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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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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.

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