Mercedes CLA (2013-2019) review - Interior, design and technology
Inside, the Mercedes CLA delivers a premium feel, although the quality isn’t quite up to Audi levels
There's no doubt that the striking looks are one of the key selling points of the Mercedes CLA. Take into account the sweeping side creases, tapered rear and the nose of the A-Class, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest it looks like a scaled-down CLS – especially since the larger car recently underwent a facelift that introduced some of the latest Mercedes styling cues.
Whether the styling works as well on the shrunken proportions of the CLA is open to debate, but the car certainly turns more heads than the four-door Audi A3 Saloon. Frameless windows are a nice coupe touch, too. And if imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then the CLS is clearly doing something right, as it’s inspired the lifestyle estate version of the CLA, badged the CLA Shooting Brake.
Inside, the dashboard is identical to that found in the Mercedes A-Class, so you get a smart design dominated bya strip of three air vents, a tablet-style screen and a smart, textured leather multifunction steering wheel.
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Used car tests
Mercedes also offers an Exclusive Package worth around £2,000, which adds upmarket features such as heated seats, leather upholstery with contrast stitching and aluminium trim.
Look closely around the cabin, though, and there are a few hard plastics here and there so the overall quality of the finish isn't quite up to Audi levels. Still, this isn’t enough to detract from the premium feel of the Mercedes CLA.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
All versions of the Mercedes CLA come with a seven-inch tablet-style central screen. The trouble is, it sits on top of the dash, where it looks like something of an afterthought. It’s not touch-sensitive, either; instead, it’s controlled via Mercedes’ COMAND wheel on the centre console.
Standard kit includes a radio and single CD player, USB and Bluetooth connectivity and wiring for the optional Garmin sat-nav system.
You can also upgrade to the COMAND Online system, which brings an eight-inch display and provides Internet access, 3D navigation, live traffic and MP3 compatibility.
In this review
- 1Mercedes CLA (2013-2019) reviewThe Mercedes CLA is a sharp looking four-door variant of the A-Class, and rivals the Audi A3 Saloon
- 2Engines, performance and driveDiesels are efficient but gruff, while the smoother petrol engines serve up performance ranging from lively to sensational
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe CLA promises decent fuel economy in everyday use, and should hold on to its value reasonably well
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingInside, the Mercedes CLA delivers a premium feel, although the quality isn’t quite up to Audi levels
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe swooping looks impact on the CLA’s practicality, with limited rear headroom and only a moderately sized boot
- 6Reliability and SafetyMercedes continues to slide down our Driver Power satisfaction survey’s makers’ chart, although the CLA scores on safety kit