In-depth reviews

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

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£39,600 - £42,600
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Very efficient
  • Premium interior
  • Great performance

Cons

  • Expensive for private buyers
  • Not the most fun to drive
  • Pricey option packs
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid37 miles202mpg31-32g/km

The Mercedes GLA is one of the brand's newest plug-in hybrid models, as part of an extended push to put electrification into nearly every area of the market by the big German brand. It joins the A-Class hatch and saloon, the C-Class saloon and estate, the CLA four-door coupe, the E-Class saloon and estate, the S-Class luxury car and the GLC and GLE large SUVs with plug-in power.

Rivals for the GLA plug-in hybrid, which is called the GLA 250 e, include the BMW X1 xDrive25e, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Range Rover Evoque PHEV. The latest version got a round of updates to make it more like the A-Class, especially on the inside where it has a top-notch interior and infotainment set-up.

It has some chunkier styling details on the outside to give it the SUV look that modern car buyers love, but it's fundamentally very similar to the A-Class, including having the same engine and electric motor combination.

This means it has a 1.3-litre petrol engine along with the electric motor, which is actually one of the better-engineered plug-in hybrid solutions we've tried - it has 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' (although we take these figures with a huge pinch of salt) 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 excellent news for company car drivers, as it's really cheap to run.

The Volvo XC40 plug-in hybrid is a bit more practical than the GLA, but the Mercedes has a decent-sized boot despite the addition of a battery. There's also a decent amount of storage inside the cabin and plenty of room for passengers.

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 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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