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Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

Providing Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake performance from launch are five engines and a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes, with the option of four-wheel drive on one model too.

We’re expecting the most popular versions to be diesels, though there are only two available – both are 2.1-litre engines and are named CLA 200 CDI and CLA 220 CDI. We’ve only driven the latter coupled with the automatic gearbox (complete with three modes – efficient ‘Eco’, athletic ‘Sport’ and Manual for using the paddles behind the steering wheel), and found it to be a nice engine for cruising at any speed. The gearbox can be a little slow to react if you want to drive quickly – especially on down-shifts – but in the main this is a nice car to drive. We think the engine could be quieter, though.

As you’d expect the former is the lower-powered model, and thus is slightly cheaper to run. Its 134bhp and 300Nm of torque means 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds, while CO2 emissions are between 101 and 115g/km depending on which trim and gearbox you pick. Fuel economy will be between 64 and 72mpg.

The CLA 220 CDI is available with the automatic gearbox only, covering 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds with fuel economy of between 66 and 71mpg depending on trim. Its CO2 emissions are between 105 and 112g/km.

Petrol power comes from either 1.6-litre engines (CLA 180 and CLA 200) or a 2-litre for the CLA 250, which is available with either two- or 4MATIC four-wheel drive. Power and torque outputs are 120bhp and 200Nm, 154bhp and 250Nm, and 208bhp and 350Nm respectively. Fuel economy is between 42 and 53mpg, while CO2 emissions are between 132 and 158g/km.

The CLA 250 4MATIC is the quickest version, covering 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, while slowest is the CLA 180 which does the same sprint in 9.4 seconds.

There’s not a lot to complain about here. While most models will be front-wheel drive, this is a car which still handles like a Mercedes. It’s balanced and composed through bends and the steering is weighted in such a way as to make driving a pleasurable experience at most speeds. It will spin the wheels if you push it too hard, of course, but it takes a lot of provocation and realistically we don’t see this being a problem. Even in cold, snowy conditions it was very manageable.

With the CLA 250 you’ve got the option of 4MATIC, which is Mercedes’ four-wheel drive system. It’s actually an adaption of the front-wheel drive system and will only send power to the rear when it detects wheel slip, so fuel economy during normal driving doesn’t suffer.