Menu

Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

You are here

Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Sport 4Matic shooting brake 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Richard Berry road tests and reviews the new Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Sport 4Matic Shooting Brake with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Richard Berry road tests and reviews the new Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Sport 4Matic Shooting Brake with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

You may not have seen it on the news but Mercedes-Benz has developed a machine that can actually shrink cars. It’s basically a room that they drive a vehicle into and it comes out the other side looking the same in every way, just smaller.

Okay enough of the Dad jokes.  There’s no such room, but if you’ve seen Benz’s current Matryoshka doll-like range of almost identical cars of varying sizes it’s almost believable.

There’s the C-class, which looks like an E-Class just smaller which looks like an S-Class just smaller. And then there’s the car we’re testing here – the CLA 250 Sport 4Matic Shooting Brake which is pretty much a mini-CLS Shooting Brake.

Well it is in looks, but it actually lives in the more affordable end of the Mercedes-Benz spectrum. In terms of price the CLA class sits above the A-and B- Classes but below the C-Class.

In August, 2016 the updated CLA Shooting Brake went on sale and while the styling changes might be tricky to spot, the big news was the addition of more standard features, including advanced safety technology.

So, does the cheaper end of the spectrum pack enough high-end feel to justify the three-pointed star, and is the smaller version of the coupe-wagon actually practical? Let's find out.

Design

The term shooting brake has been around since horse-and-carriage times and is used now to describe a coupe-styled wagon body shape. The result is a sleek-looking vehicle that retains practicality.

The CLA Shooting Brake and CLA Coupe sister are both 4640mm long, 2032mm wide and have a wheel base of 2699mm. The only difference is the height – the Shooting Brake is 3mm shorter at 1432mm.

The CLA 250 Shooting Brake is fairly unique in that it doesn’t have much in the way of direct rivals – but there is one skilled sniper hunting the Benz out there – Volkswagen’s Golf R Wagon Wolfsburg Edition. The hot Volkswagen is shorter both in overall length (by 44mm) and wheelbase (by 69mm), but its appeal can’t be underestimated.

The result is a creature with a profile sleeker than any other wagon.

While the Volkswagen is a tough looking animal, you can’t deny the CLA 250 is by far the more sophisticated and elegant looking. Things don’t get swoopier than that body shape. There’s a windscreen laid back low, the high-sided doors, and a nose and bottom which hang far over from the front and rear wheels.

The result is a creature with a profile sleeker than any other wagon – save for the almost identical CLS Shooting Brake which is 313mm longer and 23mm wider. Side by side they look like a Blue Whale mother and her calf.

The CLA Shooting Brake’s insides also mirror those of the CLS: from the centre console stack with its floating display (the CLA gets a bigger one), and overly fussy styled media system with too many buttons to the airvents layout, steering wheel, instrument cluster, window controls and even the contoured front sports seats with integrated headrest and drilled alloy pedals.

A CLS owner might be a bit peeved if they sat in a CLA, the only comforting fact for them is that the CLA contains it all within a much smaller space – and this leads us to asking then – just how practical is the CLA really?

Practicality

While CLA Shooting Brake buyers aren’t likely to be looking at the car as purely a cargo carrier,  it’s still a station wagon which is the backpack of cars, so it needs to be able to carry gear and people well – or what’s the point right?

First up the boot – the CLA Shooting Brake’s cargo capacity with the rear seats up is 495 litres and that’s 25 litres more than the boot of the CLA coupe. It doesn’t sound like a great deal more but the beauty of wagons is being able to fold the seats down for a good loading space – 1550 litres in the CLA Shooting Brake’s case.

It’s a good size and think about this - the Mazda6 wagon has a boot capacity of 506 litres, just 11 litres more and 1648 litres with its back seats folded down.

Compared to the Benz GLA SUV, the CLA has 74 litres more boot space. But the GLA’s access height makes it more practical for loading with kids and gear.

Human beings may have a few legroom issues.

The CLA Shooting Brake can absolutely be your luxury (goods) cargo carrier. It’s a small thing but I liked the aluminium boot rails in the loads space, too – a standard feature from the base-spec car upwards it’s a premium and practical touch.

Human beings may have a few legroom issues in the rear seats and at 191cm I can’t sit behind my driving position. The limited rear legroom is compromised even more by the design of the front seats which flow up and over their passengers – hugely comfortable and supportive if you’re sitting in them, not great if you’re behind them.

You’d never think it given the sloping roofline but headroom is good in the back – even with the sunroof.

Also surprising was how the coupe lines didn’t great affect putting our toddler into his car seat.

The cupholder count sees two spaces for your beverages in the rear centre fold down armrest and two up front, while all doors have bottle holders – big ones in the front and small ones in the back.

Price and features

Introduced to the Benz line-up in 2013 the CLA is a relatively new addition. The Shooting Brake bodystyle came along in 2015 – our test car is the updated version which arrived mid-way through 2016. Although changes to the styling were almost unnoticeable this latest revision brought more features including advanced safety kit.

The CLA 250 Sport 4Matic Shooting Brake costs $68,600 which see it sitting above the $55,400 CLA 220d and base-spec $54,000 CLA 200 in the Shooting Brake range. Only the hardcore AMG CLA 45 is above the CLA 250 Sport and at $92,215 makes it look like a bargain in comparison.

Standard features include an eight-inch display with reversing camera, sat nav, digital radio, proximity unlocking, heated and powered adjustable front seats, leather steering wheel, adaptive highbeam, tinted rear glass, diamond grille, panoramic sunroof, AMG body kit and 18-inch AMG 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels.

Engine and transmission

The CLA 250 Sport has a 160kW/350Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. The auto transmission is quite possibly the best dual-clutch automatic in the world and has seven speeds sending the drive to all four wheels – 4Matic is Benz-speak for all-wheel drive. Only the CLA 250 Sport and the AMG CLA 45 come solely with all-wheel drive.

Fuel consumption

Benz says your CLA 250 Sport 4Matic should consume premium 95 RON petrol at an average combined rate of 7.0L/100km. After mainly suburban and city driving our test car guzzled an indicated average of 17.2L/100km.

The CLA 250 Sport not only sounds like nirvana to a petrol head’s ears it has the dynamic ability to go with it.

Okay this is the fessing up bit. That’s the fuel consumption you’ll get if you embrace its performance potential at green lights and keep it in second gear more often than necessary just to hear that wonderful sounding four-cylinder crackle and bark from the exhaust.

Driving

A bit of the driving experience was given away in the section above, but the CLA 250 Sport not only sounds like nirvana to a petrol head’s ears it has the dynamic ability to go with it. It is addictive, flicking through the gears with the shifting paddles, getting a little kick of acceleration in the back each time. It’s not AMG CLA 45 fast, but it’s enough.

With all four-wheels pushing the road behind it the CLA 250 Sport felt sure footed at all times on our test route. In some sections of the same route, two-wheel drive cars can lose a bit of grip but the Shooting Brake felt suction-capped to the surface.

Handling is only one of its strong points, ride is another. Don’t think that because this is a more affordable Benz it comes with a more affordable ride. Not at all, the ride is just how a Benz should be - comfortable and composed, even with sport suspension and the low-profile tyres.

Add accurate and well weighted steering, superb seats with good under-thigh and lateral support, brakes with great stopping power top brakes and that smooth dual-clutch transmission and you have something special.

Safety

The CLA Shooting Brake has a five-star ANCAP rating. There’s nine airbags, AEB and blind spot warning. There’s two ISOFIX mounts and two top tether points on the outside seat in the back row.

Ownership

The CLA 250 Sport 4Matic Shooting Brake is covered by Mercedes-Benz’s three year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 25,000km and is capped at $396 for the first service, $792 for the second and $792 for the third visit.

The CLA 250 Sport 4Matic Shooting Brake has great looks, impressive ride and handling plus a surprisingly large boot which makes it one of the most stylish tiny haulers on the market. It’s just a tad too small though for somebody looking for a family car – you’d be better off spending just $3000 more and buying the larger and more practical C250 Estate. That said the compact, sleek looks and excellent dynamic ability of the CLA250 Sport Shooting Brake will appeal to anybody who likes to drive but has less people in tow and with the option to load up with cargo whenever there’s the need.

Verdict

The CLA 250 Sport 4Matic Shooting Brake has great looks, impressive ride and handling plus a surprisingly large boot which makes it one of the most stylish tiny haulers on the market. It’s just a tad too small though for somebody looking for a family car – you’d be better off spending just $3000 more and buying the larger and more practical C250 Estate. That said the compact, sleek looks and excellent dynamic ability of the CLA250 Sport Shooting Brake will appeal to anybody who likes to drive but has less people in tow and with the option to load up with cargo whenever there’s the need.

Would a German sporty wagon like the CLA 250 Shooting Brake talk you out of a small SUV? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more Mercedez-Benz CLA 250 Sport 4Matic Shooting Brake pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$44,990
Based on 112 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$31,980
Highest Price
$69,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CLA200 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $31,980 – 46,800 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2016 CLA200 Pricing and Specs
CLA45 AMG 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $58,880 – 69,999 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2016 CLA45 AMG Pricing and Specs
CLA200 CDI 1.8L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $31,790 – 38,280 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2016 CLA200 CDI Pricing and Specs
CLA200 d 1.8L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $32,450 – 38,610 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2016 CLA200 d Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

Share

Pricing Guide

$40,999

Lowest price, based on 5 car listings in the last 6 months

View cars for sale