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Straight from the Specialists

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz GLA

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

The trend of luxury crossovers was started by BMW with the X1. Audi followed suit with its Q3 and Mercedes-Benz is now entering the game with the GLA.

On sheer looks, Mercedes-Benz seems to have got it right with the GLA. It’s a great effort of making the A-Class hatchback look like a crossover. Though they may not have managed to pull off a crossover per se, the GLA definitely looks well proportioned and flaunts pronounced curves. It even looks slightly muscular from some angles. It’s a bit odd, as the GLA – to the keen eye – will look more proportionate and attractive in comparison to the A-Class. The A-Class now comes across as the GLA that the Hulk sat on.

The resemblance to the A-Class isn’t limited to surface design and overall appearance; the GLA looks similar on the inside too. There’s oddity around – like the tab-type screen hooked on in the middle of the dashboard – but it sort of looks fine. Mercedes is being aggressive globally in their strategy, and that’s odd too. But it’s working, no?

The space in the cabin is also very hatch-like, which means it’s not much – especially at the rear. Particularly so if you’re tall. The business end, conversely, is supportive and finding the right driving position isn’t an issue. The quality inside is also typically Merc – properly blue-chip.

Hyundai makes a grand move with the Grand i10

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

In 1947, when India won freedom from British rule, an enterprising young man in South Korea was realizing a dream that was to become a global phenomenon. Chung Ju-yung, founder of the Hyundai group, set up a construction company at 32 and two decades later, the Hyundai Motor Company was born.

Why do we buy what we buy?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Let’s cut out all the marketing jargon and adspeak. Consumers (that means people, you and me) try to buy rationally, on price – it’s cheaper, on quality – it lasts longer, on service – they won’t let you down when things go wrong. And sometimes it is genuinely possible to make rational choices when we buy things. Mostly though it isn’t anymore, because products and services are increasingly similar in their rational characteristics. If they are poorer quality or more expensive than a direct competitor, they die.

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