More from Motoring

The second-generation Mercedes GLA isn’t just a luxury SUV; it’s a symbol of achievement. Like the ambitious entrepreneurs on shows like Shark Tank, the GLA caters to those who’ve earned their stripes and are ready for a taste of premium motoring. It’s not just about the badge; the GLA’s practical SUV form factor tackles Indian roads with ease, making it as comfortable cruising down city streets as it is conquering open highways.

Our drive with the GLA went beyond the usual test drive routes. We embarked on an early morning journey along Pune’s serene MG Road, Maharashtra, savouring a delicious breakfast while experiencing the car’s capabilities in the cool morning light. This tranquil setting provided the perfect canvas to explore what the GLA truly offers.

Mercedes GLA 220d

The inside of the GLA 220d presents ample room that seems elegant. Even though it has a smaller footprint than other SUVs, Mercedes has cleverly made the most of every available area to create a luxurious interior. A modern and streamlined dashboard with a 10.25-inch central touchscreen and a 7-inch digital instrument cluster sits at the centre of the cabin.

The GLA reveals a cabin that punches above its weight in terms of space and quality. While not the largest in its class, the Mercedes makes strategic use of every inch, offering comfortable seating for four adults. Up front, the driver and passenger are treated to well-bolstered seats that provide excellent support, even on spirited drives. The headroom and legroom are generous, even for taller individuals, ensuring fatigue-free journeys. The leather upholstery feels supple and plush, adding a touch of luxury to the experience. The fit and finish throughout the cabin are exemplary, showcasing the brand’s commitment to meticulous craftsmanship. Every button, switch, and panel feels solid and operates with satisfying precision.

Mercedes GLA 220d
Plush cabin in the GLA 220d, with Apple CarPlay connectivity

The cabin’s atmosphere is further enhanced by an ambient lighting system offering 64 colour options, allowing for personalised mood settings. Alongside these luxury touches, practical comforts abound, including optional heated and ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof for a light-filled interior, and 10-way electrically adjustable front seats with memory settings.

While the front seats are undeniably comfortable, it’s the rear quarters that are likely to hold the most appeal for Indian buyers, where families often prioritize rear passenger comfort. The GLA, thankfully, doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The rear legroom is surprisingly good, even with the front seats pushed back, allowing adults to sit comfortably without feeling cramped. The headroom is decent as well, although taller passengers might experience slight brushing against the roof if they sit upright for extended periods. The rear seats themselves are well-cushioned and offer decent under-thigh support, ensuring a comfortable ride even on longer journeys.

Emerging from the GLA’s luxurious interior, you’re met with an exterior that echoes its premium character while carving its own distinct identity. Gone are the rounded edges of its predecessor, replaced by a sharper, more athletic stance. The front profile commands attention with a bold new grille flanked by sleek, angular headlights. The diamond-pattern grille, a signature Mercedes touch, adds a touch of elegance, while the LED DRLs running seamlessly into the headlamps create a piercing gaze.

Mercedes GLA 220d

Moving sideways, the sculpted lines and dynamic creases accentuate the GLA’s sporty nature. The sleek shoulder line flows elegantly from the front to the rear, while the pronounced wheel arches hint at its capable handling. Depending on your choice, the 18-inch or 19-inch alloy wheels further amplify the visual dynamism, perfectly complementing the car’s overall proportions. The rakish windshield adds a touch of coupé-like flair, while the chrome accents around the windows and door handles enhance the premium feel.

Rounding off the design is the captivating rear profile. The LED taillights, with their distinctive graphic design, echo the shape of the headlights, creating a sense of visual cohesion. The diffuser and integrated chrome exhaust tips add a touch of sportiness, hinting at the potent powertrain nestled beneath the hood. Overall, the Mercedes-GLA’s exterior design strikes a perfect balance between sophistication and dynamism, making it a head-turner on any road. Its contemporary styling speaks volumes about the driver’s discerning taste and appreciation for both comfort and performance.

Under the hood of the GLA 220d lies a refined powerhouse: a 2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine churning out a potent 188 bhp and 40.78 kgm of torque. This potent combination translates to effortless acceleration, allowing you to smoothly navigate city traffic and confidently overtake on highways. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox seamlessly complements the engine’s character, delivering crisp and timely shifts that ensure optimal power delivery. Whether navigating bustling cityscapes or cruising on open roads, the GLA 220d never feels underpowered, always ready to respond with eager acceleration when needed.

Mercedes GLA 220d
A 2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine makes 188 bhp

But performance isn’t just about raw power; the GLA 220d impresses with its refinement as well. The diesel engine purrs with a subdued growl, barely registering its presence in the cabin during gentle cruising. Even when pushed hard, the noise levels remain surprisingly well-controlled, thanks to Mercedes’ meticulous sound insulation. This quiet composure complements the GLA’s luxurious character, making every journey a comfortable and serene experience.

Fuel efficiency is another strong suit of the GLA 220d. In our mixed driving conditions, we managed to achieve an impressive 18.9 kpl, a figure that’s not only commendable for a performance-oriented SUV but also translates to lower running costs in the long run.

The GLA 220d impresses not only with its powerful powertrain but also with its exceptional ride and handling. Its suspension strikes a perfect balance between comfort and agility, effortlessly absorbing road imperfections while maintaining composure around corners. Whether navigating city streets or cruising on highways, the GLA 220d feels poised and predictable, instilling confidence in the driver. The well-weighted steering offers precise feedback, facilitating seamless manoeuvres in tight spaces and ensuring control during spirited driving sessions.

Mercedes GLA 220d
The tail–lights get a slight redesign

Moreover, the GLA 220d’s compact dimensions contribute to its exceptional agility, making it easy to manoeuvre through traffic and park in cramped spaces. This manoeuvrability is particularly advantageous in congested urban areas, allowing drivers to navigate narrow streets and crowded parking lots effortlessly. However, beyond its practicality, the GLA 220d also offers an enjoyable driving experience. Its responsive engine and well-tuned suspension encourage spirited driving, while its precise steering and composed handling make it a delight on winding roads. Whether for seasoned drivers or those seeking a comfortable SUV for daily commutes, the GLA 220d caters to a diverse range of preferences and driving styles.

Starting at ₹ 50.50 Lakh, the Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d stands as an enticing option for those in search of a premium SUV that seamlessly blends style, performance, and comfort. While it may not boast the most spacious interior in its segment, its well-appointed cabin, refined driving dynamics, and impressive fuel efficiency compensate for any shortcomings. Competing against models like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, each offering its unique strengths, the GLA 220d shines with its combination of performance, efficiency, and premium appeal. It’s an ideal companion for a startup founder who has recently secured a successful round of funding and is looking to treat themselves and comfort perfectly complements the ambitious entrepreneur’s newfound success, making every journey a luxurious and rewarding experience.


Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d 4MATIC



Max Power:

Max Torque:


1950 cc, 4 Cylinders Inline, Diesel

188 bhp@3800 rpm

40.78 kgm@1750-3000 rpm

8-speed automatic


F/R: 235/50 R18


L/W/H (mm):


Ground Clearance:

Kerb Weight:

Fuel Capacity:


2729 mm

183 mm

1725 kg

51 litres


₹50.50 Lakh (ex-showroom)