2021 Mercedes Benz GLA 220d Review – Sophisticated and Modern!

Mercedes-Benz GLA is an entry-level luxury car which is a prestigious investment to many of the Indians. The last-gen GLA gave the sales result of 10% of all Mercedes-Benz cars that was sold in India from 2014 to 2019. The debut of this second-gen model has gotten delayed in India since its global debut took place in late 2019 due to the pandemic. It is finally here now, but acquiring the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d is a matter of choice between the high price and a genuine Mercedes experience. Read our review to get a good idea about the changes and modernizations made in this new version!

2021 mercedes benz gla 220d review

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d Dimensions, Styling, Architecture

The revised version of Mercedes-Benz GLA shares its MFA2 front-wheel-drive architecture with new A-Class Limousine. This SUV is 14mm shorter, 30mm wider and 104mm taller compared to the outgoing GLA. Due to the 46mm increase in track widths, the GLA does not have the lanky, jacked-up hatchback look and has a proportioned stance. It has an upright cabin. There is lot of usable space inside. It looks very sophisticated but does not look like a traditional SUV, instead it is very modern and new!

The GLA 220d is styled similar to all the other Mercedes SUVs. The LED headlamps makes it look like a member of the Mercedes family with the concave grille, the large Mercedes Logo, dotted with chrome on the top AMG Line version and wide air dam are all the traits of Mercedes. More restrained bodywork can be seen with simple surfaces and minimal cuts. The rear-end has a wide two-part LED taillamps with sharp sill below the rear windscreen.

The GLA 220d 4Matic has the richness you would like to have from other Mercedes and the AMG Line design pack. The straked bumper elements, the subtle chrome accents and the faux exhausts and vents at the rear increase its ambience. The unique 19-inch AMG wheels in gunmetal grey give a special look to the GLA.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d, 220d 4Matic Interiors, Features

The GLA follows the Mercedes tradition but at the same time, the new changes in the interiors are marvelous. Mercedes-Benz has recreated much of the luxury of other cars in this version. The layout is highlighted with a pair of 10.25-inch MBUX screens with crisp graphics with voice assistance and easy functionality. The centre stack is wide, holding a touchpad and toggle switches with tasteful ambient lightings. The tubular air vents give damped and tactile feel like the other cars of this brand. Also, the controls and switchgear are similar to other versions.

Many of these features are also present in the new A-Class along with some other new distinct features. The layered dash layout found in the A-Class has been replaced with a flat surface with a contrasting panel on the side of the passenger seat. Tubular design is also different for the door handles with a cold stainless steel finish.

On the lower side, the piano-style switches should have been less plasticky and also the footwell is missing the softness.

2021 mercedes-benz gla 220d

The Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d AMG Line has an all-black theme with brushed aluminium highlights, contrasting stitching, well-placed suede patches and a flat bottomed steering wheel. It is a traditional luxury car with textured wood and beige which adds to the spacious look. The large dual-pane sunroof is a bit taking us astray from the AMG Line feel. There are large storage spaces, especially at the centre console with a wireless charging pad and under the armrest. The supportive and fully powered front seats are too stiffly padded. There are some seat kinetic features which are the mostly liked by the admirers of GLE. You can make minor adjustments to the seatback and base to avoid feeling stiff during and after a long journey.

A 30mm longer wheelbase has freed up about 114mm of rear legroom. Elbow room and shoulder room are a bit tight fit. The bulged door cards make ingress/egress a bit difficult. Another good thing about this car is that even tall passengers could have comfortable drive with a lot of legroom in the front seats. The under-thigh support and softness of the cushioning could have been a bit more better A separate climate zone would have been preferable, a two-zone climate control on offer is present, otherwise.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d Engine, Gearbox, Performance

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d and 220d 4Matic have the same engine-gearbox combinations of the A-Class Limousine. The 1.3-litre turbo of the petrol is co-designed with Renault-Nissan and it makes 165PS and 250 Nm with seven-speed DCT. The diesel is OM654 unit with higher 190PS and 400 Nm tune. The diesel paired with the AWD system on the top-spec GLA 220d 4Matic has an extraordinary performance when compared to the detuned A-Class. Mild vibrations at the pedals are felt in the first two gears which are not felt in isolation. Some diesel clatter also is felt in the cabin at low revs. If you get over these, an undiesel-like growl past 3,500 rpm is felt.

Mercedes-benz gla 220d engine

You will get a calm feeling in your daily driving process as revs are kept well below 2,000rpm with the eight-speed DCT. A surge of torque happens but by switching to the sport mode, the motor gets rid of this character easily. The gearbox holds revs longer such that you have powerband to handle. The engine brake may be quite aggressive and put you in to trouble on downshifts. The paddle shifters gives you extra control if you need

One among the areas that need improvement is that the DCT which holds downshifts more longer than needed in the Eco and Comfort modes which makes slowing down a bit tough. Shifts in the lower gears become uncomfortable and jerky at times. The OM 654 is the top performer in terms of fuel efficiency tests. It has a combined fuel efficiency of 14.72 kmpl for FWD and 14.32 kmpl for AWD. This is the reason for the high pricing of GLA.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d, 220d 4Matic Riding Experience

With a very functional motor, the Mercedes GLA moves with ease. The 4Matic AWD has only 20% torque go to the rear wheels which increases 30% in the Sport mode. This assistance is not needed for regular driving but helps when you need grip in situations like accelerating or going through a twisty turn.

The large tyre sizes and well-judged suspension helps it to handle the ups and downs in the highway very easily as it has over 180mm of ground clearance. As for regular city use, the GLA feels a bit stiff on bad patches of road and thuds are audible over bumps and potholes because of the 50-profile tyres on the AMG Line version. But the 18-inch wheels soften the rough edges. The 4Matic version has an off-road mode that splits torque 50:50 between the two axles. We suggest that it is best not to try the off-road mode because of the low profile wheel and tyre combination and the crossover shape.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d, 220d 4Matic Safety

The India-spec has an active braking function with the brake assist function which is already present in the other Mercedes cars. The safety features include seven airbags one of them being a knee bag, a bonnet that pops up for the protection of the pedestrians, pre-safe system and TPMS. The AWD version, additionally, hill-descent control is available. All these features make it a completely safe vehicle to drive.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d, 220d 4Matic Verdict

Mercedes-Benz GLA is costlier than rivals like BMW X1 and Volvo XC40. The high pricing is reasonable for all its special features. 4Matic diesel is nearly Rs 50 lakh but that is for the comfort we get while traveling in it. Even though the experience of a more pliant ride and aggressive look is missing, the capable diesel drivetrain and the best interior features make the GLA a complete Mercedes SUV at a reasonable price.

Key Specifications

Fuel Type Petrol / Diesel

Dimensions (L x W x H): 4436 x 2020 x 1611

Engine displacement:1332cc / 1950cc

Transmission: Automatic / Automatic

Maximum Power: (ps) 163 / 190

Chassis type: Monocoque

Seating capacity: 5


Mileage And Performance

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d 4Matic

0 to 100 kmph – 7.51s

30 to 50 kmph – 1.5s

50 to 70 kmph – 1.9s

60 to 80 kmph – 2.1s

100 to 0 kmph – 40.5m, 3.1s

City fuel efficiency – 13.36 kmpl

Highway fuel efficiency – 17.20 kmpl

Overall fuel efficiency – 14.32 kmpl

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d

0 to 100 kmph – 7.67s

30 to 50 kmph – 1.7s

50 to 70 kmph – 2.1s

60 to 80 kmph – 2.1s

100 to 0 kmph – 40.8, 3.3s

City fuel efficiency – 13.38 kmpl

Highway fuel efficiency – 18.14 kmpl

Overall fuel efficiency – 14.72 kmpl


Rs 42.10 Lakhs for the petrol Mercedes-Benz GLA

Rs 43.7 Lakhs for the Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d

Rs 46.7 Lakhs for Mercedes-Benz GLA 4Matic diesel

Are you ready to go on a sophisticated and comfortable drive in the new Mercedes-Benz GLA? Rush to the nearest showroom to book this prestigious SUV!

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