Like its predecessor, the Mercedes-Benz CLA is a compact family saloon for those who aren’t yet willing to stop worshipping at the altar of style. From the twin ‘power domes’ on its bonnet, to the arcing window line and sculptured tail, this is a car that sacrifices a little practicality for a big dollop of style.
Yes, you get a bigger boot than in the closely related A-Class but it’s accessed through an old-school bootlid rather than a far more practical hatchback. It’s good news, though, that the latest model has had a bit of a growth spurt compared to the first-generation CLA; interior space has increased and the latest car has a more aggressive stance on the road.
Under the bonnet you’ll find a selection of petrol and diesel engines that range from 134bhp all the way up to 221bhp, all of which come with an automatic gearbox although a manual gearbox will soon be offered on some of the less powerful engines to bring the price down a little. Should you want more pace, AMG-tuned models include the CLA45, which we've reviewed separately.
Like the latest A-Class, it’s all change inside, too. Inspired by the S-Class luxury limo, the latest CLA gets a big (10.3in to be exact) infotainment screen neighboured by another, configurable digital display that takes care of dashboard instrumentation. This is 7.0in in size as standard, but upgrading to Premium grade enlarges it to 10.3in to match the infotainment display.
As for competition from other cars, it does look a little like Mercedes has shot itself in the foot by offering a similar-looking – if more upright – A-Class saloon, too. The Audi A3 Saloon is a rival but doesn’t look quite so slinky, while the cheaper Hyundai i30 Fastback is designed along similarly stylish lines, although it’s unlikely to strike a chord with premium car fans.
Keep reading for our full four-point review on the CLA and don’t forget to check out our New Car Buying section. You could save thousands on your next new car purchase without the hassle of haggling.