Sold since late 2014, the first-generation Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class epitomized the worst of the auto industry’s SUV tilt. A jacked-up hatchback that shared roots with Mercedes’ CLA-Class sedan, the GLA — and its intercorporate sibling, the Infiniti QX30 — suffered the sort of poor visibility and low, cramped seating position you might expect from such an exercise.
If an outline of the next-generation GLA is an indication, a forthcoming redesign could make significant amends.
Showing a teaser of the next-generation GLA ahead of a full reveal on Dec. 11, Mercedes said the redesign would be “more than” 10 centimeters — that’s 3.9 inches — taller than its predecessor for a “higher, characteristic SUV seating position” with more first-row headroom and backseat legroom. Overall length will decrease about 0.6 inch, Mercedes added. It also promised short front and rear overhangs, plenty of protective cladding and an upright nose.
The height increase is significant. Competitors like the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 prove that premium subcompact SUVs need not stink on practicality, but the current GLA is some 3 to 5 inches lower than such rivals. Mercedes says the redesign will be the eighth variant of its current compact models. A spokesperson confirmed that means it will share its platform with the A-Class sedan, GLB SUV and redesigned CLA.
The spokesperson also confirmed the next GLA-Class will make it to the U.S. market, which makes sense given the popularity of SUVs stateside — Mercedes sold 19.2 percent more SUVs than cars through October. Stay tuned; we’ll know more on Dec. 11.
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