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Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5
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PROS

  • Looks fantastic
  • Smart interior
  • Highly practical
  • Advanced body design

CONS

  • Noisy diesel engine
  • Expensive against rivals
  • Not cheapest to run

Verdict

In an effort to dream up – and then fill – every single niche in the new-car market, here’s the new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake.

What we’ve got here is an estate version of the CLA, which itself is a four-door saloon, styled like a coupe and based on the A-Class Hatchback. A rival for the Volkswagen Golf Estate, Honda Civic Tourer and Ford’s Focus Estate, the ‘Shooting Brake’ part of the name refers to the estate bit in a similar way to the bigger C-Class-based CLS Shooting Brake. So the Mercedes range is getting a little confusing, but thankfully the brand’s nomenclature has just been simplified in an effort to keep things manageable for customers.

Thankfully, though all that might sound a little contrived, the car itself isn’t bad. It’s probably the best-driving car we’ve tried on the A-Class platform, in fact. In the main it’s a very comfortable vehicle with some nice premium touches and serious amount of space in the back. It’s let down slightly with its diesel engines and less-than-comfortable ride, though. The CLA 220 CDI we tried felt old-fashioned and noisy, which is a shame because it didn’t feel like it suited a car that looks this good.

Practical touches

Since it’s an estate, you won’t be surprised to learn the boot is bigger than the regular CLA’s. It measures 495 litres, but thanks to clever rear seats which can rake, this can expand to 595 litres without folding any seats down. Tucking those back seats down unlocks 1,354 litres.

Rear passengers will be pleased with the extra 50mm of headroom over the normal CLA too – the Shooting Brake’s roofline doesn’t slope as steeply, unlocking extra space.

What’s it powered by?

Upon launch you’ll have a choice of five engines and two gearboxes – two diesels, three petrols; one manual and one automatic, respectively.

The best running costs will be from the CLA 200 CDI diesel, which can emit as low as 101g/km of CO2 for relatively low VED car tax and company car tax.

Conversely, the quickest Shooting Brake in the CLA range will be the CLA 250 4MATIC, which dispatches 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds thanks to its 208bhp 2-litre turbocharged engine. This is the only model (other than the CLA45 AMG) that uses a four-wheel drive system.

Quartet of specifications

There will be a choice of four trim levels – Sport, AMG Sport, OrangeArt and Engineered by AMG.

Even at the lowest grade, Sport, you get 18-inch alloy wheels and parking sensors as well as cruise control and a speed limiter.

Top-spec Engineered by AMG cars are sportier affairs, using lowered suspension as well as special steering to supplement the AMG body kit.

An optional panoramic sunroof will appeal to many buyers, while all CLA Shooting Brakes get Collision Prevention Assist Plus as standard. This safety system brakes the car automatically if it senses an impending front-end impact. Attention Assist, which warns the driver when the vehicle detects fatigue, is also thrown in.

Order books open in 2015

Parkers was among the first in the world to drive this new model ahead of its UK launch in May 2015. Read on for the comprehensive 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake review.

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