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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


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."
 

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a very thoughtful post. Have to admit I am having second thoughts but in the end I will more than likely go with the GLA. Riding in the Infiniti was an eye opener. Much quieter, better ride and better Navigation unit. It seems Infiniti gives more bang for the buck as well. Problem is it just does not make my heart go pitter patter. Caveat, I rode in a QX50 which is bigger. When the QX30 hits the dealers it may be a game changer. Hope not because I am so MB prejudiced. Come on MB, get your act together. Fix this thing for the next model year or suffer the consequences.
 

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Good review. I feel that MB's quality in general has started to degrade for years now. The name just doesn't live up to the quality anymore. However, I've heard good and bad reviews towards the GLA (more bad than good). As this compact SUV evolves it will get better but these early generation models will have many problems to start.
 

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I definitely have had some of these thoughts. I think its important to really take a look at the other options out there, and make sure that you aren't putting too much weight on the badge. The quality should match up with the badge, the badge should not dictate the quality.
 

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I test drove an Evoque and, to my taste, the interior of the GLA has more appeal. I also much preferred the GLA's handling. I will concede that the GLA's dual-clutch is clunky at low speed, and visibility is sacrificed for styling and rigidity. I still see nothing else that I'd rather own.
 
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I test drove an Evoque and, to my taste, the interior of the GLA has more appeal. I also much preferred the GLA's handling. I will concede that the GLA's dual-clutch is clunky at low speed, and visibility is sacrificed for styling and rigidity. I still see nothing else that I'd rather own.
The Evoque is not really a valid competitor to the GLA. A similarly equipped Evoque is $5000+ more than a GLA.
 

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all dual clutches are clunky at low speed. its a function of the twin clutch plates trying to do what your left foot used to..honda is experimenting with a TC in their DCT
 

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I'm a newbie to the forum and to MB. Just ordered 2 gla fwd (his and hers) for deliver in June. I tested the X1, QX50 and Q3. No doubt, the QX50 was luxurious and handled well, but I didn't want a V6 with 17/25 mpg. The X1 also handled really well, but the GLA, to me, is a better looking car inside and out compared to X1. I test drove the GLA 4matic, and I really liked the handling and agility. I would have liked a bit more headroom in the front. I went with panoramic roof, heated seats, nav, blind spot assist, and back up camera. Really looking forward to June!
 
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I'm a newbie to the forum and to MB. Just ordered 2 gla fwd (his and hers) for deliver in June. I tested the X1, QX50 and Q3. No doubt, the QX50 was luxurious and handled well, but I didn't want a V6 with 17/25 mpg. The X1 also handled really well, but the GLA, to me, is a better looking car inside and out compared to X1. I test drove the GLA 4matic, and I really liked the handling and agility. I would have liked a bit more headroom in the front. I went with panoramic roof, heated seats, nav, blind spot assist, and back up camera. Really looking forward to June!
You're going to love them!
 

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I strongly prefer driving my GLA versus my wife's GLK. Seats are more comfortable and it handles better. Only thing I like better in the GLK is the 300 HP V6.
 
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Good review. I feel that MB's quality in general has started to degrade for years now. The name just doesn't live up to the quality anymore. However, I've heard good and bad reviews towards the GLA (more bad than good). As this compact SUV evolves it will get better but these early generation models will have many problems to start.
On balance, I do think my GLA45 AMG is living up to its badge.

There are pluses and minuses to the GLA (which I've covered in another thread), but then there is really no perfect car and every car is some sort of engineering compromise.
I would expect that a high end marque would mitigate the degree of compromise, though.

In response to Tiger's remarks about M-B's quality in general degrading for several years, I bought a 1978 300 SD new and kept it for 13 years, 180k mi.
The diesel combustion system and the body structure were rock solid all that time. The MB Tex upholstery wore like iron. I loved that car and have many fond memories of it.
But, on the flip side, there were many things that definitely challenged M-B's reputation for quality and reliability, and ultimately my tolerance:

Transmission only had first gear and reverse soon after I took delivery.
Throttle linkage came unthreaded.
Power antenna failures.
Sunroof cable rattles and breakage.
UV degradation of dashboard and parcel shelf.
Foam padding on ventilated front door panels disintegrating into sticky mess.
Camshaft lobes premature wear.
Underdash padding retainer clips came loose and wouldn't refasten; dealer used sheet metal screws to fix.
Coolant reservoir leaks at seam.
Oil pan too low, vulnerable to damage.
Clear coat on alloy wheels flaking off.
Metallic paint oxidized after a few years, needed new paint job.
...and more.

So, in my opinion, the M-B reputation for quality (or reliability, at least) is somewhat of a myth. But it doesn't diminish the appeal to me of the badge appreciably.

After disposing of my '78, I've often thought about getting another M-B, but I've generally not liked the looks of them as much as my '78 (and they've gotten so much more expensive!).
They exhibit less of the aesthetics of engineering excellence than before.
But the GLA45 AMG definitely caught my eye, and so far (after 4 1/2 weeks) I'm happy I got it.
 
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On balance, I do think my GLA45 AMG is living up to its badge.

There are pluses and minuses to the GLA (which I've covered in another thread), but then there is really no perfect car and every car is some sort of engineering compromise.
I would expect that a high end marque would mitigate the degree of compromise, though.

In response to Tiger's remarks about M-B's quality in general degrading for several years, I bought a 1978 300 SD new and kept it for 13 years, 180k mi.
The diesel combustion system and the body structure were rock solid all that time. The MB Tex upholstery wore like iron. I loved that car and have many fond memories of it.
But, on the flip side, there were many things that definitely challenged M-B's reputation for quality and reliability, and ultimately my tolerance:

Transmission only had first gear and reverse soon after I took delivery.
Throttle linkage came unthreaded.
Power antenna failures.
Sunroof cable rattles and breakage.
UV degradation of dashboard and parcel shelf.
Foam padding on ventilated front door panels disintegrating into sticky mess.
Camshaft lobes premature wear.
Underdash padding retainer clips came loose and wouldn't refasten; dealer used sheet metal screws to fix.
Coolant reservoir leaks at seam.
Oil pan too low, vulnerable to damage.
Clear coat on alloy wheels flaking off.
Metallic paint oxidized after a few years, needed new paint job.
...and more.

So, in my opinion, the M-B reputation for quality (or reliability, at least) is somewhat of a myth. But it doesn't diminish the appeal to me of the badge appreciably.

After disposing of my '78, I've often thought about getting another M-B, but I've generally not liked the looks of them as much as my '78 (and they've gotten so much more expensive!).
They exhibit less of the aesthetics of engineering excellence than before.
But the GLA45 AMG definitely caught my eye, and so far (after 4 1/2 weeks) I'm happy I got it.
Have you considered what a comparable vehicle from a rival brand would be like though? Do you the an X3 or Q3 would be a more enjoyable experience in the end?
 

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The X3 and Q3 aren't as aesthetically appealing to me as the GLA. My shortlist included the Porsche Macan and Range Rover Evoque.

I looked at the Porsche and I liked the interior of the Macan better than the GLA. But later I was not able to test drive one when I went to the nearest dealer as they were all spoken for. Anyway, the Macan would have been significantly more expensive optioned out the way I would have liked.

I did test drive the Evoque and was impressed by the steering, handling and pick-up, but it did feel like a heavy car. The killer was that the dealer would not take special orders (I wanted specific color and option combinations that are not typically on the lot) and the salesman said they weren't bringing over the upgraded engine to the US for 2015.

I saw the Discovery Sport at the LA Auto Show and was impressed, but by that time I made up my mind to go with the GLA 45.
 

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I wouldn't put the listed vehicles in the first post a direct competitor to the GLA.

First the GLA starts at $32k (in the US) and the Kia Sportage starts at $22k. The Encore starts $24k and the Evoque starts at $41k. Sure you can option out one to match the pricepoint of the other but that isn't the best in terms of comparing.

The Kia isn't considered a luxury car so that really shouldn't even be in the conversation.

Encore is like the best selling compact SUV/crossover in the US I think, some dealers can't keep them in the lot mainly due to it being somewhat luxurious and being in such a good pricepoint but I do think it isn't that good looking though that is subjective.

The GLAs true competition would be the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Lexus NX.

Is MB living up to it's badge with the GLA? I don't know, it's hard to tell, I think you will find the answer with the CLA better. I've read and heard many complaints about it from MB aficionados but that happens when you make a new entry level vehicle. In a world where car prices just keeps going up and you all of a sudden have to introduce one at a lower pricepoint of what used to be their entry level vehicle, then some corners has to cut and there will be an automatic stigma from others even before seeing the car in person, it's just the world we live in.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm just nervous to buy a vehicle that isn't up to standard with quality. Land rover has a terrible reputation. I'm looking at the q3 and the nx as well.
 

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Encore is like the best selling compact SUV/crossover in the US I think, some dealers can't keep them in the lot mainly due to it being somewhat luxurious and being in such a good pricepoint but I do think it isn't that good looking though that is subjective.
To paraphrase Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, the encore is an ugly little spud IMHO.
 

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Love my GLA45 AMG Edition 1. Switched from a 2012 AudiS4. I have a 1985 500 SEL in my vehicle history. So far I am very pleased, the build quality seems great and it is more fun to drive than any car I have owned. (~4k miles) Infiniti's offerings just seem bland to me.This car gets so many compliments, inside and out, from all different age groups / demographics.

The biggest disappointment with the car is the sound system. Sounds a bit tinny compared to the Bang and Olufsen I had in my S4. The only thing I want to upgrade so far.
 

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Love my GLA45 AMG Edition 1. Switched from a 2012 AudiS4. I have a 1985 500 SEL in my vehicle history. So far I am very pleased, the build quality seems great and it is more fun to drive than any car I have owned. (~4k miles) Infiniti's offerings just seem bland to me.This car gets so many compliments, inside and out, from all different age groups / demographics.

The biggest disappointment with the car is the sound system. Sounds a bit tinny compared to the Bang and Olufsen I had in my S4. The only thing I want to upgrade so far.
Did you go with the standard sound system or did you upgrade to the better one?
 

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Thread makes no sense to me...

You really have to drive this car to understand it.

I drove a new Macan Turbo about a half-hour before I drove my GLA45.

I had driven a non-turbo Macan (and owned other Porsches), but I had never driven a Mercedes at all.

The Porsche was ho-hum to drive, did everything expected of it, almost like a taciturn butler.

The AMG literally blew me away. I chortled with glee as I drove it, a sh*t-eating grin plastered on my face.

Yes, the fit and finish of the Porsche was better than the AMG.
Yes, the Porsche had more goodies.

...but, at the end of the deal I had saved $30K, my wife made a huge sigh of relief and I buzzed away with that sh*t-eating grin that I can't seem to shake off overtime I drive this bad girl.
 
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