At 4,809 mm long, the new Mercedes-Benz CLA is larger than a Mercedes-Benz C-Class (4,808 mm). Then the doubt increases whether you still have to go for a C-Class. For a week we drive a Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 Shooting Brake, the most popular motorization in the CLA range. Will it be this CLA, or are we still going for a C-Class?
Mercedes CLA popular model
Mercedes-Benz has done good business with the CLA. Since its introduction in 2013, more than 750,000 units have been sold worldwide, with Europe and the United States as the main markets. At its peak, more than 75 percent of U.S. buyers came from another brand. In Europe about 50 percent.
Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 buyer
The CLA is therefore an important model to attract new – especially younger – buyers to the brand and to keep them there. It is a fact that CLA buyers are on average ten years younger than the average Mercedes driver.
CLA 180 reshape
The first generation CLA was not perfect. It did not offer the desired interior space and in terms of proportions the car was not quite ‘balanced’. Mercedes-Benz makes everything right with this new CLA. The proportions of the Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé and CLA Shooting Brake have been completely changed compared to the previous version.
The car is 48mm longer, 53mm wider and also 2mm lower. Narrow taillights emphasize the rear even more. The wheels are now placed more on the corners, so that the CLA automatically looks more threatening. With AMG Line – as this CLA Shooting Brake is fitted – it looks even sportier. This package costs 4,356 euros.
Larger Tire base Mercedes
Also nice: the wheelbase has increased by 30 mm. This means that occupants enjoy much more interior space. Especially in the back it is now much better to sit, so we also hear from thick 1.85 meter long passengers who stay in the back seat during a number of rides. Legs, head, shoulders, elbows, you can put them all in the back.
Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 dead angle
It’s a bit dark in the back. In this case, this is not only due to a black headliner, but in principle mainly due to narrow windows and thick pillars. This makes you feel very cut off from the outside world. In any case, the all-round visibility is not perfect. In the case of this CLA Shooting Brake, you rely more on the large side mirrors, the parking sensors and the parking cameras (which, incidentally, provide a super sharp image). The A and B pillars are quite thick. Mercedes-Benz is aware of the limited all-round visibility and therefore supplies a rear camera as standard.
One thing is certain: such a CLA Shooting Brake can function perfectly as a family car. He is spacious enough for that, the luggage space is also substantial. The loading opening of the new CLA Shooting Brake has been significantly widened. It now measures 87.1 centimeters (was 63.5 centimeters). This means that you can load groceries more easily, although there is a lifting threshold. The luggage compartment grew by 10 liters to 505 liters. More than enough. In this case, the tailgate opens automatically.
Mercedes-Benz positions the CLA as a lifestyle combination, as it is called in jargon. The four-door version of the new CLA even gets the designation ‘Coupé’ and the station wagon version is called Shooting Brake. Admittedly, it tastes good. In both cases, there are also frameless windows of the doors, a beautiful design element.
Interior Mercedes-Benz CLA
We also want to label the interior as ‘beautiful’. The finish is of an exceptionally high level and all materials feel fantastic. Almost everything is soft touch and everything is tightly put together. Yes, you would like to stay in this interior.
The MBUX infotainment system with large HD displays is one of the best available at the moment and can be operated very easily with swipe buttons on the steering wheel, with touch, voice control or with a capacitive touch pad (watch our video). Blindly operating things on the road is possible, so that’s nice.
Augmented reality Mercedes-Benz
The navigation system with MBUX augmented reality is brilliant. On the right display you will see a razor-sharp image of the camera that is located under the interior mirror and you can see with graphic elements which street you should take. This system also provides an excellent image at night. Mercedes-Benz takes a lot of points here.
Mercedes Voice assistant
It also includes a personal assistant. Say ‘Hey Mercedes’ and the lovely assistant will automatically be heard. Whoever named his or her daughter ‘Mercedes’ has a big problem, because the system reacts to anything that resembles Mercedes. For example, give a navigation instruction via speech. Wait for the lovely personal assistant to say ‘how can I help you’ then say ‘navigate to’ and then say the street first, the house number and then the city. A child can do the laundry. Various voice commands are possible.
Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 Shooting Brake (2020) – AutoRAI TV
Active Lane Assist could be better
It will not surprise you, but the new CLA Shooting Brake is also full of safety systems. Some are standard, others are optional. Active Brake Assist and Speed Limit Assist are standard, as is Active Lane Keeping Assist. We always turn the latter off, because you are very shocked if this system intervenes by an overly aggressive ESP intervention on one wheel.
The system intervenes if you inadvertently (without indicating a direction) drive over an interrupted or continuous line. The system warns with a vibrating steering wheel or by a one-sided brake intervention, but especially that brake intervention is done with little flexibility. Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz gives you the opportunity to decide for yourself which systems to switch on and which to switch off, so that you can always travel comfortably.
Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 comfort
Comfort is good. Above average even. What a wonderful travel car the CLA Shooting Brake is. It is quiet, has pleasant steering, excellent seats and a great chassis so that your rides will be over in no time – no matter how unfortunate that is. You determine the character of the CLA yourself. Thanks to Dynamic Select – available as standard – you can choose from the Sport, Comfort and Eco driving programs. The characteristics of the engine, transmission, ESP and steering are then adjusted.
Sport, Comfort of Eco mode
In the “Sport” driving program, the CLA is a bit more dynamic, in the “ECO” position, everything is aimed at maximum efficiency, and in the basic “Comfort” driving program, everything is nicely balanced. We always drove in Comfort, a perfect match with the overall character of the CLA.
CLA 180 power source
Talking about a perfect match: the 180 is a wonderful engine for the CLA. It is also the most popular power source for this model. Also nice: the CLA 180 is the basic petrol engine in the range and therefore the cheapest. For the CLA 180 Coupé you pay 36,942 euros and for this CLA 180 Shooting Brake at least 38,918 euros. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. For the automatic 7G-DCT transmission you pay 2,178 euros extra. Our tip: always do it. A Mercedes-Benz comes with an automatic transmission.
What engine does the CLA 180 have?
The CLA 180 has a Renault engine. Yes, there is French technology in this model. It is a 1,332 cc four-cylinder turbo petrol engine that we also know from the Renault Mégane. The block produces 136 hp (110 kW) and 200 Nm. The block responds eagerly to the gas, is quiet and torquey at lower speeds. The sprint to 100 km/h takes 9.6 seconds and the top speed is 215 km/h. Excellent performance. The average consumption is also acceptable: 5.5 liters per 100 kilometers. At a speed of 100 km/h, he only wants 4.5 liters per 100 km. You can cover more than 700 kilometers on one tank.
CLA 180 in brief
If we put all the test results together, we come to the following summary: better proportions, wonderful engine, fine chassis, excellent build quality, sufficiently spacious and perfect infotainment. What could be better: the all-round view and the fine-tuning of certain safety systems. Overall, this new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake is a car that you quickly fall in love with and that bystanders like to turn their heads for.
Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 conclusion
Too bad for the C-Class, but at this stage that model can’t match the (infotainment) qualities of this CLA Shooting Brake. The luggage space of the CLA Shooting Brake is above average spacious for a decent holiday. When Mercedes-Benz introduces a new C-Class in the near future, the roles will probably be reversed, but at the moment this CLA Shooting Brake is the better station in a more stylish outfit.