• Mercedes’ first small-4×4 in the UK
• Based on the A-Class hatchback
• Wide range of engines with front- or four-wheel drive

After its Frankfurt debut, the Mercedes GLA will give the car maker a model in the heart of the booming crossover segment, plugging a big hole in its product line-up.

What is it?
It’s the first small crossover 4×4 from Mercedes, and it’s based on the underpinnings of the A-Class hatchback and CLA coupe.

What’s it like?
Very lifestyle-orientated. Aimed at families, sporty types and empty nesters, it’s a wieldy size but can also be had with four-wheel drive to get you in and out of tricky spots. Rugged styling doesn’t mean you have to go slowly though, thanks to a GLA 250 4Matic which can hit 62mph in hot hatch-rivalling 6.5 seconds. The interior should be a winner if it’s as good as recent Mercedes, with lots of round chrome vents and a tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system.

What’s it up against?
You can barely swing a cat without hitting a crossover these days, such are their popularity. At the premium end of the market, it will have to steal customers away from the BMW X1, MINI Countryman, Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3. We never got the Mercedes GLK 4×4 in the UK, so it will be interesting to see what impact a small Mercedes 4×4 makes in the UK.

When can I buy it?

With final details and specifications all out in the open, the Mercedes GLA looks ready for launch. Order books open in November this year, with first deliveries expected in early 2014.

By Andy Goodwin