Dear Santa........Mercedes-Benz GLA
From a young age, I considered Mercedes-Benz as being the ultimate car brand to drive. Superior design, superior quality but I perceived them as being suited to a much older age group as I always saw lots of mature gentlemen driving huge Mercedes-Benz cars around my city.
Then, a decade ago I became a model and noticed that many top models across the globe pinned Mercedes-Benz as their brand of choice when they went car shopping with their first big wage. Then I became a model agent and fashion blogger and became utterly obsessed with new emerging talent through the World's top Fashion Weeks. The best of these weeks globally, were sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, so my impression of the brand began to change. I noticed gorgeous compact cars being released, young people driving them and more importantly, Mercedes-Benz being associated with everything I considered young, current and evolving. When Mercedes-Benz sponsored our own Cork Fashion Week two years ago and I saw the fantastic range of models up close and personal at our events, it changed my perception of the brand for good. No longer perceived as an out-of-reach brand for me, I decided to take a Mercedes-Benz out on the road to see what it was all about.
I test drove the GLA 180 CDI Urban (1.5 Diesel) this week. Working in fashion and appreciating design, I am drawn to good aesthetics and the calcite white paint with black artico leather upholstery, black 5 spoke 18'' alloy wheels had me at hello!
The clever thing I found about this new generation of compact car was that it had classic SUV styling elements from the fitted room rails, the simulated underride guard and the black, grained elements with a sleek yet sporty interior with integral seats for agile spaciousness and maximum safety.
I may not be a motoring 'buff' but I have a new baby and drive alot so safety and comfort are key to me when choosing a car. We drove to picturesque Kinsale with a happy, sleeping baby Erin in the back and I barely felt the road underneath me as we drove. The GLA is fit for off-road excursions and the robust yet compact feel while driving was one I hadn't felt in a car before. After a delicious brunch we returned to the city, where we enjoyed people waving at us from cars and giving us positive thumbs up as they admired our pristine GLA in all its glory glistening through the city. I expected to feel a little nervous parking this in tight city spaces but due to the GLA's clever, compact design and reversing camera, it surprised me in its agility and I found it to be a super car for city driving.
The biggest surprise for me was the price. Throwing all my preconceived notions about the Mercedes-Benz brand out the window, this car comes in at a very appealable base price of €36,780. I have friends and colleagues who have spent more on flashy cars from other brands that wouldn't stand the test against this progressive yet compact SUV.
In all, I am sold on the GLA. It has rubbished any outdated opinions I might have had about Mercedes-Benz, and proved to me that the brand are the best in their field for superior design, safety, style and comfort. Now I'm off to write a very important letter to Santa........