Park the GLA next to a similarly-sized lower-priced car and cynics might wonder where the money went. However, the GLA's premium does pay for a nicely finished interior and nimble handling, with compact dimensions adding to maneuverability. Fuel economy isn't too shabby either at 26 mpg overall.
But as we experienced with the CLA (upon which the GLA is based), if you expect real Mercedes qualities -- such as a hushed cabin, plush ride, and a vault-like solid feel -- you'll be disappointed. Further letdowns include marginal head room, unintuitive controls and poor visibility. Test track acceleration numbers are impressive, but in routine stop-and-go traffic, the car feels unresponsive.
And, while the GLA is considerably less expensive than the larger GLK, the latter is a much more substantial vehicle.