To many, Mercedes offers the ideal blend of performance, comfort, style and efficiency. And the second-generation Mercedes Mercedes-Benz CLA, introduced in 2019, certainly lives up to that ‘something for everyone’ billing, offering fastback and shooting brake bodystyles and a wide variety of powertrains.
Opening proceedings is the CLA 180, which is propelled by a turbocharged 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 134bhp and arguably the most attractive choice of the lot, for its yin and yang of power and efficiency.
The next-step-up CLA 200 boosts that unit’s output to 161bhp and thus can do 0-62mph in just under 9.0sec.
The CLA 220 ups the ante with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol four-pot producing 187bhp, a top speed of 150mph and a 0-62mph time shaved down to 7.0sec.
And then there’s the 221bhp CLA 250, which is expensive to run but offers hot hatch performance, hitting 62mph from rest in 6.4sec.
Not enough? Cast your eye towards Mercedes-AMG’s fiery four-wheel-drive models.
The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 uses a 2.0-litre turbo engine with 306bhp and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the CLA 45 S has 415bhp, a 0-62mph time of 4.0sec, an eight-speed gearbox and a significantly higher price tag.
At the opposite end of the scale, the CLA 220d will suit long-distance commuters. Its 187bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine can average up to 55mpg – significantly more than petrols.
Drivers of a greener disposition can opt for the CLA 250e plug-in hybrid, which combines the 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine with an electric motor for 215bhp, 331lb ft and an electric-only range of up to 46 miles.
Mercifully, choosing a trim level is much simpler: AMG Line, AMG Line Premium or AMG Line Premium Plus.
Even the cheapest is well kitted out, with cruise control, 18in alloy wheels, heated front seats, climate control, LED headlights, a 10.25in touchscreen infotainment system and a 7.0in digital instrument display.
AMG Line Premium gets you a 10in instrument display, 64-colour ambient lighting, keyless entry and a premium sound system.
AMG Line Premium Plus brings multibeam adaptive headlights, a panoramic sunroof, traffic-sign recognition and an even better stereo.
Sadly, the same can’t be said of the engines: they’re punchy and smooth in the mid-range but fairly coarse on start-up and harsh above 4000rpm. Your default driving mode is likely to be Comfort, as Sport adds a bit too much weight to the steering but not enough feel. In fact, quite illogically, the CLA impresses a bit less than the cheaper A-Class in dynamic terms.