Mercedes’ pocket rocket

This is the Mercedes GLA 45 AMG, a “hot crossover”, says James Taylor in Car magazine. In other words, it is a cross between a high-performance hatchback and a four-wheel-drive SUV, Mercedes’ answer to the Range Rover Evoque.

The ‘45 AMG’ suffix signals that the flagship model uses the same “ballistic” four-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive system as its AMG stablemates. That means you can expect the kind of performance from this “fairly unassuming family car that a Porsche 911 Turbo would have aimed for just a decade ago”.

The styling is “undeniably distinctive”, says Matt Saunders in Autocar, and the handling and ride are “nicely judged”, absorbing lumps and bumps quietly and comfortably, making it a practical proposition for everyday use.

The car also feels remarkably flat and precise in the corners, and is a lot of fun on a twisting road. It is “all the more amusing” if you go for the optional firmer springs and sports exhaust, which “pops, whooshes and growls with uninhibited abandon”.

The design may make it look more like a chunky hot hatch than a performance SUV, but it has a certain charm, says Mat Watson in AutoExpress. It is also “blistering” in a straight line. Indeed, says Taylor, this is “the Merc to give other pocket rockets a bloody nose”.

Price: £42,000
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo
Power: 355bhp
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Top speed: 155mph (limited)