The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 e is a petrol plug-in hybrid SUV version of the A-Class, with an official electric range of 37 miles.
Mercedes has been relatively slow to embrace battery electric cars, but it has brought a number of plug-in hybrids to market. One of these is the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 e. For some people, a Mercedes badge, an SUV body, and the potential to save money on benefit in kind tax may be a compelling proposition – so should you buy one?
The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 e has a 4 cylinder, 1.3-litre petrol engine plus an electric motor, with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
The exterior is standard GLA, and the interior is the normal Mercedes collection of shiny controls.
At 445 litres, the GLA has a decent sized (and shaped) boot.
Let’s start by a recap of the statement above: the latest battery electric cars from Mercedes are good to drive. We’re talking about the EQA, EQB, EQC and the EQS.
Okay, after that positive news about Mercedes EVs, it’s time to give an honest review of the GLA 250 e.
Whereas the latest Mercedes EVs are smooth, refined and quiet, the GLA 250 e is just the opposite; the driving experience is decidedly jerky.
When you set off in the GLA 250 e, you put your foot on the accelerator, and nothing happens immediately (this is the case when going forwards and when reversing). However after the hesitancy, moments later the car springs into motion, often with wheelspin from the front-wheel drive chassis. More work is definitely needed on tuning the low-speed responses and integration between the electric motor and the petrol engine.
When you’re underway, the car feels like it’s hunting around for different gears. And if you need to accelerate, the engine sounds very strained.
If you’re driving on electric power, there’s not much acceleration – perhaps not a surprise as the electric motor only produces 101bhp of power. This compares to 161hp from the petrol-powered GLA 200.
At 70mph there can be lots of road noise on certain surfaces. And then there’s the ride quality. The secondary ride is very poor – the GLA 250 e shudders over potholes and bumps in the road.
And even the brakes need better modulation.
While we’re on the subject of brakes, one good point is that when in electric mode you can adjust the level of brake regeneration using the steering-wheel mounted paddles. These paddles can be used to change gear when using the petrol engine.
There are no separate controls for the PHEV system, these are part of the drive modes, which include Electric, Comfort and Sport. You can also choose to hold the battery level (we’re not sure many people will see this option or know what this means, especially when the car is in the second-hand market).
The central touchscreen and the driver’s instrument display feature modern graphics; there’s quite a lot going on in the driver’s display, with lots of graphics in blue, so when the blue symbol for main beam is on, it can be quite hard to see this.
In most cars, traffic jams are shown on the satnav in orange or red. However the GLA appears to show motorways in these colours, which can be somewhat confusing.
When you’re reversing, there are lots of beeps, even if you’re not about to crash into anything. And when driving along roads in perfect safety, the car slammed on the brakes by itself twice for no apparent reason.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 e has an official electric range of 37 miles. During our week with the car (in winter), it typically displayed a projected range of 30 miles, however on one occasion it only achieved 14 miles on a full battery charge on a suburban route.
After driving the GLA on electric power for as much time as possible, we averaged 60.1mpg. Driving at 70mph on the motorway on the petrol engine yielded 42.2mpg. The total range on petrol and electric was displayed as 316 miles.
The battery can be fully charged from 10-100% in around 2-3 hours if using a wall box with a three-phase power supply, ie. at a workplace in the UK.
Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 e model lines are Exclusive Edition from £42,185, Exclusive Edition Premium from £43,685 and Exclusive Edition Premium Plus from £45,185.
Benefit in kind tax rates for PHEVs for company car drivers are much lower (11% 2021/22) than for petrol or diesel cars.
Here at Green Car Guide we’re independent and honest. Which is why we have to repeat what we’ve said above, ie. the latest battery electric models from Mercedes are very good to drive. But the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 e isn’t. The powertrain is jerky, the ride quality is poor on bad road surfaces, and the overall driving experience isn’t fun or enjoyable. This is a good example of why EVs are generally better than PHEVs, and we would recommend a Mercedes-Benz EQA rather than the GLA 250 e. The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 e ends up with a Green Car Guide rating of 6/10.