Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 CDi Urban

In addition to the standard Jupiter Red and Cirrus White paint, the CLA can be specified  in designo Patagonia Red

In addition to the standard Jupiter Red and Cirrus White paint, the CLA can be specified in designo Patagonia Red

We get behind the wheel of the most aerodynamic car on the planet, Geraldine Herbert drives the new Mercedes CLA

What is it? Mercedes have taken the excellent A Class hatchback and turned it into a super stylish and delectable saloon. The result is a slick four seater with rakish looks and coupe like curves.

Who is it aimed at?  This sleek baby Benz was created to attract young buyers  and aims to turn the heads of  BMW 3 Series and Audi A3 saloon drivers.

Styling? The CLA is an unusual blend of aggressive but elegant styling and is simply stunning from every angle. The slopping roofline, muscular arches and distinctive LED lighting combine to give real road presence.

Under the Bonnet? Powering our test car was the 2.2-litre diesel engine, smaller diesels options include a 1.8 and a 2.0 litre. Petrol options start with a 1.6 and go right up to the range toping CLA250.

What about Inside? Slip behind the wheel and the interior instantly feels luxurious helped by swaths of soft-touch materials and artico black leather throughout the cabin. The dash is reassuringly smartly styled and simple yet high tech. Space is good through and in the back while modest it is not quite the compromise you would expect from the sweeping coupe lines. Its snug but there’s enough legroom for adults and the boot is a very generous 470 litres.

On the Road? While the CLA never quite delivers the sporty performance that the exterior  hints at on the road it drives well.  The ride may be a little harsh for some but the handling more than compensates and it is as sharp as the CLA looks. Around the city  it is noisy and the gear change is noticeably slow but on the motorway its a super smooth cruiser.

And Safety? Numerous driving assistance systems, including advanced Adapative Brake Lights, Attention Assist and Collision Prevention Assist, are standard. This system is able to warn the driver of an obstacle from a speed of 7km/h and to respond with precision braking as soon as the driver steps on the brake pedal.

 The new CLA blends innovation, style and practicality

The new CLA blends innovation, style and practicality

Options? Five distinct trim are offered, including Standard, Urban and AMG Sport and other features include ECO start/stop, 6-speed manual or 7G-automatic, depending on model choice. Suspension set in comfort mode is standard but a sports setting is available as an option.

What about fuel economy? Our diesel test car  proved very economical on both urban and motorway driving and with CO2 emissions of just 117g/km annual road tax for the 2.2 diesel is €200. Around the city it consumes an efficient 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres and on a mix of urban and motorway driving a frugal 4.5 litres per 100 km.

Okay so the Verdict?  Mercedes have always had the ability to innovate and the new CLA brings an affordable dash of CLS glamour to the range. It is stunning to look at and beautifully finished inside and while it may be no hot hatch this stylish four door coupe is a welcome addition to the Benz family.


Why you’ll buy one? One of the most stylish cars on the road

Why you won’t?  Visibility is bad; Disappointing drive



BMW 3 series Saloon – €34,730 – €65,630

A3 Saloon – €30,860 – €52,150


Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 CDi Urban 

Engine:  2143cc, 170 bhp @ 3,400-4,000 rpm, 350Nm @ 1,400-3,400 rpm
Max speed:  230kph
0-100 kph:  8.2 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax):  117 g/km (€200)
Model price range: €30,170 – €64,400 (Test car €42,208*)
No of Doors: 4
Euro NCAP: Not yet tested
Fuel type:  Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle):  4.5 litres per 100 km (62.8 mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 470mm
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Length: 4630mm
Width:  1777mm
Height:  1432mm
Wheelbase: 2699mm

*optional extras included
Polar Silver Metallic Paint, Run Flat Capability Tyres, Artico Man Made black Leather

For more information check out or the Mercedes Benz facebook page,


Geraldine Herbert

4th December, 2013



Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring Editor and Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK), EuroNews and to RTÉ, Newstalk, TodayFM, BBC Radio and Vigin Media. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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