2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA gets new proportions, reworked interior

The redesigned crossover is nearly four inches taller.

Mercedes-Benz has redesigned the GLA for the 2021 model year, giving the compact crossover more SUV-like proportions.

The revamped GLA is nearly four inches taller and slightly shorter than its predecessor, corresponding to a "characteristic SUV" seating position with more front headroom and significantly improved rear legroom.

The rugged design is further reinforced by short overhangs at the front and rear, a more upright front fascia and protective cladding. A new off-road driving mode has also been added, along with a downhill assist feature and special light off-road lighting setting.

The German automaker has added its latest safety technology including automatic emergency braking with audible alerts when approaching cyclists, vehicles or pedestrians detected near crosswalks. The system can brake at speeds of up to 37 mph for stationary vehicles and pedestrians crossing the road, preventing collisions at speeds of up to 31 mph.

Inside, the instrument panel features "cut-outs" in the driver and front passenger area. The former contains a free-standing display unit, either a seven-inch screen or 10.25-inch widescreen configuration. The latest Mbux infotainment platform comes standard, complementing a full-color head-up display with augmented reality.

The entry-level GLA 250 is powered by an inline-four with 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, motivating the crossover to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph. The range-topping GLA 35 4Matic boasts 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, slashing the 60 mph sprint to five seconds and increasing top speed to 155 mph.

The 2021 GLA is scheduled to arrive in US showrooms by summer 2020. The company expects the crossover to become its most popular compact model, just behind the A-Class.

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