So Close! Can The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 Conquer Tombstone Hill?

Mercedes' latest GLA takes on its first off-road challenge

So Close! Can The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 Conquer Tombstone Hill?
We put the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA to the test in the Rocky Mountains!
(Images: TFLoffroad)

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is no hard-core off-roader, but it did better than expected.

Tombstone Hill is a difficult challenge for crossovers like the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250. That’s kind of the point: We found an area in the Rocky Mountains that truly challenges all-wheel drive vehicles.

Since we’re based in the Rocky Mountains, we have the ability to traverse moderately difficult terrain in a variety of weather conditions. After all, that’s why crossovers are so popular in our neck of the woods. For those of you unfamiliar with our new “Tombstone Hill” test, this is our yardstick now that Gold Mine Hill has closed to the public.

Tommy makes the most of Tombstone Hill, putting the little GLA to the test.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA has a scant 5.2 inches of ground clearance, but it does have Mercedes’ excellent 4MATIC system. The latest GLA 250 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine packing 221 horsepower four-cylinder and 258 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available is an 8-speed dual-clutch, rather than a conventional automatic — which is one area of concern. We have seen dual-clutch systems (and CVTs) return mixed results off-road.

The other issue is the 20-inch Bridgestone summer tires. They are not even remotely off-road friendly tires. They are, as listed “summer” tires. Meaning: mud, snow, ice and dirt are not their forte.

The base price for this tiny crossover is $36,000, but that’s for a FWD model. We highly recommend the extra $2,000 for the 4MATIC system. Unfortunately, you can easily add $18,000 in options (including the AMG package) to make the car cost over $55,000, like our tester. That’s getting up there.

Check out this video and see what you think!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.