Every luxury manufacturer is in a relentless pursuit downmarket. There are a few reasons for this but the most important are increasing volume, amortizing common development costs and snagging life-long brand loyalists as early as possible. The Mercedes GLA is the latest entry in a growing segment: small luxury crossovers.
Of course small luxury branded vehicles are nothing new to our European friends, but until recently BMW and Mercedes kept anything small and front wheel drive far away from American hands. Until now. In 2014 Mercedes took their A-Class FWD hatch and made a sedan out of it. Calling it a “CLA”, the Civic sized sedan was a runaway success starting at $31,000. Since crossovers are the hot segment to be in these days, it didn’t take Mercedes long to jack the CLA up and add a rear hatch to create the GLA. Does the GLA have enough luxury to convince Ford Escape shoppers to jump up to a Mercedes? And perhaps more importantly: is it a real Mercedes?