• Mercedes Benz GLA-Class get upgrades for 2016

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    E1---MB-GLA-250-7-0120160105With BMW unveiling an all-new X1 and Audi refreshing its Q3, the competition in the very lucrative premium-compact crossover market becomes all the more intense.

    Mercedes-Benz charges into the fray with new-year updates to its GLA-Class which, using the company’s new nomenclature for sport-utility vehicles, denotes it as the crossover version of the compact A-Class. However, the updates don’t cover the interior and exterior styling, with the crossover still looking like an A-Class on platform shoes.

    More standard tech
    The carmaker focused primarily on technology for 2016, with the GLA-Class getting a new seven-inch infotainment system display (up from 5.8 inches) that includes a media interface and pre-wiring for the optional Garmin Map Pilot GPS navigation. The company said phone conversations will sound clearer, thanks to the new HD Voice software for compatible mobile devices.

    All GLAs (in the United States, at least) will also come equipped with the new “mbrace2 Connect” package with five years of complimentary service. This includes mobile app, web services, roadside connection, MB apps (non-streaming), vehicle homepage (for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids), diagnostics data and remote update. The GLA is one of several 2016 Mercedes-Benz models to have a remote start function as part of mbrace2 Connect.

    Added standard features include keyless start, dual-zone climate control, seat-cushion length adjustment and Dynamic Select (replacing Agility Select) that allows the driver to choose from four performance modes: Comfort,” ECO, Sport and Sport+.

    Increased structural stiffening and safety features
    The company also said it improved the GLA-Class’s ride, handling and safety by adding reinforcements to the B-pillars, front damper domes, side members and underbody. Meanwhile, the optional, new-generation, 4Matic all-wheel drive system features fully variable torque distribution that can instantly send up to half of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels in response to changing driving conditions.

    Safety is further strengthened by Attention Assist, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness, and radar-based Collission Prevention Assist Plus with adaptive Brake Assist, which helps to protect against collisions from eight to 105 kilometers per hour when following a moving vehicle and from eight to 50 kph when behind a stopped vehicle.

    The optional Driver Assistance package also offers Distronic Plus, as well as Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. Parktronic with Advance Parking Assist, available as a standalone option, enables autonomous parking in parallel and perpendicular spaces.

    Revised option packages
    Speaking of options, Mercedes-Benz has also reconfigured the GLA-Class’ option packages for 2016. Keyless-Go, still available as a stand-alone option, is now part of the Premium Package. The available rear view camera now provides 180-degree view functionality, while an electrically adjustable passenger seat can be had as a standalone option.

    In addition, multi-color ambient lighting is included with the Interior Package and can also be added as a standalone option. The optional Night Package, available in conjunction with the Sport Package, adds a custom look with gloss black exterior trim and black wheels.

    The company said a dramatic design deserves a dramatic color option, with Kryptonite Green metallic replacing Universe Blue for 2016. Inside, available two-tone beige/black leather interior replaces gray leather.

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