Sprint Review: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA200d

“That guy’s coming to pick up your daughter for a date” we all cringe and laugh when our Cars and Coffee crowd sees a murdered-out SUV. What does murdered-out mean? Black-on-black… will he bring your daughter back?

You should know: Despite this sinister colour combo – and a roasting from my regular crowd – this second-generation GLA immediately appears more gentile. The previous one seems lumpier, although I hasten to add that it’s aging fairly well; because its bulky nature is starting to grow on me…

This newer and smoother model has a degree of menace in its design, be it the rear light clusters or that pincushion face; complete with fake side ducts. And just in case you’re wondering, this new GLA is slightly larger in most dimensions and can be had in nine other colours with bright interiors like our press car’s red leather trim.

More info: We looked at other choices but in true Mercedes-Benz fashion, as soon as we went near anything interesting or daring, their online configurator either rejected our selection or demanded that we fit a Dynamic Pack for at least R110,000 extra. No jokes! And good luck avoiding the almost-mandatory AMG kit.

What else? Be that as it may, the Mercedes GLA has grown up substantially in terms of refinement and packaging. Where its forebear had an indecisive drive-train and jarring ride, this new one’s 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox is far more enjoyable while the suspension delivers a surprisingly smooth performance.  

Why you shouldn’t: The wild dashboard design, comparably complicated infotainment controls and multitude of screen options won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. There are sensible shortcuts, steering wheel buttons and a voice-controlled tannie on board, but she likes to interrupt anyone who says “Mercedes”.

Why you should: If you can stomach the 800k asking price, the GLA200d will delight its occupants with modern technology, fastidious safety and a much-improved driving experience. The dealer will also activate a 2-year warranty plus a 5-year 100,000km maintenance plan.


Engine:1,950cc i-4 Turbo-diesel
Transmission:8-speed DCT, FWD
Max. Power:110kW
Max. Torque:320Nm
Avg. cons.:Claimed 5.1L/100km
0-100km/h:8.26 seconds (claimed 8.6)
Top Speed:Claimed 208km/h
List Price:From R784,560

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