For 2018, Mercedes-Benz's smallest crossover model enters its fourth model year with refreshed styling, a few new standard features and some changes to option packages.
Mercedes was among the first upscale manufacturers to break into the subcompact utility segment with the GLA, which shares its underpinnings with the CLA-Class sedan and B-Class wagon. To our eyes, it's one of the most distinctive offerings in the class, its closest match in the styling department the more recently introduced Infiniti QX30, which happens to be a mechanical clone of this baby Benz.
Outside, changes include a new grille designed to strengthen styling ties to Benz's larger crossover models, and a front bumper with more nicely integrated fog lights, and both front and rear bumpers get new simulated underride guards.
There are some small updates inside too, including a new gauge cluster and trim added to the dashboard air vents.
A notable addition to the list of standard equipment is a backup camera, a feature conspicuous by its absence before now, while an enhanced 360-degree camera system (no doubt using technology borrowed from Nissan/Infiniti) is available as a stand-alone option. And that standard camera has freed up space in the Premium Package, which now brings LED headlights to the GLA-Class for the first time.
In the high-performance Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 model, those LED headlights are standard, as is an Artico leather dashboard and the basic backup camera.
This year's updates don't change the GLA's fundamentals, which include a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in the GLA 250 and a more impressive 375 hp and 350 lb-ft in the GLA 45. Both engines power all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The GLA 250 4MATIC comes standard with an electric parking brake, LED taillights and daytime running lights, 18-inch wheels and tires, heated front and split-folding rear seats in Artico upholstery, 12-way power driver's seat with memory, leather-trimmed steering wheel, 7.0-inch infotainment display, keyless push-button start, backup camera, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, attention assist and active brake assist.
Options include a premium package that brings an upsized infotainment screen, blind spot assist, automatic climate control, LED headlights and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
A premium plus group further adds a garage door opener, power front passenger seat, foot-activated power tailgate, passive keyless entry and auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors. A sport package adds better brakes, 19-inch wheels and an AMG styling package. Stand-alone extras include a panoramic sunroof, navigation and 360-degree camera.
Along with its boosted powertrain, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 gets matching sports braking, exhaust, suspension and steering systems. Also standard are 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, AMG-specific gauge cluster and Artico/Dinamica upholstery.
Here, the premium package adds the panoramic sunroof, and the premium plus group includes a 12-speaker stereo that's a stand-alone extra in the GLA 250. An AMG exclusive package gets red-accented leather upholstery, Artico dash and door trim and illuminated scuff plates.
An AMG driver's group gets a performance steering wheel, ride control sport suspension, performance exhaust and 20-inch wheels, while a track package further brings a limited slip front differential, tire pressure monitoring and deletes the electronic speed limiter.
The final add is an AMG performance studio package that carries over items from the track package, but adds yellow interior contrast stitching and graphite grey sport stripes and trades 20-inch wheels for 19s.
Fuel consumption ratings, according to Natural Resources Canada estimates, are 10.3/7.6 L/100 km (city/highway) for the GLA 250, and 11.3/8.5 in the AMG GLA 45.