IT seems like only yesterday that I was invited to the international launch of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Back in 2013, Mercedes introduced the small premium SUV to take on the likes of the BMW X1 and Audi’s amazing Q3.
I always felt the GLA was very easy on the eye with its design cues, yet it lacked the bigger stance and commanding views its rivals had.
Now, for 2017, the German brand has introduced a mid-life makeover model, which they say comes with more powerful and cleaner engines.
On the outside, apart from new LED headlights and some minor nips and tucks to the front and rear bumpers, there is little difference between old and new – you would really need to go to Specsavers to tell the difference.
New light-alloy wheels and the addition of a new colour, Canyon Beige, are just a few of the enhancements to the new 2017 GLA.
On the inside there has been a few tweaks too.
Mercedes is now offering an optional 360-degree camera, which includes a birdseye view.
This is produced from the data of four cameras – front, reversing and one camera in each of the exterior mirrors.
The interior of the GLA has also been slightly enhanced with new seat covers and trim parts, plus chromed control panels.
The control switches on the electric seat adjustment are now finished in chrome – and the stowage compartment in the centre console is surrounded by a chrome frame.
Also added is the optional hands-free access – meaning the boot lid can be opened and closed with a foot movement.
For me, the biggest disappointment in the GLA is the fact that Mercedes hasn’t changed the old 2.1-diesel engine over to the new super efficient (and quieter) engine that comes in the new E-Class.
The company says that you are getting a lot more bang for your buck in the new model with a whole lot more extras added in for a similar price, but I still feel they could have pushed the boat out more.
Meanwhile, in other good news from Mercedes, the company has launched its X-Class model.
This is Mercedes’ first venture into the pick-up segment, and it is due to arrive on our shores in November.
Sporting a characteristic SUV appearance, it features a twin-louvre radiator grille, centrally positioned star and powerfully honed bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings.
It all combines to give this newcomer a distinctly upmarket appeal.
The X-Class comes in three model variants: PURE, a basic variant for classic robust use; PROGRESSIVE, a crossover variant in terms of quality feel and comfort and POWER, a high-end variant designed for urban lifestyles.
Across all three lines, owners can choose from nine attractive exterior colours and a variety of exclusive 17, 18 or 19-inch wheel rims.
It will be available with three choices of cockpit trim and in a choice of two roof lining colours.
Customers can also add a styling bar, side bar, canopy, various covers as well as numerous cargo and off-road solutions.
In work terms, the X-Class can haul a payload of up to 1.1 tonnes.
Towing strength up to 3.5 tonnes gives it the power to pull a trailer containing three horses or an eight-metre yacht.
The X-Class is also wide enough to fit a Euro-pallet between the wheel arches.
Powering the X-Class is a 2.3-litre, hightorque, common-rail diesel engine with a choice of two power outputs – 120kW/163hp in the single turbocharged X220d, and 140kW/190hp in the bi-turbo X250d.
Six-speed manual transmission is standard, with seven-speed automatic transmission available on for the X250d and X250d 4MATIC models.
Prices have yet to be agreed and will not be announced here until closer to launch.