 hp @ 5000 rpm

228 hp @ 5000 rpm

237 hp @ 5000 rpm

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

258 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

258 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm

258 lb-ft @ 1450 rpm

258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm

0-60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.0 sec

6.6 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

14.7 sec

14.1 sec

15.2 sec

Top Speed

130 MPH

144 MPH

137 MPH

N/A

All the rivals here have the same 2.0-liter turbo-four and put out a similar 258 lb-ft of torque while the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 share the 228 hp power figure. But that’s where the similarity ends, the Cadillac XT4 puts out the highest power of 237 hp. While the BMW X1 is the quickest in doing 0-60 mph in just 6.6 seconds and the Cadillac XT4 is a full second slower than it. That said, except for Audi Q3 all the other three subcompact SUVs are offered with FWD as standard while the Audi Q3 gets the Quattro AWD as standard.

Ride and Handling of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class:

With the redesign this year the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class sports an all-new suspension setup with lighter aluminum components used to keep the weight in check. Courtesy of this the ride quality of the GLA-Class has now been completely transformed and it feels more comfortable on-road and more compliant over rough patches or minor undulations. While the steering response sees no change so the setup still feels a bit light and lacks sufficient heft at high speeds.

Another change this year was done to the GLA 4Matic, the new 4Matic replaces the hydraulic clutch with a new electromechanical unit. The new system according to Mercedes-Benz helped them to achieve the output distribution of about 20 percent, 30 percent, and 50 percent to the rear wheels in regular, sports, off-road modes respectively. This ensures optimum control and traction is available according to the mode selected.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Braking:

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is capable of sufficient performance and sub seven seconds 0-60 mph does warrant it to have a strong set of brakes. The GLA-Class has a 12.6-inches rotor at the front and an 11.6-inches rotor at the rear and during panic braking, they help the GLA stop from 60-0 mph in 138 feet. The stopping distance is a cause of concern as it is on the higher side by segment standard. 

Although Mercedes-Benz has equipped the GLA-Class with brake assist and torque vectoring brake to ensure a smooth brake pedal feel and a drama-free stopping. In our opinion, the main culprit here is the lack of grip from budget-grade all-season extended mobility tires. Thus slapping in stickier rubber could reduce the braking distance and brake response to a considerable extent.

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

2021 Audi Q3 Premium

2021 BMW X1 SDrive28i

2021 Cadillac XT4 Luxury

Brake Rotors Front (in.)

12.6

13.4

N/A

12.6

Brake Rotors Rear (in.)

11.6

11.8

N/A

12.4

Curb Weight (lbs)

N/A

3,916

3,713

3,847

60-0 MPH (ft.)

138

N/A

122

N/A

As for the rivals, they not only get bigger rotors but the likes of BMW X1 takes a lot less distance to come to a standstill from 60 mph. In this case, the BMW X1 took just 122 feet to stop which is 16 feet less distance in comparison to what GLA-Class took to come to a halt from the same speed.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Fuel Economy

9.0/10

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class saw a slight bump in power but with the new eight-speed gearbox the fuel economy got better especially in the city. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has an EPA estimated gas mileage of 25 mpg in the city (up from 24 mpg), 34 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. The GLA-Class 4Matic returns one mpg less compared to the regular GLA-Class in all three parameters. The fuel tank capacity of the GLA-Class is now 12.7-gallon and you can expect a range of 300 plus miles in the city and 400 plus miles on the highway from a tankful of gas. 

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

2021 Audi Q3 Premium

2021 BMW X1 SDrive28i

2021 Cadillac XT4 Luxury

MPG (City)

25

22

24

24

MPG (Highway)

34

30

33

30

MPG (Combined)

28

25

27

26

Fuel Tank

12.7

15.9

16.1

15.9

Range (City/Highway/ Combined)

318/ 432/ 355

350/ 477/ 397

386/ 531/ 434

382/ 477/ 413

If not for the smaller fuel tank compared to the rivals the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class would have been an outright winner of this comparison. That said, the least efficient SUV in this comparison is the Audi Q3 with 22/30/25 mpg of gas mileage in the city/combined/highway respectively. The BMW X1 comes with the biggest fuel tank capacity of 16.1-gallon helping it return the highest range from a tankful of gas.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Interior

8.0/10

The cabin of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has been thoroughly refreshed. You get an all-new dashboard design with two big floating display screens available in two different sizes. There is a separate cutout style design that houses the screens and the center AC vents. The AC vents have also been redesigned and they now resemble more of a turbine. Below these vent is a fine strip that houses the HVAC control. The center control has been given a minimalist look with the front being a covered storage space while the rear portion of the console houses the trackpad and the gear shifter. 

 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV cockpit area

The seats remain more or less the same in terms of comfort and size except for the change in a stitching pattern. That said, the real change that Mercedes-Benz has done is in the form of liberating more legroom and shoulder room in the rear seats. The rear legroom has grown by as much as 5.5-inches and you also get an optional adjustment for the rear seats to increase or decrease the space. Other than this the cargo space has also gone up and with the rear seats folded flat, you get 50.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Thus allowing you to squeeze in a couple of duffel bags or one cabin-sized trolley more than what you could in the previous model.

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

2021 Audi Q3 Premium

2021 BMW X1 SDrive28i

2021 Cadillac XT4 Luxury

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/ Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

39.0/ 55.9/ 41.0

39.6/ 56.7/ 40.0

41.9/ 55.6/ 40.4

39.4/ 57.0/ 40.4

Rear (Head/ Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.1/ 54.8/ 38.0

37.6/ 55.1/ 36.1

39.4/ 55.2/ 37.0

38.3/ 55.1/ 39.5

Cargo Capacity ft3

15.4

23.7

27.1

22.5

With the increase in cabin space especially at the rear, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is now able to beat both its German rivals but still falls short of the gargantuan cabin offered in the Cadillac XT4. The cargo space offered is best in the BMW X1 with 27.1 cubic feet of cargo space followed by the Audi Q3 with 23.7 cubic feet of the cargo area. Surprisingly the spacious Cadillac XT4 offers the second smallest cargo area of 22.5 cubic feet while the smallest cargo tag is still stuck on the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class with 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space on offer. Key highlights of the interior features include:

  • Dual-zone climate control
  • 14-way power-adjustable front seats w/ 3 memory settings
  • Remote start
  • MB-Tex leather upholstery
  • 64-color LED ambient lighting (available)
  • Heated and ventilated seats (available)
  • Leather upholstery (available)
  • Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror (available)
  • Adjustable rear seats (available)

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Infotainment System:

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class comes with two screen sizes for infotainment this year. The standard one is a 7.0-inch touchscreen unit while the other one is a 10.25-inch touchscreen unit. Irrespective of the screen size the infotainment system runs on Mercedes-Benz’s latest MBUX system. The system offers a lot of flexibility in terms of the way you can operate it. By that we mean apart from touch inputs you can also access the infotainment through voice command or the touchpad given on the center console. 

 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV infotainment screen

That said, we still found few niggles in the system, and until Mercedes-Benz irons them out we can’t pass this as the best infotainment in the business. Standard features include Apple Carplay and Android Auto, four USB type-C ports, HD Radio, etc. While optional features include navigation, in-car Wi-Fi, SiriusXM with 6-months all-access trial, wireless charging and NFC pairing, Burmester surround sound system, etc. Key highlights of the infotainment system include:

  • 7-inch touchscreen system
  • Voice control
  • Hands-free Bluetooth
  • Head-up display (available)
  • MBUX interior assistant (available)
  • Augmented video for navigation (available)

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Exterior

7.0/10

The next big change which we see in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is its exterior design. The new GLA-Class sports a more sophisticated and modern look. The front and rear overhangs have been reduced to give it a more proportioned look. The front fascia sees a lot of changes starting with an all-new headlight design and deletion of front fog lamps. The grille design has also been changed and you now have a much cleaner yet aggressive look. The side profile has also been changed a bit and the high beltline has gone to give it a more clean and sophisticated look. 

 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV 

The same story continues at the rear the taillights are now sharper similar to what has been seen on the other new Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The chrome strip joining the taillights has gone and the lower bumper has been given a clean look with functional air curtains at the back. To conclude all this has helped the 2021 GLA-Class SUV look better proportioned and gone is the stretched-out version-like look of the 2020 GLA-Class.

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

2021 Audi Q3 Premium

2021 BMW X1 SDrive28i

2021 Cadillac XT4 Luxury

Curb Weight (lbs)

N/A

3,916

3,713

3,847

Length (in.)

173.6

176.6

175.5

181.1

Width (in.)

72.2

72.8

71.7

76.7

Height (in.)

63.5

62.9

62.9

63.2

Ground Clearance (in.)

7.1

N/A

7.2

6.8

Wheelbase (in.)

107.4

105.5

105.1

109.4

Although the 2021 GLA-Class is shorter in length compared to the 2021 GLA-Class, it has grown wider by 1.2-inches, taller by 3.5-inches, and the wheelbase has grown by 1.1-inches. Even the ground clearance has gone up from 5.3-inches last year to 7.1-inches this year. But even though it manages to beat the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 in height and wheelbase comparison, the 2021 GLA-Class is no match to the Cadillac XT4’s dimensions. That said, in this comparison, the Audi Q3 happens to be the heaviest SUV weighing 3,916 pounds. Key highlights of exterior features include:

  • 18-inch twin 5-spoke alloy wheels
  • Power liftgate
  • Heated and powered side view mirrors
  • All-LED exterior lights
  • Power-folding side mirrors (available)
  • Panoramic sunroof (available)
  • 19-inch and 20-inch alloy wheels (available)
  • Auto-dimming driver’s side rearview mirror (available)

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Safety

7.0/10

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class hasn’t been rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS and neither has been the 2020 model. So using the score to base our judgment on the safety of the car isn’t possible here. But being a product from a reputed manufacturer we hardly doubt Mercedes-Benz would have cut corners in terms of safety and structural strength of the car. That said, the standard safety features list is underwhelming and the advanced safety features and driver-assist functions remain part of optional packages. Thus we strongly suggest getting those optional packages for your GLA. Key highlights of the safety features include:

  • Brake Assist
  • Blind-spot assist
  • Crosswind assist
  • Adaptive braking
  • Driver’s attention alert
  • Electronic traction system
  • Adaptive high-beam assist (available)
  • Evasive steering wheel assist (available)
  • Lane keep assist and lane change assist (available)
  • Speed limit assist (available)
  • Emergency stop assist (available)

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Competition

6.0/10

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Vs 2021 Audi Q3

With the recent updates, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has gotten better and better and we guess the GLA-Class has already surpassed the sleeping Audi Q3. The figures are evidence enough as the Audi Q3 isn’t faster, more fuel-efficient, or spacious than the 2021 GLA-Class. Except for the better cargo space the Audi Q3 has nothing to compete with the GLA-Class this time. So without a doubt, Mercedes-Benz has surely upped their game and the GLA-Class is now a better choice between the two.

2021 Audi Q3

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Vs 2021 BMW X1

The good old BMW X1 remains a strong contender and the last hurdle in the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class way of being the best German subcompact SUV. The reason we say so is that the BMW X1 is still faster, has better-stopping power, almost similar fuel economy figures, offers a similar interior space, and better cargo space compared to the 2021 GLA-Class. Sure GLA-Class has received a lot of changes but they still fall short in beating the BMW X1 at least on paper.

2021 BMW X1

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Vs 2021 Cadillac XT4

Except for the bigger cabin space and more power than the GLA-Class the Cadillac XT4 has hardly anything better to offer its customers. The GLA-Class is faster, more fuel-efficient, and overall a better-engineered product than the Cadillac XT4. Both claim to offer a luxurious SUV but we feel the GLA-Class is closer to that claim. So we would recommend giving the GLA-Class a look in case the Cadillac XT4 was on your shopping list as there is a very high probability that you might change your mind.

2021 Cadillac XT4

 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Final Verdict

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class could have hit the sweet spot of offering a well-rounded product with the complete redesign this year. The 2021 GLA-Class has a more spacious cabin, is quicker, looks more proportioned, and offers better ride comfort than the outgoing model. The handling and driving dynamics of the GLA-Class still need a few more tweaks but overall as a product, it is now perfect. Thus to conclude the 2021 GLA-Class has all potential to be the next ride of someone who is looking for a luxurious and spacious subcompact SUV that can keep pace with the crowd at the same time.