2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $37,280

Mercedes-Benz recently announced U.S. pricing for the updated 2021 GLA compact SUV. The GLA 250 has a base price of $37,280 (including $1,050 destination), while the GLA 250 4MATIC with AWD starts at $39,280. True to form, the GLA commands a higher base price than the BMW X1 and Mini Countryman, but you get a lot of car in return.

The outgoing Mercedes GLA had a lot going for it, but it's not exactly the roomiest or the most comfortable compact luxury SUV for the money. All of that changes in the 2021 GLA. What is once an A-class on stilts is now gifted with SUV-like proportions. In fact, the new GLA is 3.6-inches taller, 1.2-inches wider, and has a 1.1-inch longer wheelbase than the outgoing model.

It also looks the part. With a sloping roofline, dual exhaust, and new grille design, the new GLA exudes sportiness and athleticism. But with rugged elements like roof rails, integrated fog lights, and skid plates, it won't back down from rocky trails, either.

Both the GLA 250 and GLA 250 4MATIC are equipped with a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Producing 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, it has 13 more horsepower than the previous model's four-banger. The engine is bolted to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. According to Mercedes, the GLA 250 takes 8.6-seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill, while the top speed is electronically-limited to 130 mph.

If you want a fast GLA, the AMG GLA 35 is right up your alley, although Mercedes claims the AMG model will arrive later in 2020 with pricing to be announced at a later date. The Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 is packing 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It also has a larger pair of 10.25-inch displays, 19-inch wheels, and an AMG Performance 4MATIC AWD system. It's a sprightly little thing, too, as it accelerates to 60 mph in 5.0-seconds.

For its $37,280 base price, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 has generous standard features including 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, and a dual 7-inch display for the instrument cluster and infotainment system powered by Mercedes-Benz's MBUX. Also included are a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, and adjustable second-row seating. Meanwhile, the GLA 250 4MATIC is equipped with an Off-Road Engineering Package to make it more capable off-road.

And since the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA is bigger than before, it translates to more headroom and legroom for both the front and rear passengers. You also sit higher and have a better view of the road ahead. It also offers more cargo room with a wider-opening rear hatch. The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 and GLA 250 4MATIC will go on sale later this summer.