Mercedes CLA interior

The Mercedes CLA Coupe has one of the most eye-catching cabins of any small car and packs plenty of high-tech features as standard but it still feels a little cheap in places.

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On one hand, the Mercedes CLA Coupe’s cabin is a triumph – it is one of the most eye-catching interiors of any small car with plenty of high-tech features as standard. Despite this, it still feels a little cheap in places.

If you’ve been inside the latest Mercedes A-Class hatchback and saloon then the CLA’s interior will feel quite familiar, but that’s not a bad thing. It oozes posh, from the brushed metal air vents to the sweeping, uncluttered dashboard.

There’s only one row of physical switches – they look after the heating and ventilation controls – and they’re still easy to reach when you’re driving despite being tucked away on the central console. The materials do feel a bit cheap in places – low down, by the armrest and below the central console – but elsewhere the cabin feels as good as it looks.

Even the most affordable Mercedes CLA Coupe gets a selection of good materials, too, with leather sports seats, a soft Nappa leather steering wheel and brushed aluminium trims all the way across the dashboard and on to the front doors.

The entry-level AMG Line cars come with a pair of infotainment displays on the dashboard, but the screens you get in AMG Line Premium trim are even more impressive. These top-level CLA Coupe versions also get customisable 64-colour mood lighting, illuminated Mercedes-branded door sills, keyless entry and an upgraded stereo.

To really flood the Mercedes CLA Coupe’s cabin with light, you’ll want the Premium Plus model. These get a ginormous panoramic roof which makes the cabin feel much lighter and airier.

The Mercedes CLA Coupe comes with a very similar cabin to the uber-desirable interior in the A-Class hatchback – only in this four-door coupe you get lots more kit as standard.

Mat Watson
carwow expert
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Infotainment

You get two infotainment screens as standard in the Mercedes CLA Coupe. One takes care of the stereo, satellite navigation and ambient lighting (and some other bits) while the other sits in place of the traditional analogue dials in front of the steering wheel.

AMG Line cars get a seven-inch display in front of the driver and a 10-inch screen in the middle of the cabin, but every other version gets a pair of 10-inch displays. Whichever version you get, the screens are bright and very clear and will be easy to read in bright sunlight.

There are various ways to control the central screen – as a touchscreen, via the touchpad on the central console or through the touch-sensitive button on the steering wheel. The menus are sensibly laid out and easy to navigate, but the latest iDrive system you get in many BMWs is even better to use.

The same is true with the Mercedes CLA Coupe’s MBUX voice control system. It should respond to commands in plain English but it isn’t quite as reliable as BMW’s Personal Assistant system.

However, unlike BMWs, you get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard across the Mercedes CLA Coupe range so you can use your phone’s music-streaming and navigation apps through the touchscreen infotainment display.

You might feel you don’t need to, though, as Mercedes’ standard built-in sat nav is a doddle to program and shows directions on bright, clear maps that are easy to read. You can even customise the digital driver’s display to show a large map screen in between the two digital dials.

The AMG Line Premium models have a super-cool augmented reality feature for the sat nav that is more than just a clever party trick. It overlays street names and directions onto a video feed that comes from the Mercedes CLA Coupe’s forward-facing camera so you’ll have no excuse for missing upcoming turnings. It isn’t perfect, but it feels a bit like having a knowledgeable passenger guiding you through tricky junctions that are hard to understand on a plain map

The upgraded 225W stereo is another nice added feature on the AMG Premium Line cars. It’s louder and more bassy than the standard unit thanks to an extra amplifier and a subwoofer mounted in the boot.

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