Motoring

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 Review: Stunning looks, superb ride, and glorious technology

There’s very little not to love about the Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 – it’s swooping roofline make it look like a compact sedan and it’s for that reason it sits above the C-Class in the Mercedes line-up, on price anyway.

It’s not cheap – you’re looking at $60k without even talking options and on-roads, but I think the buyer considering this will find that well within their range.

This is a young executive’s dream. It’s got the Mercedes badge, and it’s got enough seats for a couple of young kids. Early teens though at best because it’s going to get cramped back there otherwise with that low roofline.

I just couldn’t stop looking at the front of this thing – it’s a bloody masterpiece.

So it ticks boxes on style, overall design, and suits someone looking for something a bit beyond the “standard” Mercedes – if there is such a thing.

On the road, it’s a superb ride. Smooth at every turn, direct through a corner if you wish to fling it a bit, but for the most part this car will be a daily driver and there’s nothing but comfort behind the wheel – in traffic, or on the freeway.

The fully refreshed interior is top class, hard to fault quite frankly, and alongside Audi a clear class leader. What Mercedes has is a huge dual-screen dash and infotainment panel. Audi’s approach is still an infotainment screen, a high-tech dash and lately a high tech control panel.

Mercedes stick with analogue-style controls, though they are all high-tech switches and buttons. Most everything can be controlled through the infotainment, and that is all controlled by the touch-sensitive pad in the centre console.

MBUX is what Mercedes calls their in-car control software and infotainment. It is amazing for what it can do, but I for one find it hard to navigate in short bursts – a problem an owner wouldn’t have.

There is the “Hey Mercedes” voice control, which can do everything from change the climate control to switching from maps to radio, but in reality “she” is well behind Google and Apple in terms of voice commands, so if you’re a big voice user in daily life – that may frustrate you somewhat.

Apple CarPlay is not stretched the full width of the screen available which is disappointing, but it does mean Mercedes basic controls and info stay visible.

What’s perhaps most fascinating to me – on a very nerdy level are the USB ports. All of them USB-C. Now that is some solid future proofing from Mercedes, but for most people it will mean buying a new cable, or asking the dealer to throw in an adaptor which they do have – there was one in this press car. Respect to Mercedes for going hard on the port of the future.

The interior is lit at every angle, from every crevasse and it really comes to life at night. You’ll spend hours playing with colours and showing your mates that stuff.

As someone who knows the joy that owning a car with a prestigious badge like this, I can imagine this sitting very well with many potential owners.

The interior is stunning, the design outside appealing and you won’t have any complaints about the drive.

Given you go into this knowing it’s a two-seater with room for kids, and it’s made to impress in terms of its fit and finish – It’s a 9.2 out of 10 without question. Price being the biggest downside, but hey – you only live once!

If you buy one, take the time at the dealer to get the full tour of the MBUX system, and get a refresher course at the first service – there are things there you might never use otherwise.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 Review: Stunning looks, superb ride, and glorious technology
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