What is it?
The rebuilding of Mercedes-Benz’s small car ranks began with the latest B-class MPV, gaining momentum with the new A-class hatchback. Now it is moving into top gear with this, the CLA – a car that many expect to revive the compact saloon car market, and with it Mercedes’ ability to attract a younger generation of buyers.
Appearing like a scaled-down CLS, it brings a welcome dose of style to a class long renowned for prosaic looks.
The front is mostly shared with the latest A-class, upon which the CLA is largely based. It’s at the rear where the new saloon differs from its hatchback sibling, with a heavily curved roofline, curvaceous pillars, angled rear screen, sloping bootlid and longer overhang. The CLA also uses frameless doors in a bid to give it coupé-like appeal.
It’s not just good looking but also aerodynamically efficient. Mercedes claims a Cd of 0.23 for regular models.
The CLA is 40mm longer, 7mm wider and 43mm lower than the C-class – itself set to grow appreciably when the new version appears next year. It’s not the end of Mercedes’ efforts to rebuild its small car ranks, though. An even more radical-looking CLA Shooting Brake is due to reach the UK in just over a year’s time.