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Mercedes-Benz GLA small SUV

The Mercedes-Benz GLA compact crossover will be built on the MFA A/B platform that underpins the CLA four-door coupe.

The vehicle -- based on the MFA A/B platform that also underpins the recently revealed CLA four-door coupe -- started off being called the BLK. Then for a while we heard it referred to as the GLC.

But it seems Mercedes-Benz has settled on calling it the GLA. For now, at least. That would be a logical step to align the nameplate with the GL and GLK Mercedes SUVs, while also linking it to the platform on which the A-class and B-Class are also based.

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is likely to go on sale in Europe in 2014, which means early 2015 for us -- given the recent pattern of a six-month breather before Stuttgart's product arrives here. 

And the local Merc HQ is keen to get it into Australia. “It is certainly on our radar to get it here,” Mercedes-Benz spokesman Jerry Stamoulis says. “We haven’t seen the final version or the full specs, but anything in that size SUV will be competitive without a doubt.”

“It’s the perfect alternative for people who want more space but don’t want to go up to a large SUV, and for whose people who are coming up from a small hatch.”

The Mercedes-Benz GLA will go head-to-head with the Range Rover Evoque -- which has been winning applause and awards, including the recent Women's World Car of the Year. The GLA wil possibly be offered in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel drive and carry both petrol and diesel engine options.

Styling will be a priority, with the Evoque having already set a standard for design in the SUV field -- a bar that other luxury brands will not ignore and will try to beat in the race for sales.

Given the rising tide of sales in the smaller end of the SUV field, there's no doubt the GLA could be a hand weapon in Mercedes-Benz's declaration of war as they launch a bid to overtake Audi and BMW and regain their spot as the world's top luxury car brand.