2021 Mercedes Benz GLA 54

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA: Quick but Detailed Walk Around This Sleek SUV

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA is certainly a stylish little guy. He’s the latest in what has been a busy year for Mercedes-Benz when it comes to their SUV and crossover lineup. We saw the new GLB roll into town, a compact city cruiser with a third row (it even has an AMG variant because why not). From there, Mercedes-Benz released the new midsize GLC, followed by the three-row GLE (we like the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe). After that, the larger GLS entered the fold with a whopping 500-plus lb-ft. of torque. 

Now the 2021 GLA, our favorite one in the bunch, joins the party. It’s an entry-level SUV (or “gateway” vehicle as Mercedes-Benz calls it) with an attractive price point. Here is a quick but detailed walk around the new GLA.

A Little Bigger For 2021

The new GLA is slightly taller and wider than before (+ 3.6 inches and + 1.2 inches, respectively). Combined with a longer wheelbase (+ 1.1 inches), the 2021 GLA now provides more front headroom and rear legroom. Likewise, cargo space increases as well.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA.
The redesigned GLA is more sporty and aerodynamic, with a little more room inside versus the outgoing model. Photo: MBUSA.

What Does The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA Cost?

The 2021 GLA 250 (front-wheel drive) starts at $36,230 with the GLA 250 4MATIC (all-wheel drive) starting at $38,230. Tack on another $1,050 for the destination charge.

What Engine Does 2021 GLA Have?

Under the hood of the new GLA is a 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder. The turbocharged engine creates 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. Attached to the engine is an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Mercedes-Benz says the new transmission is more efficient and smoother, especially at lower speeds.

The top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph. Zero to 60 time is 6.8 seconds or 6.6 seconds with the optional 4MATIC system.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA under the hood.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA under the hood. Photo: MBUSA.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA Fuel Economy

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA Fuel Economy
Engine & Drivetrain City Highway Combined
GLA 250 FWD 25 34 28
GLA 250 AWD 24 33 27

Styling Treatments & Interior Tech

Mercedes-Benz tried to muscle up the 2021 GLA with new side panels, roof rails, fog lights, and dual exhaust. We like the sloping roofline as it makes the GLA look sporty.

On the inside, the standard MBUX interface makes the GLA feel like a little rocket ship. The MBUX interface employs a powerful computer to support smartphone integration, natural language voice controls, and bright, colorful graphics. Everything runs through a dual touchscreen display.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA interior layout.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA interior layout. Photo: MBUSA.

Availability & Competitors

If you are shopping for a smaller, but still higher-end SUV like this, the GLA is not the only option. The Audi Q3 and BMW X1 are both solid offerings. While we like the new GLA, we recommend looking at both of those vehicles before making a final decision.

If, however, you are sold on the GLA, this free and easy search tool* will help get you started. Through that tool, you can see which Mercedes-Benz dealers in your area have GLA models in stock and what they are asking for them.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA Gallery

Photos & Source: MBUSA.

*Although always free to you, Automoblog and its partners may be compensated when you visit this link.