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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA grows up

By Tim Robson, 14 Dec 2019 Car News

Mercedes-Benz GLA 35 2020

Merc’s entry-level GLA SUV gets more tech, more space and will be here next year

Mercedes-Benz has dropped pics of its all-new second-generation GLA small SUV, which competes in the same space as premium crossovers like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

Based on the same modular underpinnings that debuted under the A-Class in 2017, the Mercedes-Benz GLA features more interior space, more tech smarts and a better driving experience than its polarising predecessor.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 35 2020

While it actually comes up shorter by 14mm, it’s grown in width and wheelbase by a crucial 30mm, and it’s more than 100mm taller as well.

This gives the GLA much more rear legroom – 116mm to be exact – as well as more boot space, which is a key criticism of the current car. It grows from 421 litres with the seats up to 435L, while the second row of seats is now mounted on rails for more flexibility.

It also gives the GLA a boxier look, moving the GLA away from the ‘A-Class on stilts’ appearance of the current car. Expect LED headlights and taillights, a bold grille and big wheels, as is the fashion for small, more expensive crossovers of the modern era.

Take, for example, the GLA 35, which formed part of the global reveal this week; it wears 21-inch rims as standard (below).

Mercedes-Benz GLA 35 2020

The GLA will score Mercedes-Benz’s twin-screen MBUX multimedia system, and wireless Apple CarPlay will be part of the mix, along with upgraded Android Auto capability. It also features Merc’s cool three-dimensional sat-nav system that hovers street names over a camera image of the route you’re negotiating.

More: Game on - the MBUX system revealed

It’s also set to receive the brand’s ‘energising comfort’ package, which is an odd mix of scents, temperature control, seat heating and massaging as well as audio to alternatively freshen, warm, bring vitality or joy to the driver. Quite.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 35 2020

If you opt for the 35, there are AMG-badged niceties like steering wheels and digital instrument displays (above), as well as a Track Pace app.

Safety tech will be a big part of the GLA’s pitch, and it’ll offer AEB with evasive steering assist, traffic sign recognition and an intelligent autonomous braking system that can slow the GLA as it approaches traffic or corners.

When it comes to engines and drivetrains, the entry-level GLA 200 – a pretty firm bet for Australia - is equipped with a 120kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine sending power to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).

The aforementioned GLA 35 will use Merc’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and will send 225kW and a healthy 400Nm through all four wheels via an eight-speed DCT.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 35 2020

It also gets bigger brakes, chassis bracing and a variable steering rack, along with additional drive select modes. And because it’s all-wheel-drive, it will also get Merc’s off-road package as standard, including specific headlight modes, traction control maps and more on-screen data.

Expect hotter versions to follow, if the brand’s mega-mental A 45 AMG is any indication. A 310kW crossover SUV? That’ll give the Audi RS Q3 something to think about…

No formal word from the local Merc arm yet on arrival time, but the GLA debuts in the second half of 2020, with a local arrival expected before Christmas.

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