Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake loaded with image and appeal
15:43 08 January 2016
If you need a small estate car but don’t want to sacrifice sporty style for space, then the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake will be right up your street, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake
Price: Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 CDI Sport Shooting Brake £30,625 (range £26,030 to £43,510)
Engine: 2,143cc, 177hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 8.3 seconds; top speed 142mph
MPG: Urban 57.7; extra urban 74.3; combined 67.3
CO2 emissions: 108g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 19%
Insurance group: 27 (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years, unlimited mileage
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,630mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,032mm; H 1,435mm
Twenty-five years ago, with a toddler and second baby on the way, it was time to chop in the hot hatchback for an estate car that could handle a double buggy.
The problem was that the estates on offer were, at bes,t boring, at worst downright dull. I ended up with a Ford Sierra estate, which served the purpose for a few years of monotonous motoring.
Now if I was looking for a stylish load-lugger for nappies, a buggy and all the other baby paraphanalia, the new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake would be on my radar.
The CLA Shooting Brake is the latest member of the Mercedes compact range, a lifestyle estate to go with the coupe-like CLA saloon and picking up the svelte, slippery styling of the bigger CLS range.
Whatever way you look at it, the CLA Shooting Brake is an elegant holdall, epitomised by that long, sloping tail and frameless door windows, designed to appeal to a younger market that needs extra load space but is put off by traditional estate car.
Space and comfort
The CLA Shooting Brake sits between a hatchback and a conventional estate car. If you need to carry large items, you’d be better off with a C-Class estate but if you just need more space than an A-Class hatchback, with which it shares the front-wheel drive platform, then it is very desirable.
The boot opening narrows at the bottom, and there is a raised load sill, but there’s a decent floor area although that sloping tailgate is the limited factor when it comes to big, bulky items.
The 495-litre boot boasts some underfloor storage and the 60/40 split rear seats backs fold flat to create a long load bay, freeing up 1,354 litres, but with the integrated head rests you might have to move the front seat forward to gain clearance. The £545 load compartment package option includes a height-adjustable and lockable boot floor and a more upright ‘cargo’ position for the rear seat backs to give 595 litres of boot space while still able to carry passengers in the back.
Rear legroom is adequate, provided those up front are long-legged, and, while the CLA Shooting Brake has 40mm more headroom in the back, that sloping roof and tapering side windows limit the view.
Under the bonnet
There’s 122hp 1.6 and 218hp and AMG CLA 381hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines, but the 136 and 177hp 2.1-litre turbo diesels will be popular choices with the latter automatic only and with the option of 4Matic four-wheel drive.
The more powerful 220d diesel pulls strongly from low revs with decent mid-range urgency - just as well as it’s gruff driven hard – and returned 53mpg overall.
The automatic gearbox makes for relaxing progress but it’s not a slick shifter, sometimes reluctant to switch ratios, but you can take control via shift paddles on the steering wheel.
How does it drive?
The suspension is on the firm side which makes for agile, well-mannered handling with little body roll through fast corners but the downside is it’s sensitive to poor road surfaces with noticeable bump-thump and tyre noise. Unlike bigger Mercedes models, the CLA has front-wheel drive which will be a selling point for some drivers.
That said, it’s comfortable and composed at cruising speeds but the CLA is going to appeal to a younger market who will appreciate the more youthful driving experience.
In the cabin
The CLA doesn’t skimp on interior quality, feeling classy for the money, but an intermittent rattle from the dashboard was niggling.
The instruments and main controls are well located and user-friendly but I’m not a fan of that big screen display perched on top of the fascia and the small buttons for the heating and ventilation system are set down low and fiddly.
The CLA Shooting Brake is a desirable niche product for those who need more space and practicality than a hatchback but want more style than a conventional estate. In this respect, its looks and image are spot on.