The Mercedes CLA is a stylish four-door coupe with high-tech safety features and a big boot. However, alternatives are generally more comfortable
You can think of the Mercedes CLA as a mini-CLS that’s also available as a more-practical Shooting Brake. Its similar in size to the Audi A3 Saloon, the cheaper Mazda 3 Fastback and the two-door BMW 2 Series.
Inside the Mercedes CLA, there’s a good amount of expensive materials, but the sheer amount of buttons and switches is confusing and can be frustrating. The dashboard design also looks dated next to the A3 Saloon’s minimalistic dashboard. On the upside, all models get a seven-inch screen for the infotainment system.
Space upfront is reasonable, provided you’re not over six feet tall otherwise the Mercedes CLA is tight in all directions, especially for headroom. As befits a Mercedes there’s all sorts of steering and seat adjustments to easily get comfortable behind the wheel – you can get memory seats if you go for the Plus option package. Space in the back is not so good and is only realistically for kids – there’s even less headroom thanks to the plunging roofline.
Driving the Mercedes CLA is slightly disappointing if the sporty looks are anything to go by. There’s no shortage of grip, but the CLA is far from cosseting, especially on poor roads where it’s downright bumpy. There’s little road and wind noise on the move, but the wheels can be heard thumping over bumps.
The engine line-up is good, if not particularly versatile. Stick to the slightly agricultural diesels for the best blend of performance and low running costs, especially on long motorway trips. The petrols are quiet and best around town, while the bonkers CLA45 AMG is super fast.
The CLA is a good alternative to the A-Class, trading some practicality for striking looks
The Mercedes CLA has sacrificed some usability at the altar of sleek looks, however, it’s certainly not a bad car and the mini-CLS styling will be more than enough to offset some of its objective failings for many buyers.
For a more detailed look at the CLA, read through the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, if you just want to see the kind of savings you can expect, just click through to our Mercedes CLA deals page.