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In-depth reviews

Mercedes CLA review - Interior, design and technology

The latest Mercedes CLA sets a high benchmark for interior tech, fit and finish

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.5 out of 5

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The Mercedes CLA aims to offer the sleek styling and coupe roofline of the larger CLS, but in a smaller and more affordable package. It certainly looks the part; those sweeping lines and pert rear end give it a level of road presence missing on rivals like the Audi A3 Saloon and even Merc’s very own A-Class models.

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The CLA comes loaded with all the kit buyer of cars like this desire. Be that a smart but subtle body kit, large alloy wheels or high-end paint finishes, the four-door coupe cuts a dashing silhouette.

Inside, the CLA sets a tremendously high standard. Quality is very good, with all versions featuring a 10.25-inch digital driver's display and an infotainment screen of the same size. Integrated sat-nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are also included, along with Merc’s ‘Hey Mercedes’ virtual assistant. Although, in our experience this isn’t the most useful or innovative system of its type.

Both the CLA 35 and 45 S models receive the typical AMG bodystyling additions, along with extra chrome exterior trim and subtle badging.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Every Mercedes CLA features Merc’s MBUX infotainment system, complete with ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant. Some customers may find this tech useful – you can change things like the radio station and the temperature for the climate control – but in reality it doesn’t work as well as we'd like. If you’re used to services like Amazon Alexa, you’ll find Merc’s set-up a challenge to use.

Mercedes offers a three-year package of live traffic and map updates as standard, with the option to extend the coverage at extra cost.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    CLA 180 AMG Line 4dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £31,330

Most Economical

  • Name
    CLA 250e AMG Line Premium Plus 4dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £40,755

Fastest

  • Name
    CLA 250 AMG Line 4dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £34,380
Executive editor

Paul was employed across automotive agency and manufacturer-side sectors before joining Auto Express in 2020 as our online reviews editor. After a brief sojourn at a national UK newspaper, Paul returned as executive editor where he now works closely with our commercial partners.

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