After our road test of the CLA 220 d saloon granted a chance to get to know the car in higher-output diesel form and on lowered springs, we now have a chance for a more pragmatic combination to demonstrate its mettle.
The CLA 200 d uses a detuned version of the same 2.1-litre diesel engine, and it betrays that relationship the instant you start it up through equally poor mechanical refinement.
Clattery from the outside and unusually gravelly and uncouth from behind the wheel, the Shooting Brake’s engine fails to make the sophisticated first impression that owners may be expecting of it.
In that respect, opting for a lower specific output than in the C 220 d gets you nowhere with this car. And for us, the diesel’s coarseness only serves to underline the need for Mercedes to invest in an all-new family of compact and economical four-cylinder diesel engines as soon as possible, in order to keep pace with its German and British-built rivals.
Move off and your perception of the car improves. However noisy that engine seems, it is at least decently smooth, with little in the way of vibration in evidence through the seat and controls.
Outright performance levels are respectable, with our 10.1sec 0-60mph time recorded in wet conditions and Mercedes’ 9.9sec 0-62mph claim, however undistinguished, looking achievable in the dry.