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New Model: Mercedes- Benz GLA 220 CDI 4MATIC

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Review by Alexandra Dunsford-White

Jack of all Trades

Trends show that SA consumers have a growing love- affair with crossover vehicles which combine the functionality and cachet of SUVs with the comfort and performance of a car. With so many manufacturers treading uncharted territory thanks to this crossover craze, it was just a matter of time before Mercedes-Benz ventured in the same direction as rivals such as BMW and Audi, who have already produced some stiff competition in this division.

When I think of the term crossover, the familiar saying, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ springs to mind. With the GLA, Mercedes-Benz has essentially created a car that’s half-hatchback and half-4×4. And, while its versatility captures the essence of what a crossover vehicle is, one always has to wonder whether it’s trying too hard to be both.

At first glance, it’s no surprise to learn that the GLA is based on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It uses the same platform, and there are clear similarities in the styling, both inside and out. Despite being an SUV, it’s not as big as you’d expect; in fact, when one is sitting behind the wheel, it feels a bit like a jacked-up A-Class, as the driving position isn’t overly elevated. In fact, the GLA is only 125 mm longer, 24 mm wider and 61 mm higher off the ground. It sits somewhere between the latest C-Class and the A-Class, giving buyers an alternative option.

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