The GLA gets a facelift, some more power and an all-wheel drive sys­tem

Evo India - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Gau­rav S Thom­bre Anirud­dha Rangnekar (@anirud­dha_a)

FFACELIFTS CAN’T GET much milder than this. The GLA-Class is the lat­est model in the Mercedes sta­ble to re­ceive a mid-life update and other than the all-new ex­te­rior colour as pic­tured (called Canyon Beige) you’d have to sit new and out­go­ing cars side by side to no­tice the dif­fer­ences.

To help you out, here are the changes on the out­side – front and rear bumpers have been re­shaped and the ea­gle-eyed among you will spot LED head­lights in place of the bi-xenon ones on the pre-facelift model. There’s also a smart new set of wheels our car came equipped with. Our test car did have Merc’s 4Matic all-wheel drive sys­tem. So does this mean the GLA can now go off-road? Well, not re­ally. It works in the same way that any other com­pact SUV of this size would. This sys­tem can trans­fer up to 50 per cent of the en­gine’s torque to the rear wheels when re­quired and will get you out of slushy or (if you’re liv­ing in the moun­tains) icy con­di­tions.

It’s more an ur­ban and high­way runaround than a ri­val to a proper off-roader. But the GLA has proved it­self to be a tough ma­chine on the mega GLA Ad­ven­ture road trips around the world we’ve done with the car. It’s a great high­way run­ner in this newly launched 220 d trim, which uses the same 2.1-litre diesel en­gine, but power has been bumped up by 34bhp to 168bhp and torque by 50Nm in this new state of tune. What this has done is im­prove driv­abil­ity and throt­tle re­sponse, to pro­vide an im­proved driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. There’s the Dy­namic Se­lect but­ton on the cen­tre con­sole which al­lows you to choose from var­i­ous driv­ing modes. There’s a new Off-road mode, which keeps the en­gine in the op­ti­mal rev range to cross tricky sur­faces. The dif­fer­ent modes change en­gine and steer­ing re­sponse, but there’s no change to sus­pen­sion or any other as­pect that af­fects the car’s dy­nam­ics. There’s also a Down­hill Speed Reg­u­la­tion (DSR) func­tion – Mercedes equiv­a­lent of hill-de­scent con­trol - which helps you crawl down steep de­clines with­out man­u­ally op­er­at­ing the brakes.

In the pur­suit of mak­ing it more friendly off-road, the GLA now also gets slightly taller sus­pen­sion, which means 30mm more ground clear­ance, so you’ll be able to nav­i­gate slightly trick­ier patches on and off the road with a touch more axle ar­tic­u­la­tion on of­fer. The ride is a bit firmer than we’d like, al­beit with more sus­pen­sion travel than be­fore, which means it’s more pli­ant, es­pe­cially at lower speeds. Un­like its less pow­er­ful sib­ling though, the GLA 220 d makes for a more re­laxed driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; put it in Sport mode and go around a cor­ner ag­gres­sively and the ex­tra dose of torque from the mo­tor makes the ex­pe­ri­ence plea­sur­able. The sev­en­speed dual clutch transmissi­on is quick and smooth, which can be con­trolled through the steer­ing-mounted pad­dles.

Another fea­ture that does work par­tic­u­larly well, is the 360-de­gree park­ing cam­era, which is more than use­ful while park­ing and soft-road­ing along with any other low-speed sit­u­a­tion where you need to see the car’s ex­trem­i­ties and im­me­di­ate sur­round­ing. The GLA has al­ways been a nice car to rec­om­mend and post the few up­dates and added power, it re­mains so. It has been a pop­u­lar model in our SUV crazed na­tion, with the added ad­van­tage of hav­ing the three-pointed star on the nose, and will get even more at­trac­tive post this update.L

You’ll be able to nav­i­gate trick­ier patches on and off the road

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