Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 Driving Impression

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200

The CLA 200 runs a 1.6-litre inline-4 turbo engine with 115kW and 250Nm, and can be made to look much like the AMG version, with an extensive list of exterior bits and pieces. However, I drove the Urban spec, which is about as standard as the range gets. Even in standard trim, it still looks very much like a premium product.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 is fuel efficient

Merc is claiming some very impressive consumption figures. The best performer in the range is the CLA 220 CDI at 4.5 litres/100km (claimed) average consumption, with the CLA 200 coming in at 5.6 litres/100km (claimed). Both have ECO modes which make sure that you achieve as close to that as possible, by seriously reigning in the car.

This is particularly a well-designed car in my opinion – attractive from any angle. It’s also the most slippery car in the world with a drag co-efficient of 0.22. This means that the car pierces through the air reducing fuel consumption, and has an impressive claimed efficiency. There’s even a clever flap which closes off the radiator automatically when cooling is not needed, making the car even more aerodynamic.

Interior and standard features

For some reason the lesser CLA felt a bit “made to a price” than the AMG version. It’s still quite luxurious in the cabin, but there are some plastics which feel out of place. And there was a particularly bothering rattle on the seat belt height adjuster, right next to my ear. Perhaps I’m too nostalgic, and I expected that, because it’s a Merc, everything inside the cabin should be made of sleeper wood and granite.

However, Mercedes have certainly not held back on equipment. A plethora of active and safety features are standard, as well as high level infotainment and sound systems are included across the range. Making its way down the Merc stable is COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (their capitals, not mine) which uses radar and helps prevent collisions from as low as 7km/h. It’s great to see this kind of safety tech available in these cars, and it adds to the car’s high level of safety, with top marks at EURONCAP and an advanced award from the group for active safety features.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 vs C Class

As stylish as the CLA is, that style comes at a cost: interior space. While the boot is decent, the cabin offers space for four adults, but with limited head room in the rear and shoulder room in the front. While the level of space is spot on for this segment of the market, I do feel that buyers who want a small Merc and need a bit of extra space would be better off with a C Class. Interestingly, the CLA is the same length as a C Class.

It gets even more interesting when you look at pricing. The Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 comes in at R374 000, while a C 180 comes in at R377 000, and there is certainly many second hand C Classes running around, which you can find right here on Cars.co.za.

I feel the CLA will certainly appeal to the buyer who values style. But for space, comfort and practicality, the C Class has its little brother covered.

Prices and Specifications For Mercedes-Benz CLA Range in South Africa

Model Engine Power/Torque Fuel cons. Price incl VAT
CLA 180 1.6l 4cyl T 90/200 5.6l/100km R348 700
CLA 200 1.6l 4cyl T 115/250 5.7l/100km R372 700
CLA 220 CDi 2.2l 4cyl T 125/350 4.5l/100km R397 600
CLA 45 AMG 2.0l 4cyl T 265/450 7.1l/100km R674 400

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 gallery

Ciro De Siena

Ciro started his first car website at the age of 19 and promptly dented his first ever test car. Surprisingly he’s still at this motoring journalism thing 7 years later. Ciro is a contributor to Cars.co.za’s content portal. Catch him present OverdriveTV on SABC3’s Expresso Show every Friday morning.

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