Thursday 26 April 2018

First Drive: Mercedes launch a sporty estate with the new CLA

Bob Flavin

Bob Flavin

They call is Shooting Brake but it's an estate version of the CLA and it's not only better looking, it's also more refined to drive.

It seems there’s an never ending stream of new models coming out from Mercedes and with each one they are forging a new image. A young image, they want more young people to think of Mercedes as a choice they wouldn’t have thought of before.

The CLA is one of these young cars, it’s designed to compete head on with the Audi A3 saloon and in that it does very well. It has all the right shape and enough angles and curves to compete with a Philippe Starck design.

These angles add up to a very pleasing shape, a sort of coupé but small with four doors. Now Mercedes are adding a Shooting Brake version, that’s an estate to the normal folk out there.

It still keeps the coupé look but adds a much bigger boot at 495ltrs with all the seats up and 1,354 with the row down.

It’s not only the shape that pleasing, I think it rides better too. There’s something about the extra length that makes it more balanced and the ride more cosseted from the road surface.

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Thankfully Mercedes have gotten rid of the gramophone looking interface that used to be on the screen in the middle. It’s replaced with another interface that’s altogether more pleasing. It still amounts to the same controls but it’s a little easier to navigate via a touch pad and wheel system.

As usual there’s a lot of choices with the CLA. Five Euro 6-compliant engines are available initially - two CDI diesel models and three petrol models, all equipped with ECO start/stop function. Diesel versions consist of a 4-cylinder, 2.2-litre, 136hp, CLA200 CDI at €36,125 (ex works) and a 4-cylinder, 2.2-litre, 177hp, CLA220 CDI Automatic at €40,195. Petrol versions begin with a 4-cylinder, 1.6-litre, 122hp, CLA180 at €31,490.followed by a 4-cylinder, 1.6-litre, 156hp, CLA200 at €35,235 and a 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre, 211hp, CLA250 at €45,045.Diesels have annual road tax of just €190 with petrol models at a slightly higher €270 figure.

Mercedes tell me that there’s refinements coming to the price list in the future, there’ll be more packs and less lists. That said there’s low road tax and decent fuel economy on offer in the range.

Commenting, Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars said ‘consistent with their drive to compete in all segments, the V-Class and CLA Shooting Brake combine attractive prices, top-end specifications, luxury and refinement in a way that Mercedes-Benz believes will attract an even wider cross-section of owners to the brand.’

The CLA Shoot Brake should be hitting the showrooms very soon.

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