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Mercedes CLA (2013-2019) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

The swooping looks impact on the CLA’s practicality, with limited rear headroom and only a moderately sized boot

Get behind the wheel of the Mercedes CLA, and it's clear that the low-slung driving position has been created to help with the sporty feel inside the car. Happily, though, anyone should be able to get comfortable as there's a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment.

Up front, there's plenty of storage space dotted around; the electric parking brake frees up room on the centre console for some decent-sized cubbyholes.

Plus, buyers can pick from a long list of options to make the CLA more practical. For around £170, the storage package adds parcel nets in the cabin, a 12v socket in the passenger footwell, storage boxes under the front seats and a sunglasses holder in the overhead panel. For a similar price, an optional rear armrest and ski hatch can be ordered. Privacy glass costs around £230, while run-flat tyres will set you back about £140. 

If you want more space without sacrificing style, the CLA Shooting Brake should appeal. It carries a price premium of around £1,000 over the saloon, and increases boot capacity from 470 to 495 litres. Clearly, it’s not a full-on load lugger, but the extra space and arguably more handsome looks mean it’s worth considering.

Size

With so many models and an increasingly complex naming strategy, it’s worth taking a moment to consider where the CLA sits in the Mercedes range. At 4,630mm, it’s under 6cm shorter than a rear-wheel-drive C-Class saloon, but nearly 34cm longer than the front-wheel-drive A-Class five-door with which it shares its platform. An Audi A3 Saloon measures 2,460mm end to end.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

For occupants in the rear, however, things aren't so good. The coupe roofline makes space quite tight, and it's easy for taller passengers to bang their head on the low door frame when getting in and out. On paper, the Mercedes CLA is a five-seater, but the seat in the middle of the rear bench is narrow and the wide transmission tunnel means there's not a great deal of foot space.

Boot

Despite the slightly claustrophobic rear, the Mercedes CLA provides plenty of luggage space. There is a 470-litre boot with load securing rings, as well as a foam puncture repair kit which hides under the boot floor. Plus, Mercedes provides split-fold rear seats as standard.

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