Crossovers are having a moment right now, and like all classifications of vehicle, the term crossover brings to mind certain attributes that define the vehicle type. A crossover is somewhere between a SUV and a sedan or hatch back. That means it is smaller than an SUV, hitting amid point between SUV and sedan ride height, and providing drivers with a good amount of cargo space. All-in-all, the Mercedes-Benz GLA is more akin to a compact hatchback with some extra ground clearance and available AWD, than a true crossover.
When compared to the competition, the GLA surpasses many in handling and fuel economy, but comes with significantly less interior space and a lower seating position. The GLA comes with 17.2 cubic feet of trunk space, which really isn't much better than what you would find from a sedan. With the seats folded down, the GLA's cargo space is actually less than a VW Golf's.
It's not just a lack of cargo space that makes me question the GLA's classification as a crossover though. The interior generally feels quite confining. The legroom up front is fine, but headroom is a bit less abundant. Visibility really isn't great in the GLA. The seating height is low (which is counter to the reason many people would like a CUV instead of a hatchback or a sedan), the A-pillars are aggressively raked, and the rear-quarter view is compromised.
Ultimately, the GLA offers more ground clearance than most small SUVs, but when it comes to space for passengers and cargo, and the raised ride height that SUV shoppers are searching for, the GLA is surpassed by many of its competitors SUVs and wagons.