A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

its the return of the mercedes-benz GLA. the first, originally launched in 2014, debuted the crossover as an entry into the brand’s SUV range but in a more manageable size for city driving. now, the second edition adds extra emphasis on its compact character; its redesign is more lifestyle, sporty and off-road-orientated. but for the urbanite, does the updated car balance daily functionality with capabilities for adventure? to escape, designboom takes a trip from london’s streets to the scottish highlands to test out.

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands
all images of the 2020 mercedes-benz GLA © designboom

 

 

for its design, the 2020 mercedes-benz GLA doesn’t look out of place in either scenario, whether cruising through rush hour traffic or on trails against the mountainous backdrop. its appearance evokes a suggestive character, whereby the bodywork’s sculpted surfaces interplay intriguingly with differing light. this is highlighted with contoured side profiles, muscular shoulders, and powerdomes on the bonnet. its rear form then dramatically slopes downwards to recall a couple-like line.

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

 

 

it is this suggestiveness that balances the car’s elegant character alongside its dynamic flair. the powerful overall proportions are complemented with short overhangs at the front and back. it also bolsters hallmark off-road features throughout, including the protective cladding all round, 19-inch AMG alloys, and the upright front section where its single star sits central on its distinctive radiator grille.

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

 

 

 

measuring 1,611m in height, the second edition is 10cm higher than its predecessor. this is most noticeable in its conceptually and statistically spacious cabin. the seating position for the driver is thus more upright and higher by 97mm. this delivers better all-round visibility, which was ideal in tight traffic situations like all our times passing holidaymakers in caravans on cliff edge paths. however, on the front passenger side, the footwell is unfathomably inclined, pushing one’s feet and knees closer to the seat. this issue is liveable for short journeys but not for long trips. the only solution is to move the seat further back, which, ironically, cuts into the generous rear passenger legroom.

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

 

 

in all other senses, from design to technological comfort, the cabin is a perfectly curated environment that balances beautiful yet robust themes. a wide, futuristic free-standing display unit dominates two-thirds of the dashboard on the driver’s side. on the passenger side, a metallic trim-infused recess interrupts the otherwise clean surface. this creates a visual continuity with the rest of the cabin’s trim, and accentuates the car’s off-road character at heart. its meticulously designed quality is highlighted with five round airplane-like ventilation outlets. pinstripe ambient lighting – available with 64 color options – spotlights these splits between smooth leather surfacing and metallic elements.

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

 

 

the AMG-line SUV’s 2-liter engine reiterates how there’s a more dynamic, aggressive flair beneath its elegantly sculpted body. it accelerates to 62mph in 7.3 seconds and to a top speed of 136mph. the DYNAMIC select driving modes – eco, comfort, sport, individual and off-road as standard – tailors the plentiful power per activity. the all-wheel drive configuration allows you to switch between these characteristics at ease. move from eco and comfort on the highways to sport or off-road when adventuring down the highland’s notorious single lanes and overtaking those aforementioned caravans. the new four-link rear axle completes the set up, delivering maximum driving stability, ride quality, and dynamics with few vibrations. the result is one of most easiest, smooth and precise SUVs to handle on any terrain.

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

 

 

it comes with array of driving assistance technologies to aid your adventure. from turning manoeuvre function to active park assist, the packages are there to help make journeys more comfortable. the most beneficial is the improved active speed limit assist, which made the long journey north from london less tiring. it changes speed limits in conjunction with traffic signs as well as route-base speed adjustments ahead of bends, roundabouts, T-junctions and more. over sensitivity was the only issue, though, as it would recognize and readjust to varied speed limits for different vehicle types.

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

 

 

the 2020 mercedes-benz GLA proves escapism can fit in a small package. the crossover balances sensual and elegant lines, surfacing and proportions with details that evoke a dynamic flair which matches its performance. it proved perfect for the scottish highlands in size and behavior, but its subtleties struggle if the adventure is too long or too full. the car is ideal for urbanites, who, when using it for day-to-day tasks, dream of a big day or weekend away. it delivers the escapism we all need in 2020. and its future only gets better as a fully electric version – dubbed the EQA – is anticipated to be revealed by the end of year.

A for adventure: mercedes-benz GLA drive in the scottish highlands

 

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product info:

 

brand: mercedes-benz

model: GLA 220 d AMG line

production year: 2020

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