TopAuto reader Jonathan drives a 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200.
This is his first car with multiple optional extras, and it’s almost gotten him in trouble in traffic.
Jonathan shares his ownership experience of the car, below.
Which model do you own?
I have a 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 that I bought in 2018.
It currently has just over 50,000km on the clock.
What are your three favourite things about the GLA?
Mainly, the amount of features the car has really impressed me.
It was the first time I had a car fitted with extras such as a reverse camera, blind-spot sensors, parking sensors, and a sensor that tells you “may be tired and need to take a break”. Although that last one might be a jab at my driving style.
The engine and transmission are awesome, too, with enough power to have a quick pull away while also having great torque in high gears to exploit a gap on the highway.
Lastly, the car is surprisingly economical – even compared to my old car, a Polo TSI. This is especially the case when the “Eco” feature is selected, which shifts the car into neutral when you lift off the throttle.
Which three things do you like least about the GLA?
Despite my car having so many optional extras, the biggest oversight in my opinion is the lack of automatic wipers.
At first, I thought I just could not find it, until I asked the previous owner – and he told me they do not have an automatic setting.
It’s a small gripe, but I would have preferred automatic wipers over some of its other fancy tech.
The car is also the first one I owned with a stop-start engine feature.
While they say this feature can save money over the long run, I tend to leave it off as it becomes irritating in traffic.
It will also automatically activate when the car is in “Comfort” or “Eco” settings – even if you had switched it off on a previous drive.
Lastly, the GLA has gear shifters on the back of the steering wheel.
While this feature may make sense in a car with a dual-clutch gearbox, the standard automatic in this car isn’t as responsive.
I do realise the GLA is not designed for high-rev upshifts and engine braking downshifts, but I can’t really think of any other uses for flappy paddles in a car like this. Maybe they work better in the AMG version.
What is it like to drive your GLA every day?
Very comfortable and reassuring.
The slightly higher ride height, automatic gearbox, and smooth drive give it a great feel on the road.
What is the hardest journey you have done with the GLA?
Honestly, I’ve never had a hard journey with this car.
The toughest ones might be through thunderstorms and over a couple of dirt roads, but the GLA handled this with ease.
One particular day I was sitting in traffic during a typical Gauteng thunderstorm, still looking for the elusive automatic wiper switch.
After accidentally putting the car into “Park” and activating the “Active Parking Assist” feature, my car began steering itself.
The GLA had obviously decided that, in the midst of traffic, it had found a great place to park, and proceeded to do so on Hendrik Potgieter Road.
As a result, I no longer feel brave enough to fiddle with switches unless I’m stationary – preferably with the engine off.
Would you recommend your car to friends and family?
It depends on their needs.
I might recommend the smaller CLA if you are more interested in buying the Mercedes-Benz badge – as it would be better-looking and faster than the GLA.
However, if you need the additional ride height and extra space in the back, it’s a great option.