Is the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Actually a Hot Hatch?

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is a subcompact luxury SUV that’s small, active, fun, athletic, and an absolute joy to drive. It doesn’t matter if you select the base GLA 250 or go for the gusto with the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 model; you’ll find a fun little crossover. Do the fun and active driving manners make this a hot hatch, or is it really a subcompact luxury SUV?

Why would we think of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class as a hot hatch?

The small size and punchy powertrain give us the starting point to call this little luxury SUV a hot hatch. There’s no denying the bend toward the sporty side of The SUV classification. Toss in an incredible steering and suspension package, and you might see this little Merc going head-to-head with a Volkswagen Golf R.

Is there a new Mercedes GLA coming out?

Denim Blue Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Subcompact Luxury SUV
Denim Blue Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Subcompact Luxury SUV | Mercedes-Benz

Some have rumored a new model for the 2023 model year, but that doesn’t make much sense. Mercedes-Benz gave the GLA-Class a complete rebuild for the 2021 model year. This should translate into at least five years of the current model.

That’s just fine with us. The tidy dimensions and premium qualities baked into the GLA make it a fun and active subcompact luxury SUV with just enough roominess to call it useful.

The cabin of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is small but covered in high-quality materials

You won’t find a ton of space in this small crossover, but four people can sit inside without too much trouble. You’ll find 15 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seat, which expands when these seats fold down. Put another checkmark in the hot hatch category. Some hot hatches, including the aforementioned Volkswagen Golf R, have more room in the cargo hold than this Merc.

Even the base GLA 250 brings the smooth comfort of the MB-Tex faux leather upholstery, which comes in the choice of black or beige at this base model. This material is available in two-tone gray/black at the AMG levels, or you can order black upholstery with microfiber inserts and red stitching.

Three peppy engines in the GLA-Class add to the hot hatch conversation

Red 2023 Mercedes GLA 250 parked next to a treee
Red 2023 Mercedes GLA 250 | Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes GLA lineup includes the same engine in all models, but it’s tuned in three different ways to be perfect for the job. The powertrain for all models gives you a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine matched with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

This powertrain could easily work well in any hot hatch, but the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class offers:

 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

221 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque

24 city/34 hwy mpg (FWD), 23 city/32 hwy mpg (AWD)

Sprint time: 6.8 seconds (FWD), 6.6 seconds (AWD)

Mercedes-AMG GLA 35

302 horsepower, 295 lb-ft of torque

22 city/30 hwy mpg

Sprint time: 5.1 seconds

Mercedes-AMG GLA 45

382 horsepower, 354 lb-ft of torque

20 city/27 hwy mpg

Sprint time: 4.3 seconds

How much does this subcompact luxury SUV cost?

White 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV
White 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV | Mercedes-Benz

The base model of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class brings a starting price of $37,500 for the GLA 250. Add the 4Matic AWD and this entry-level SUV costs $39,500. If you want one of the more powerful versions, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 costs $49,500, while the GLA 45 starts at $56,650.

For the hot hatch comparison, the starting price of the Volkswagen Golf R is $44,090, which makes two versions of the Mercedes GLA more affordable than the VW.

Is the GLA worth buying?

When you’re looking for a subcompact luxury SUV with sporty performance dynamics, more than enough power to be fun, and excellent handling, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is a great choice. You won’t even give the Mercedes GLA a second glance when you need an SUV that prioritizes utility.

Have we proven this SUV is actually a hot hatch?

Black Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Subcompact Luxury SUV
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Subcompact Luxury SUV | Mercedes-Benz

You might not buy it Mercedes-Benz certainly doesn’t think so. Still, the peppy powertrain, tidy dimensions, incredible driving manners, and affordability all lead us down a road that ends with the Mercedes GLA being a hot hatch. Accept it or not, this little Merc is a lot of fun, no matter how you view it.

Next, check out a special edition Lexus RX, or learn more about the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA- Class in this video below:

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