Adequate, acceptable, fair: these best describe the GLA. They’re not terms that we should be using to describe any kind of premium product.
Nor are they particularly flattering for a car that Mercedes expects us to pay more for than either of its German rivals, let alone much cheaper – and better – cars from volume brands.
The power of the Mercedes brand gives the GLA a good start in life, and it’s a car of sufficient quality and style to do credit to that brand. But its cabin is a bit short on space, its ride and handling are a bit short on finesse and its powertrain lacks good manners compared with rivals.
The bigger letdown for us is how little the GLA brings to the crossover class. This car seems unadventurous and predictable – the A-Class on stilts that was the easiest and cheapest thing for Stuttgart to make, and absolutely no more.
For a premium product, that’s a telling shortcoming.