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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA: The smaller SUV (pictures)

Mercedes-Benz calls its new model, which will be unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show, an SUV, but its dimensions suggest wagon.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Mercedes-Benz will unveil its newest model, the GLA, at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show. Mercedes-Benz calls the car a compact SUV, but its dimensions, especially its under-5-foot height, suggest wagon. The GLA will be Mercedes-Benz's first front-wheel-drive SUV in the U.S., but will also be offered in all-wheel drive. The car will hit showrooms in late 2014 as a 2015 model year.
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The GLA, at 14.5 feet long and less than 5 feet high, has compact dimensions, yet comes out as a premium five-seater with a hatchback. In size, the car is remarkably similar to the BMW X1.
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Mercedes-Benz will import the GLA250, in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, to the U.S. This version uses a turbocharged direct-injection 2-liter engine making 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes-Benz also fits it with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
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Mercedes-Benz says the GLA will be its first SUV with the latest version of its 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, and suggests the car will handle dirt roads and snow.
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This being a Mercedes-Benz, the cabin will feature premium appointments, such as leather seating. The four spoke air vents are a new Mercedes-Benz design cue that we previously saw in the 2013 GLK.
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Much of the switchgear on dashboard and steering wheel looks standard for Mercedes-Benz. The drive selector is a stalk mounted on the steering column. This photo shows a tachometer with a very low redline, suggesting it is a European-market diesel version.
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Mercedes-Benz sets the LCD up from the dashboard, very similarly to BMW's latest cabin designs. As with other Mercedes-Benz models using the Comand cabin tech interface, there is a dial on the console for selecting onscreen content.
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This panel is similar to those found in other Mercedes-Benz models, keeping the classic numeric keypad. Among the buttons shown here are one that puts the transmission in off-road mode and another that activates hill descent control.

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