There is no other car quite like the 2023 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45; it's essentially a lifted hot hatch, though it calls itself a crossover SUV. As such, it has no true direct rivals, at least not in the USA - there are no M derivatives for the BMW X1, and the X1 M35i is down on power at just 313 horsepower to the AMG GLA 45's 382 hp. But if you actually think of it as a hatch with insane performance from a potent four-cylinder engine, then potential competitors include the Honda Civic Type R and VW Golf R, although it's still got loads more oomph. The AMG GLA 45 SUV can hit 60 mph in a brisk 4.3 seconds, and it is ultra due to its brand heritage. The GLA 45 is certainly a unique vehicle, but is that reason enough to buy one?
There are no significant changes to the new Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 SUV, which has a starting MSRP of $56,650 for 2023.
The price of the 2023 Mercedes-AMG is set quite high at $56,650. This gets you a lot, but many buyers will want to spruce up the slightly plain-looking car with one of the AMG body kits, either Night, Night Plus, or Aerodynamic. If you want to capitalize on the GLA 45's performance potential, the $2,050 AMG Dynamic Plus Package is a must since it adds Race mode and a high-performance composite braking system. And for those who want their Merc to double as a family SUV, the Driver Assistance and Parking Assistance are tempting add-ons. Keep in mind that you will need to add $1,150 to the final bill for the destination charge.
The cabin is stylishly appointed and surprisingly spacious, though it allots more space for people than cargo.
Despite being one of the smallest models in the Mercedes lineup, the AMG GLA 45 still has a gorgeously appointed interior that is surprisingly spacious. However, it is the high-tech layout that really highlights the SUV's sporty nature. The infotainment and driver-info displays dominate the dashboard, along with sharp, circular air vents, and there are several physical controls for the climate control so that you won't have to fiddle with the touchscreen menus incessantly. Naturally, the materials are top-notch, and the build quality is as expected. .
While it is not the ultimate family-friendly GLB, the AMG GLA 45 still has enough interior space for most needs. In fact, passengers in the rear seat get even more legroom than those in the front, albeit by a minuscule margin. However, the hip and shoulder room is a little more restrictive, so you probably won't want to put more than two adults in the second row. The front seats are heated and power-adjustable as standard, so finding a suitable driving position is easy, and getting inside the vehicle is just as easy thanks to a reasonably high roof, wide-opening doors, and a good step-in height.
Considering how much space is allotted to passenger comfort, it makes sense that there is not much room left for cargo. Behind the rear seats, a mere 9.2 cubic feet is on offer, making the GLA 45 hardly more practical than a sedan. If you actually need proper SUV levels of space, then you can fold down the rear bench in a 40/20/40 split and free up 54.1 cu-ft. To put all of these into context, the Mini Cooper Countryman has 17.6 - 47.6 cubes.
The Merc tries to redeem itself around the cabin with a spacious glove compartment, decently sized door pockets, a fair of cupholders in the front, and a center armrest cubby.
|Mercedes-AMG GLA 45||Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV||Audi Q3|
|5 Seater||5 Seater||5 Seater|
|40.8 in. front|
38.1 in. rear
|40.8 in. front|
38.1 in. rear
|39.6 in. front |
37.6 in. rear
|41.1 in. front|
38.4 in. rear
|41.1 in. front|
38.4 in. rear
|40 in. front |
36.1 in. rear
|9.2 - 54.1 ft³||15.4 - 54.1 ft³||23.7 - 48 ft³|
Mercedes-Benz outfits all of its vehicles with only the best materials, and while the standard upholstery may be MB-Tex synthetic leather, it is still plush and comfortable. Two colors are offered for this setup, including Neva Grey/Black and Black MB-Tex microfiber facing and red stitching. An upgrade to leather will cost you $1,450, but it adds new interior colors, such as Black, Bahia Brown, Titanium Grey/Black, and Classic Red/Black.
You can also choose from Carbon Structure or Brushed Aluminum trim, or a pair of wood options for $325: natural grain Black Linden or Brown Walnut.
You get almost everything you could need as standard with the GLA 45, including dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, and power-adjustable front seats with heating. Both the driver-info display and infotainment touchscreen are 10.25 inches in size, with the latter offering Apple CarAply, Android Auto, HD Radio, and Bluetooth streaming. Six speakers are standard, but you can upgrade to a 12-speaker Burmester setup. Other options include ventilated front seats, in-car Wi-Fi, navigation, SiriusXM, and a head-up display.
|AMG GLA 45 4MATIC|
|Dual-zone climate control|
|Power heated front seats|
|Dual 10.25-inch displays|
|AMG head-up display|
Few small crossovers can hope to beat the GLA 45 in a sprint, and only a hot hatch can keep up with it around the bends.
The Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 gets just one engine, but it's one of the best available in this particular category. It's a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that pumps out 382 hp and 352 lb-ft. An eight-speed automatic transmission shifts the gears for you and directs outputs to a 4Matic all-wheel drivetrain. The gearbox is decisive and quick, which helps launch the AMG GLA 45 from 0-60 mph in a brisk 4.4 seconds, thanks to the Race Start function. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, though a much higher figure is possible.
While the automaker calls this car a crossover, there isn't enough ground clearance for any degree of off-roading, and the suspension is a bit on the stiff side. Even on well-kept roads, it is hard to call the ride comfortable, and you may find yourself fiddling with the various drive mode settings when you're not hooning around town. This includes Race Mode, which is unique to the AMG Dynamic Plus Package. This also gives you stronger brakes, so it's a must-have for those who want to push the little car to its limits.
Standard AWD ensures you are never wanting for grip, while rear torque vectoring gives you power where you need it when you need it. Combined with sharp and accurate steering, this gives the GLA 45 an extremely dynamic and engaging driving experience. You'll have to get used to the slightly high center of gravity, but once you do, you're in for a good time.
Crossovers generally get decent gas mileage, but with its massive engine outputs, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 gets lower mpg figures than some might like. Across the city/highway/combined cycles, it achieves 20/25/22 mpg, and with a fuel capacity of just 13.5 gallons, you can cover around 300 miles before needing to seek out a gas station.
|2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas |
Neither the NHTSA nor IIHS will likely ever crash test the GLA 45, but it offers all the most modern tech, at a price.
There are no safety reviews for the AMG GLA 45 from either the NHTSA or IIHS, and there aren't likely to be any. Thus, you will have to rest assured that the ABS, stability control, and seven airbags will keep you safe.
More advanced systems include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, crosswind assist, and attention assist. At additional cost, you can get evasive steering assist, lane-keep assist, Pre-Safe Plus, a surround-view camera, Parktronic with active parking assist, and extra airbags in the rear.
|AMG GLA 45 4MATIC|
|Forward collision avoidance|
|Evasive steering assist|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 enjoys an attractive reliability rating of 80 out of 100 from JD Power and there have been no recalls issued for the past two years. However, the 2021 model was recalled an alarming seven times. It does appear that these issues have been address, at least.
Each new Merc AMG GLA 45 gets the automaker's standard warranty, which covers standard and powertrain issued for four years/50,000 miles.
While Mercedes classifies the GLA 45 as an SUV, it would be difficult even to call it a crossover. Its structure is more similar to that of a hot hatchback that has been lifted slightly higher. This helps performance, but it means that the standard appearance is not as bold as we'd like. In fact, it barely looks like an AMG model from the front - fortunately, you can customize it extensively. The only giveaway is the Panamericana grille with vertical slats. The 19-inch wheels may not look aggressive, but they do offer the best ride quality of the bunch. Still, you can opt for 20- or 21-inch alloys. Full LED exterior lighting is standard, as is a hands-free power liftgate. Options include a panorama roof as well as several packages that can equip the vehicle with a more AMG-inspired appearance. These include a large rear wing, lateral airglow breakaway edges, and a diffuser.
The 2023 AMG GLA 45 feels like a white lie we are more than happy to accept. It barely qualifies as a crossover, and the only reason it isn't marketed as a hatchback is because that segment is under strain in the States. This is also why we don't have the AMG A45 hot hatch. The GLA is an adequate substitute, though it doesn't offer the same level of practicality we expect from a crossover. On the plus side, it does offer plenty of rear passenger space and some of the best performance characteristics in cars of this size. In terms of go-fast SUVs, it's an excellent product, but it also costs as much as you'd expect from a German automaker. You can technically get something just as good for a lot less, but if you can afford it, the GLA 45 won't disappoint.
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