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Redesigned 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA focuses on value, gets new car wash functionality

Mercedes-Benz has redesigned the GLA for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is signaling an end to its current compact car generation in the U.S. with the reveal of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA. The model has undergone a significant makeover for this new model year including new dimensions, added passenger space, and a fresh list of safety and driver assist technology.

The exterior of the GLA follows closely with the aesthetics that are apparent in the current crop of SUVs and cars. Its new height adds 3.9 inches to the car, which allows for a more upright seating position that gives rear seat occupants additional legroom despite the fact that the model is now about half an inch shorter from nose to tail. Its track is 1.6 inches wider and the wheel arches are now three inches bigger.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA The GLA adopts the latest looks of many modern Mercedes vehicles.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has put a standard four-cylinder engine under the GLA's hood. It achieves 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The car has a top speed of 130 mph.

Front wheel drive is still standard in the GLA and 4MATIC all-wheel drive is available. Models equipped with all-wheel drive get the Off-Road Engineering Package and LED Intelligent Light System standard.

The Merc is equipped with three drive modes: Eco, Comfort, and Sport.

Mercedes is touting the enhancements made to the car's outward visibility in the new model.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA The new GLA features added cargo space configuration options.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

They're also promoting the new functionality of the rear seats and cargo space. Now, the rear seats can be adjusted up to 5.5 inches and the rear seat backrest can lean back more. The seat features a 40-20-40 split. Each section can fold down manually individually or as a group.

Inside the car's cabin, the driver information screen, instrument cluster, and infotainment screen are all housed within one panel with cutouts for each function. Two 7-inch screen displays are standard. Buyers can upgrade to two 10.25-inch displays.

The GLA features the latest version of the MBUX infotainment system, which is controlled by a touch pad that proved problematic during a recent test drive of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC. Owners can also use voice commands that activate using the prompt, "Hey Mercedes."

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA The interior of the GLA matches the interior of most Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

New for 2021, the GLA's Driver Assistance Package will including a number of fresh functionalities like exit warning and a reformulated active brake assist.

The GLA will be the first model in its class to get a car wash function, similar to what is in the Mercedes-Benz GLS. With one command, exterior mirrors are folded in and the side windows and sliding roof are closed. The car's rain sensing wiper functionality is suppressed, and the air conditioning automatically changes to air-recirculation mode. If fitted with a 360-degree camera, the new GLA will display the current camera view to assist when driving in/out of the car wash. All of these functions cease when the car reaches 12 mph and above.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA will go on sale in the U.S. in the summer.

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New Jeep Compass Coming Soon

The Compass gets a major update for 2022.


The Chicago Auto Show is happening now, which means we've already seen a few new models and concepts. Just yesterday, Jeep introduced the new 2022 Compass compact SUV. It gets a new design inside and out, updated tech, and a load of new available driver aids. The Compass' refresh comes as new models from Ford, Subaru and others could cut into Jeep's off-road dominance.

As it was in previous model years, the new Compass is powered by a 2.4-liter "Tigershark" four-cylinder engine that makes 177 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It's good for up to 31 mpg on the highway in 2WD models and can deliver a max towing capacity of up to 2,000 pounds in 4WD models. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for Compass Sport and Latitude 4X2 models, while all others get a nine-speed automatic transmission that can handle the 20:1 crawl ratio setting in the Trailhawk model.

An all-new Latitude LUX trim joins the Compass lineup for 2022 as well. It features leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat, a seven-inch full-color gauge cluster, and the larger 10.1-inch screen.

2022 Jeep Compass The new Compass is more upscale than its predecessor.Stellantis/Jeep

The Compass comes with a class-leading 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, but higher trims get an even larger 10.1-inch unit. It offers standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and runs Uconnect 5, a colorful, responsive infotainment system with advanced features and tech.

Several new safety features make an appearance, but most are added-cost options. The highway assist system offers a semi-autonomous driving feature, which Jeep says will become available later. Other tech includes traffic sign recognition, standard pedestrian/cyclist automatic emergency braking, a surround-view camera system, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, and a long list of more traditional advanced driver aids like blind spot monitoring and parking sensors.

The Compass lineup for 2022 includes five trims: Sport, Latitude, Latitude LUX, Limited, and Trailhawk. Pricing for the new Compass starts at $26,490, including a $1,495 destination charge. At the top of the lineup, the Trailhawk and Limited models both start at $32,890. It's expected to start arriving on dealers' lots in fall 2021.

2022 Jeep Compass New color schemes highlight the Compass' interior.Stellantis/Jeep

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EQS buyers will have access to two years of free charging.

Electrify America

The Mercedes-Benz EQSis set to start hitting dealers' lots in just a few months, and the automaker is working drum up excitement for the all-new EV. Today, Electrify America announced that it will partner with Mercedes to offer charging services to buyers of the upcoming vehicle.

The agreement means that EQS owners will have two years of free charging, which includes 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America locations. The services go a step further, however, and will include the ability to plug and charge. This means that EQS owners who have activated their Mercedes me Charge accounts can start a free charging session just by plugging the vehicle into the charger. Electrify America says that no authentication or initiation steps will be required.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS The EQS is due to hit the market in late 2021.Mercedes-Benz

The agreement between Mercedes-Benz and Electrify America will also extend some services to future EQ battery-electric vehicles, as well as future Mercedes plug-in hybrid vehicles. The company notes that there may be costs to charge for those vehicles, but drivers will still be able to use the Mercedes me app to initiate sessions.

As more automakers jump in the EV game, free charging partnerships are becoming a bigger deal. Just last month, Hyundai announced that buyers of its Ioniq 5 EV will receive two years of free charging from Electrify America, and Ford offered free charging to its Mustang Mach-E customers, also through Electrify America, though The Blue Oval's offer only extended to 250 kilowatt-hours.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS The partnership with Electrify America will provide access to chargers across the country.Mercedes-Benz

The EQS itself is Mercedes' first vehicle in what will become an electric sub-brand for the automaker. It will hit the market as a 2022 model late in 2021, and will be offered in two models. The entry level machine features 329 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, while the up-level EQS 580 4Matic will see 516 horsepower and 611 pound-feet of torque. Beyond its electric powertrain, the EQS will offer several advanced tech features, including a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 17.7-inch touchscreen. Even the passenger gets a display in the new car, as a second 12.3-inch screen will be positioned on the right portion of the dash.

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