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Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (2015–)

Last updated 19 May 2018

Handsome looking alternative to the standard small estate. Good interior quality. CLA 200 CDI is economical. Boot is surprisingly useful.
Diesels and 7G DCT automatic don't make for the best combination. Top models are expensive new. Cramped in the back seats.
Updated 19 May 2018

Report of leather side bolster of driver's seat of 2016 Mercedes CLA 220D Shooting Brake splitting at 18,000 miles.

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Introduction

Mercedes-Benz describes the CLA Shooting Brake as an exciting, practical and alternative family car. Alternative being the right word. Here is a small coupe-like estate that's come from the CLA which itself is based on the latest A-Class. So is this strange blend a successful one?

Well in terms of looks, the CLA Shooting Brake stands out. Like the larger CLS Shooting Brake, it's an elegant and distinctive estate that's the antithesis to the standard boxy estate car. It's a refreshing change. But is this a case of style over substance.

Well not necessarily. Yes the boot isn't as practical as something like a Volkswagen Golf Estate but it's still pretty handy and will easily accommodate a pushchair and shopping. It's not good for boxy items but the boot is long and wide enough for everyday needs. Plus there's a large under-the-floor storage area.

Being based on the A-Class, don't expect acres of rear legroom, but there's reasonable space. That said, put in a standard rear-facing baby car seat and you'll need to slide the front seats pretty much all the way forward. The swooping roofline at the back doesn't make it particularly easy to get your little one in or out either.

There are no question marks over interior quality though. The CLA Shooting Brake feels like a premium product with a high level to the fit and finish. It's perhaps not quite as sophisticated a design as the Audi A3 - things like the infotainment panel and air conditioning controls are somewhat pedestrian - but everything is intuitive and easy to use.

Unlike larger Mercedes-Benz models, the CLA Shooting Brake is front-wheel drive; however, it's well set-up to handle neatly with little body roll and responsive steering. As small estates go, few are as good or as enjoyable to drive as the CLA Shooting Brake. 

There are two petrol engines - the CLA 180 and the CLA 250 4Matic plus two diesel choices, the CLA 200 CDI and CLA 220 CDI. The topmost model in the range is the CLA 45 AMG 4matic. The diesels are the most popular with both versions powered by the same 2.1-litre diesel engine albeit with different power outputs. However, we're still not convinced by the combination of the CDI engines and the 7G DCT automatic gearbox. 

With pricing for the CLA Shooting Brake range kicking off at £25,755 for the CLA 180 and stretching to £43,120 for the sporty CLA 45 AMG, this is not a cheap small estate. If you want outright space then look elsewhere, but if you want plenty of style and a dash of practicality - the CLA Shooting Brake is the only small premium estate around.

 

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