It’s official. Automakers have finally figured out how to get Americans to like hatchbacks, a body style that Europeans embraced years ago. Simply restyle the exterior somewhat to make it look SUV-ish, jack up the ride height, offer all-wheel drive and presto! The crossover is born. The idea is so simple it’s brilliant. But enough of that ramble, let’s talk about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic, an AWD subcompact crossover we recently spent some time with.

Launched not long ago, the GLA-Class is built on the same front-wheel-drive platform as the CLA-class, itself a four-door coupe version of the A-Class hatchback, which, as you can probably guess if you didn’t know already, isn’t sold in the US. Again, Europeans dig hatchbacks, Americans still don’t.

Or at least they think they don’t, but they do. Damn, rambling again. Anyway, our GLA250 4Matic came powered by a turbocharged inline-four with 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, with power being sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic. Because it’s a Mercedes, it’s well-equipped with luxury features and other premium bits. Hope you like paying $720 for Metallic Grey exterior paint. Thing is, however, the GLA250 really doesn’t feel like a crossover; the driver sits lower to the ground than you think. And we dig that. The closer you can get to the A-Class hatchback, the better. Special thanks to Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento for letting us film the car.

Pocket

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