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Mercedes-Benz GLA

The GLA was presented for the first time in 2013. The new face-lifted GLA boasts numerous upgrades, both inside and outside, as well as two diesel and three petrol engines from which to choose, including the ballistic AMG GLA 45 4Matic that punches well above its weight.

The GLA 200 entry model is reasonably priced at R485,400, but if you are looking for decent performance, all-wheel drive, and automatic transmission – as offered in the GLA 250 – you will have to part with about R180,000 more of your hard earned cash.

Occupant safety is virtually synonymous with Mercedes-Benz, and the GLA is no exception. Apart from the basic safety features that come standard, a list of very nice-to-have optional features are “available on request”, meaning you will have to dig deeper into your already deep pockets if you want any extras.

Both the GLA 250 and GLA 220 d impressed with its performance and handling. Steering is firm and pedals are light, which makes for a comfortable drive on all road surfaces and conditions. Cornering is exceptional, and acceleration out of corners or when overtaking is an absolute pleasure. Of course, the pocket rocket AMG GLA 45 makes all the other GLA derivatives, not to mention the competitors, pale in comparison as it accelerates, brakes and turns like a supercar.

Compared to its closest rivals, the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, the GLA stands out with its sleek styling and aggressive stance. However, unless you are willing to settle for a rather stock and underpowered entry-level GLA 200, this is a rather expensive compact SUV, and more so if you wish to add any optional extras.