Drove through the winding roads of Mount Glorious and Nebo in Brisbane to test out the car’s all-wheel drive system and its dynamic ability, then settled into a more practical exercise and took the family for a weekend trip from Brisbane to Warwick and back.
I think so. The CLA250 is the perfect balance of a practical sedan that suits a small family while having the ability to also be a spirited sporty choice, thanks to its 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive system, there’s more to the CLA than meets the eye.
Hot. Sort of. I love the rear end, but the front-end similarity to the rest of the small Mercedes-Benz range is not entirely to my liking. Also despite the 18-inch wheels, they look almost undersized, Mercedes sure know how to step you up into the CLA45 AMG!
The interior is somewhat confused. It has the iPad like screen (which doesn’t go in or out, yet looks replaceable) that looks but keep the previous-generation interior styling of too many buttons that do very little to help the driver. Its main problem is just how much better the new C-Class is in comparison and once you’ve seen that, the rest of the Mercedes-Benz range looks almost ancient. Thankfully though, it’s reasonably comfortable and still feels like a Mercedes inside.
The AWD system is superb. Grip levels are tremendously better than I expected and punting this around corners at near the limit puts an undeniable smile on my face.
The gearbox doesn’t listen. When on the go the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters are a little underwhelming as the CLA250 tends to ignore most downshift commands. Thankfully then, it will do a better job if you just leave in Sport mode.
Yes, perhaps if you only have the one kid and don’t mind bending down to put them in. We did try it with a newborn and three year old and though it all worked, it can get a little cramped. The boot is big enough to fit multiple large suitcases or big prams without any issue but the GLA250 might be a better option.
It’s a Mercedes, so don’t expect Toyota Toyota prices for servicing. The 12 month or 25,000km intervals are also pretty decent considering the performance drivetrain.
It’s a seriously hard ride. Around the crappy roads of inner-Brisbane, it feels just that little bit too hard. We came out of a Mercedes-Benz ML 350 with airmatic suspension, which is like a magic carpet ride, into this that is more akin to a rally car in terms of ride comfort. If I didn’t have kids it wouldn’t bother me too much, but it might get annoying over a long period of time.
Probably a short-term fling. If I had to pick, I would go for the GLA250 as a more stable and logical choice.
The Audi A3 sedan. It’s gorgeous from every angle and though it’s not all-wheel drive, unless you go for the S3 Quattro, it’s hard to argue about its merits if the Mercedes-Benz badge isn’t a requirement
If you love the idea of a four-door coupe but the CLS is too big or expensive, the CLA is really the only choice. It’s a great looking car and turns heads wherever it goes.