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Mercedes-Benz CLA shooting brake 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake at its international launch.

If you're wondering why Australia's three remaining car manufacturers will be closing their factories in the next few years, here's another clue.

A sign of the times – and the march into more affordable territory by luxury brands – Mercedes-Benz is about to introduce a wagon for the same price as a top end Holden Commodore wagon or Ford Territory SUV.

Starting at $52,800 plus on-road costs, the new CLA is the cheapest wagon ever sold by Mercedes-Benz in Australia. Granted, there is a vast difference in the size of Mercedes' compact wagon and the large cargo hold of the Commodore and Territory, but the point is still relevant.

As kids leave the family home, many mums and dads are downsizing. Other people have simply come to the realisation they don't need as much space as they once did.

To put the price into perspective, the first Mercedes wagon went on sale locally in 1996 from $68,300 – or, adjusting for inflation, $108,600 in today's money (thank you Reserve Bank of Australia online calculator).

The price might be a win but the name "wagon" is seen as uncool, apparently, which is why Mercedes-Benz has joined the chorus of car companies calling their cargo carriers a "shooting brake".

It's a term that dates back to since before the invention of the motor car: a horse drawn vehicle used to carry shooting parties hunting game. Suddenly it sounds less attractive, especially for such a sleek looking car.

The CLA wagon is indeed a clever piece of design. Proving that looks can be deceiving it is the exact same length as the CLA sedan and has a boot that's almost as big as the larger Mercedes C-Class.

  • Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake OrangeArt launch edition
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake

As with the rest of the CLA sedan line-up, buyers are spoiled for choice, with four models ranging from $52,400 to $89,900 for the high-powered CLA 45 AMG performance model.

Standard fare includes automatic emergency braking, a remote opening and closing tailgate, aluminium roof rails and the usual assortment of mod-cons and creature comforts.

The smart-looking dashboard and the rest of the interior is largely the same as that found in the A Class hatch and CLA sedan, which has a good combination of stylish design and practical space, ie: big door pockets and plenty of room for heads, shoulders, knees and toes. With the back seat folded flat, the cargo area is cavernous.

CarsGuide tested two models in the range: the CLA 250 and the autobahn-storming CLA 45 AMG. Unsurprisingly, they drove remarkably like the sedan on which they're based.

The wagon's footprint is the same as the sedan's and the body is only 30kg heavier; the biggest difference is that there is a little more road noise from the cargo area because it's part of the open cabin, and not a closed boot.

The flagship CLA 45 AMG is another beast altogether

The CLA 250 Sport (let's be honest, what car doesn't have "sport" attached to it these days) is likely to be the sweet spot in the range. Available from $66,400 plus on-road costs it has enough zip (zero to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds is no slouch) to warrant the "sport" tag and yet isn't insanely priced. The 2.0-litre turbo is a smooth operator and, matched to all-wheel-drive, finds plenty of grip, even on wet and icy German roads.

The flagship CLA 45 AMG is another beast altogether. With one of the most powerful 2.0-litre turbo engines in the world it makes light work of getting from Point A to Point B. Zero to 100km/h in less than five seconds puts it in Porsche 911 territory, if you don't mind.

For the devil within, there's a button that transforms the exhaust from mute, to one with fiendish sounding snarls, crackles and pops as it blasts through the gears. No matter what mode – or mood – you're in however, the handling is still like a cat on carpet, thanks in no small part to the sticky tyres, sports suspension and oversized brakes.

Verdict

A worthy alternative for anyone considering a compact SUV – or the cheapest ticket into a Mercedes wagon. Just resist the urge to call it a "shooting brake".

 

Pricing Guides

$48,686
Based on 124 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$32,000
Highest Price
$67,868

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CLA200 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $32,000 – 39,990 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2015 CLA200 Pricing and Specs
CLA45 AMG 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $47,888 – 67,868 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2015 CLA45 AMG Pricing and Specs
CLA200 CDI 2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $29,810 – 35,860 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2015 CLA200 CDI Pricing and Specs
CLA200 Edition One 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $31,790 – 38,280 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2015 CLA200 Edition One Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Pricing Guide

$32,985

Lowest price, based on 42 car listings in the last 6 months

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