Mercedes-Benz GLA Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After spending more than a year searching, comparing, thinking, and searching some more I finally found the GLA I was looking for, (well almost). I was able to put the deal together Christmas week, (2019), which incidentally was not the time of year I wanted to play around with purchasing a vehicle. It just so happened to work out that way.

I would like to provide you nice people, who may be shopping for a GLA, with an honest review after having spent some time behind the wheel. You can test drive a car for an hour here and an hour there, however there’s nothing like spending a few hundred miles behind the wheel to really get to know the vehicle.

I believe the biggest challenge in finding the Mercedes you want is the list of options and optional packages available. I mean a garage door opener is an option? Ridiculous. I wanted about ten options on my vehicle however it was impossible to find that combination. Additionally, Mercedes plays the ridiculous game of "if you want that option you will have to buy it in a group with this option”, which you could care less about. Sadly, most of the extras I wanted would be standard on a Honda Civic, however if I wanted a Mercedes this was the game I had to play.

That being said, if you are thinking about purchasing a GLA get to know the list of options that are available for the specific year you are looking at. Make a list of everything you cannot live without. Don’t assume anything. Just for an example, with the 2018 GLA, the driver seat has power however the passenger’s seat does not. Silly I know, especially when you are talking about this caliber of a vehicle. So, if you want your spouse or partner to have the same power seat remember, it’s an option.

As I searched from Hawaii to Florida to Maine it was rare that I would find a vehicle with the options I wanted. As it was, when I finally settled, it was only because I shaved some items off my list. To be fair, I also wanted a white GLA “night edition”, or what some refer to as the “midnight edition”. For those who don’t know, the night edition has several black accents, spoke black rims, and more.

The second biggest challenge was dealing with the salespeople. I have never in my life witnessed more lies, more trickery, and more deceit than I have with these people. Never. Having spent over a year searching for my vehicle I talked with an incredible amount of salespeople. Some would not send the window spec sheet until I threatened to go somewhere else. They felt a “list” they sent in an email was “good enough”. One sales rep swore up and down the vehicle had one of the few options I had requested. A day before my wife and I were about to make the 600-mile drive to make the deal I asked the sales rep to take his phone out and send me a video of the interior of the vehicle. Sure enough, it did not have the option. I think my best story is the dealer who switched out the Continental tires with ones from Walmart a day before I made the trip. I caught it when the dealer sent me the photo of the car all “detailed and ready for me”. And the nonsense went on and on and on and on. I guess I just didn’t expect that from Mercedes.

Even at the dealer I finally purchased my car at, upon pick up, there was a small crack in the windshield that I have no doubt they were aware of. Thankfully I caught before driving off the lot. Now, even though the cracked has been “filled”, it’s right in my line of vision and it’s a crack in the windshield of a brand new car.

That being said this company needs to get their CEO off his or her butt and go through the motions or purchasing a car. It’s deplorable. The next time I purchase a car will be on one of those websites where you click to pay and it is delivered to your house five days later, lol!!

Let’s start with the cons, in no specific order. And I completely understand, what I may think of as “con” may in fact make no difference to you.

One of my must have options was apple car play. My daughter’s car has apple car play which I found to be a nice feature. The difference, to my surprise, is I need to plug my phone in to have the apps load on the screen while my daughter’s several year-old car connects automatically, wirelessly. Are you kidding me? This is a 2019 Mercedes!! First, there is NO ROOM for the phone in the car. Second, the cord connects at the bottom of the small console which is too small to hold the phone. The door of the console crushes the cord as there is no indent for the cord. It’s simply a ridiculous after-thought on Mercedes part. This was truly a letdown for me. Thankfully you can use the phone contacts portion of your iPhone without plugging it in.

We all know Mercedes ride rough. “Rough as a tank” they say. Well, make no mistake, nothing is truer when it comes to the GLA. I swear I feel every pebble on the road. To be fair this is addressed on many sites reviewing the GLAs, so I did expect it.

A remote start was a must for me. On my past vehicles it was a simple push of a button. I was very pleased when I learned I could start this car through an app. The Mercedes Me app is cute, something I will cover in my “pros”. I quickly found however starting the car is not quite as easy as I would have liked. First, you load the app. Then you need to push a button. Then you need to hold a button down for a couple of seconds. That is followed by a four-digit code. Unfortunately, you cannot leave the heated seats on which would allow the seats to warm up the next time you start the vehicle remotely. Equally amazing if you do not have a third of a tank of gas, or more, you cannot use the remote start. If all that wasn't bad enough when you proceed outside to open the door - the car shuts off. You just can't make this stuff up. How and why do we need to make something that could be so simple this complicated?

When you activate the turn signal on my friend’s Honda Civic a side camera displays that side of the vehicle on the info screen. Sadly, there is no side camera on the GLA.

On my wife’s Lexus I do like the headlights turning as you make a corner. The headlights on the GLA do not rotate. So far, I have not missed that option.

I am quite surprised at the floor mats. Again, are you kidding me? Did they go to the Home Depot and buy indoor outdoor carpeting? I would venture a guess these are the worst mats I have ever seen. I ended up purchasing those rubber tray mats because I can’t imagine the carpeted mats would last a year.

Speaking of being cheap, the seats aren’t leather. Seriously? Are they vinyl like a 1985 Chevy Impala you ask? Well yes however I understand the technical term is “leather-ette”. Under no circumstances whatsoever should Mercedes put “leather-ette” seats in one of their cars. Cloth seats yes. Leather-ette no.

For those of you who like to load the interior with toys .. forget about it. I had to put the Mercedes book that was squashed in the glove box in a small duffle bag I leave in the trunk. The glove box holds a pack of gum, my registration/insurance case, and a package of wet wipes. That’s about all the room there is. The console houses the usb outlets so you will not want to load much in there. The side pocket holds my lanyard and badge for work. And that my friend, is all the room there is. To be perfectly fair all small cars may have this limited storage.

Do you know that nice “thud” you hear when you close your door? Well there is no thud here. The GLA does not sound solid.

I was a little surprised there were no lighted door sills. Apparently, that is yet another option. I wonder if the seats will become an option in 2021? I can just see someone driving a GLA in the near future while sitting on a lawn chair because they opted against the seats.

I am a big fan of limiting buttons and controls on vehicles so we all can keep our eyes on the road where they belong. Unfortunately the temperature and fan buttons on the GLA are extremely small and take more time to find and operate than necessary. They need to be larger and easier to reach. Additionally, the buttons truly feel cheap and lightweight.

The “info screen” is a nice size however it seems like it was yet another after thought. One person said it best when he looked in my car and said, “Is that your iPad?” The screen should be set in the dash, or at least not made to look like an afterthought.

One of the reasons why I downsized to the GLA was to stop wasting our planet’s gas. Well the oil companies should be pleased; I’m still wasting gas. At less than 25 miles per gallon I am getting less miles per gallon than our ten-year-old six-cylinder Lexus. Sad.

I personally like quiet cars. I even purchase tires that are said to be quieter than others. This car is too noisy. Between the wind and engine there is something wrong. This little car should not make this much noise on the road. I should be grateful I upgraded the sound system so I can drown out the noise with music.

And though this is a very minor nuisance, you cannot fold down the driver's side sun visor using your left hand because there is no indent to do so.

When I noticed the entire roof appeared to be like one big, black piece of glass I was excited. I assumed the sunroof would yield a large opening. I pictured myself cruising down the coast in a “semi-convertible” as the fresh air ran through my hair. (Actually, I don’t have any hair on my head so that part was just a dream). Well the idea quickly faded as the roof may be panoramic, but the opening is not. Unfortunately, in the end, a very small part of the roof retracts leaving a lot to be desired.

I paid extra for the garage door opener option. If there was anything that should be a standard feature in the car it should the opener. What's worse than paying for this extra? You guessed it. It doesn't work on all garage doors, including mine! I have a Sears Craftsman that is 'not compatible' according to Mercedes. How about your nice people at Mercedes send me a check for the money I wasted on this option! Now I must clip the Sears opener on the visor like we did at the turn of the century.

I know by now you are probably saying to yourself, “Wow, this dude really hates the car!” I really don’t. I’m disappointed with Mercedes on many levels, but I am far from disliking the vehicle.

Okay, ‘nuff of the negatives. What are some things I like about this little quirky car?

For one, I have an upgraded sound system and I must say … “Wow!”. Now I have not heard their standard system so I honestly cannot say how much better, if at all, this upgrade is. However, the Harmon Kardon system is just perfect.

The handling is very nice. The GLA corners beautifullygla . The turning radius is small and tight. Backing up is easy. Braking is exceptional.

I was a little worried about the seats and if they would be comfortable. I was, and still am, impressed. An assortment of controls allows you to make the seat as comfortable and form fitting as you like. I like how far back you can slide the seats. Steer wheel adjustment is equally impressive.

What is important here is all the safety features packed into this little car. The rear-view camera offers a clear, crisp, wide video even at night. The eight-inch monitor is the perfect size for this car’s cabin. The lane departure warning, adaptive cruise, and blind spot monitoring are all impressive and appreciated. However again, take nothing for granted. If you want these options be sure and comb the window sticker to ensure your car has what you want.

The hands-free lift gate is nice, when it works. For me it’s a matter of putting your foot exactly where it’s needed to trigger the gate. I think in time it will become easier.

The Mercedes Me app is clean and simple, which I like. I know what you are saying, “Someday we will need an app to go to the bathroom”. This app however provides you with everything from how much gas you have in your tank to whether your doors are locked to whether you should stop at the next restroom. I was a little concerned at the dealership when the Mercedes rep who was explaining the app said, “It’s free for now”. I got a surprise for you, I thought, I’m not paying for this app anytime in the near future, lol!

In closing, I like the car. The white midnight edition is striking with its black spoke wheels and accents. I have received many, many compliments. I’m sorry I could not get the handful of options I wanted. Buying the car was a nightmare I will never go through again.

In comparing it to a Honda Civic, for example, is it worth $10-$15K more? Well, I would like to think, though the Civic has many more features, the Mercedes engine will outlast and outperform the Honda. I would also like to think this vehicle will hold its value better. Plus, at my age, I wanted something that looked a little better than a civic. Is it as nice as our ten-year-old Lexus? It certainly does not feel like it. I think what we have here is the least expensive Mercedes you can buy for those of us who want to try a Mercedes.

If you are thinking about purchasing a GLA I want to repeat what I said earlier. Please review all the options and optional packages this vehicle has and highlight all the ones you cannot live without. This is not a car you can simply walk into a dealership and purchase off the lot. If you do you will be very, very sorry at some of the features you will be missing. Take your time. I understand Enterprise Rental Cars is now renting this vehicle through their “prestige line up”. I strongly suggest you rent one for the weekend and take a ride down the coast. After a few days and a few hundred miles you will be a little more confident as to whether this car is, or is not, for you.

Thank you for our time. And remember … Enjoy the ride, it goes by fast.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
365 Posts
Excellent narrative!
I quite agree that premium brand salespeople just have better suits but otherwise are typically no better than any other brand. Alas same goes for their service departments. Herb Chambers' Lexus was a pleasant notable exception.
I also quite agree on options/packages. You really do need to load up the 250 to a very good degree but don't require absolutely everything. We don't like cornering headlights either so passed on that one. We do like LED headlights so went out of our way to find one with same in MY2018 (Benz seems to be a year slower to roll out options than competitors; we're currently awaiting MY2021 for a touchscreen).
A test drive over your typical roads is highly recommended. All design is compromise so there are nuances to competing models that appeal to some and not to others. Case in point I thought the 250 might have too stiff a suspension for my wife over say the Audi Q3 but it soaked up our irregular potholed roads just fine and the steering response was better. And of course nicer low profile CUV looks and center of gravity composure compared to a pure SUV.
Thanks again!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,669 Posts
One other note on a test drive ... Take your normal traveling luggage with you. Make sure it fits. This is a smaller vehicle than you may think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Excellent narrative!
I quite agree that premium brand salespeople just have better suits but otherwise are typically no better than any other brand. Alas same goes for their service departments. Herb Chambers' Lexus was a pleasant notable exception.
I also quite agree on options/packages. You really do need to load up the 250 to a very good degree but don't require absolutely everything. We don't like cornering headlights either so passed on that one. We do like LED headlights so went out of our way to find one with same in MY2018 (Benz seems to be a year slower to roll out options than competitors; we're currently awaiting MY2021 for a touchscreen).
A test drive over your typical roads is highly recommended. All design is compromise so there are nuances to competing models that appeal to some and not to others. Case in point I thought the 250 might have too stiff a suspension for my wife over say the Audi Q3 but it soaked up our irregular potholed roads just fine and the steering response was better. And of course nicer low profile CUV looks and center of gravity composure compared to a pure SUV.
Thanks again!
Thank you!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
One other note on a test drive ... Take your normal traveling luggage with you. Make sure it fits. This is a smaller vehicle than you may think.
Always good advice for all of us travelers!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I agree, didn't need the 4 matic either. It will cost us big time over the years in gas and repairs ...
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,669 Posts
4 wheel drive tends to assist stability in cross winds and does aid in wet conditions as well as ice and snow.

In the case of the 45 it helps may down power as well.

You may not appreciate the 4matic but it is working to your advantage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
4 wheel drive tends to assist stability in cross winds and does aid in wet conditions as well as ice and snow.

In the case of the 45 it helps may down power as well.

You bay not appreciate the 4matic but it is working to your advantage.
That's what I have been told, and I want to believe you. Thanks for the reassurance I did the right thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
I am brand new to GLA ownership and new to the forum.Thank you for this extremely helpful and informative post. I hear you on options, and I got extremely lucky. I wanted white on black, which was very easy to find. As for options, I really wanted the panoramic roof, Harmon Kardon sound system, LED lights, and the must haves were heated seats, keyless go, Apple CarPlay, and garage door opener. Somehow, I managed to find it ALL, in my state, brand new, AND $13K below MSRP, and I couldn't be happier. On a side note, the MB-Tex (leatherette) is a selling point for me, as it doesn't show wear forever. I owned a 1984 240D with over 200k miles at 25 years old, and perfect MB-Tex upholstery without any wear and tear. My grandparents had a Mercedes when I was little, and that car lasted forever and the MB-Tex held up just like mine. I want a long-lasting upholstery that stays looking new and holds up to many years of use. Leather shows terrible wear on driver's seats very quickly, and it's not for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Hello Shannon!
Thanks for the kind words. I have the exact same color combo as you along with the same options. Only difference is I have some black accents. I am glad to hear your family has had good luck with Benz as this is my first one. I was also overly pleased to hear your view on the leather-ette seats! And as for the upgraded sound system, let me just say, WOW! One of the few options I would have liked was power folding mirrors, however they are far from a "necessity". I wish you all the best in your new vehicle. You worked hard and deserve it! Please enjoy!
Please be safe with regard to the pandemic. Thanks for writing. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Hello Shannon!
Thanks for the kind words. I have the exact same color combo as you along with the same options. Only difference is I have some black accents. I am glad to hear your family has had good luck with Benz as this is my first one. I was also overly pleased to hear your view on the leather-ette seats! And as for the upgraded sound system, let me just say, WOW! One of the few options I would have liked was power folding mirrors, however they are far from a "necessity". I wish you all the best in your new vehicle. You worked hard and deserve it! Please enjoy!
Please be safe with regard to the pandemic. Thanks for writing. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask!
Thank you so much Mr. Wayne! It's a gorgeous combination and these are awesome options. Love that black package too. Looks very sharp on the white GLA.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top