Unveiled in production form three years ago, the GLA-Class is the first compact crossover from Mercedes-Benz, and its success has sent it slowly but surely heading toward a mid-cycle facelift.
Almost universally liked for its eye-catching design and a low starting price for a three-pointed star crossover, the GLA was also dismissed by some for its almost nonexistent off-road credentials. Its small car-like ground clearance and low-slung body almost qualify it as a slightly bigger and more premium Volkswagen Golf alternative on the U.S. market, for example.
Not to say that there are that many crossover customers who do use their cars' higher ground clearance and available all-wheel-drive systems to go rock-climbing, but those are still useful features to have.
As it happens, Mercedes-Benz took notice, and it looks that the revamped GLA version that should go on sale next year will sport a much higher ground clearance compared to the current model. At least this is what the adjacent spy photos seem to suggest.
The standard GLA-Class now has a 14 cm (5.5 inches) ride height, and if you spec one with the sports suspension (only in connection with the Dynamic Handling Package or AMG line), it sits over half an inch lower than that.
Sure, in some markets there is also an off-road package that increases ground clearance to 17 cm (6.7 inches), but you'll probably live your whole life without seeing one on the road; or off the road, for that matter.
We're not entirely sure if our spyshots depict a more off-road-ready version of the facelifted GLA, but the pre-production prototype we caught definitely looks almost as high as a G-Class from the ground.
Set to be unveiled in 2017 as a MY 2018, the refreshed GLA won't look that much different from certain angles, with the biggest design difference revolving around the modified front and rear bumpers and new graphics for the optional full-Led headlights and taillights.
Engine-wise, there shouldn't bee too many novelties either, since Mercedes-Benz is currently preparing a new modular engine family for the cars it will build on the MFA2 platform. A selective damping system, full-LED headlights, better quality interior trim and slightly improved fuel economy across the engine lineup should be the main points of attraction.
Read more: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA Facelift Caught With Much Higher Ground Clearance - autoevolution