Mercedes GLA hybrid review

Another small plug-in hybrid SUV that's just the ticket for company-car users; the Mercedes GLA 250 e is fast and efficient, with a great electric range


  • Very efficient
  • Premium interior
  • Great performance


  • Expensive for private buyers
  • Not the most fun to drive
  • Pricey option packs
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid37 miles188-202mpg32-33g/km

Mercedes is a brand on an electrification mission: just about every model in its sprawling line-up is either offered with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain already, or is on the list to get one. The A-Class hatchback and saloon, C-Class saloon and estate, CLA four-door coupe, E-Class saloon and estate and S-Class luxury car already have it, while the GLC and GLE large SUV plug-ins are also now on sale.

The plug-in hybrid GLA is aimed squarely at other small premium SUVs with similar petrol-electric power, including the BMW X1 xDrive25eVolvo XC40 Recharge and Range Rover Evoque PHEV. And just like its petrol and diesel-engined siblings, the new hybrid GLA sports a much more modern look than the car it replaced, featuring styling in line with the latest A-Class.

Mercedes has taken a pretty conservative approach to the design of the GLA, but it's one that works well – its relationship with the A-Class is made clear, with just the right amount of chunkier details to set it apart as the higher-riding, more 'lifestyle-orientated' choice.

It's good news underneath that stylish body, where the GLA gets the same combination of a 1.3-litre petrol engine and electric motor as the A 250 e. It's one of the better-engineered plug-in hybrid solutions we've tried, boasting a strong pure-electric range, punchy performance when the power sources are combined and smooth transitions between the two. The petrol engine can get a little noisy when pushed, however.

It's efficient, too – which is good news for both private owners and company-car users. Mercedes' claim of just under 202mpg is a decent chunk ahead of most rivals' and its 32g/km of CO2 also undercuts the competition. An absence of first-year road tax and a 10% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rating are the results.

The GLA isn't quite as practical as its rival from Volvo, but does a good job of maximising the space it has on the inside. There's more space in the rear seats than the old car, and thanks to some clever repackaging, there's a decent-sized boot despite the addition of a battery.

Interior quality is up to the standard we've come to expect from modern Mercedes products, and there's plenty of technology to get excited about, especially as you step up through the option packs. However, it's worth sticking to the entry-level car if you're a private buyer concerned about paying the road-tax surcharge for cars over £40,000.

Overall, the GLA 250 e is a great effort from Mercedes. The Volvo XC40 is more practical and the BMW X1 more fun to drive, but if you're looking for an alternative to diesel power for your next small family car – or perusing the company-car list for a low-cost option – the GLA 250 e is definitely worthy of your attention.

For a more in-depth look at the Mercedes GLA 250 e, take a look at the rest of our detailed review...

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