So I've decided to play a bit of devil's advocate in this post. I've been reading some reviews that don't think so highly of the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Here I'll lay out a lot of that criticism and see what you guys think about it.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $37,200, and for that price there comes an expectation of a certain level of luxury and comfort. The same expectation can be held for any car that wears the 3-point star. Similarly priced offerings from other companies offer quite a bit more in terms of equipment, driving experience, and quality though. Examples are the Kia Sportage, Audi Q3, Buick Encore and Range Rover Evoque.
So what are these issues with the GLA? When it comes to design the GLA is pretty plain inside and out. Take a look at the Evoque and the Sportage. These cars draw quite a bit more attention on the street than the GLA does. The GLA's design is limited by the platform its built on. A fact that is plain to see when you compare the GLA with the Infiniti QX30 that rides on the same platform. On the inside the GLA uses many plastics and synthetic leathers that you wouldn't associate with a typical Mercedes-Benz. The cabin also is a bit tight with the rear seat and cargo areas falling victim to the plunging roofline. And then there is the road noise issue.
When it comes to driving, the GLA has been criticized for its 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. I've heard complaints that it will start the car in 2nd or even 3rd gear from a stop, which obviously isn't a good thing.
For me it comes down to one question, "Would you still have bought the Mercedes-Benz GLA if it was the exact same car, but didn't wear the 3-point star badge."