Mercedes-Benz have recently spruced up their CLA range. Changes include a diamond radiator grille in black as standard, as well as a new front bumper with a silver, black or chrome strip depending on preference.The rear bumper is optionally available with a panel incorporating a trim strip in chrome or black between the tailpipes. The overall result creates a better visual effect of the vehicle being wider with a strong stance and presence. Descriptive words that now come to mind are sporty, seductive, classy and high-quality.
Other changes to the CLA also include a choice of five 18-inch light-alloy wheels, an option of LED headlamps and a selection of paint options.
The changes are minor and subtle, but definitely bring the CLA range up to date with the latest dynamic Mercedes-Benz styling and design language.
MB have included a number of subtle interior upgrades as well. Changes take the form of new seat covers and trim as well as chrome-plated controls. On the instrument cluster, there are new-style dials and red needles which make for easier reading.
The infotainment system has increased in size and is more slim-line, but still uses the old operating system. This can make the unit feel a little clumsy compared to the CLA’s rival German marques.
The CLA had already previously included the latest generation of assistance and safety systems that are, in some cases, only now being introduced in the other model series. Amongst these are, for example, Active Brake Assist as standard (known until now as Collision Prevention Assist Plus), which is able to trigger autonomous braking as a means of reducing the danger of rear-end collisions, as well as the transmission mode selection function Dynamic Select.
Recently having driven the new 200d turbodiesel 2,1-litre 4-cylinder model, I was somewhat disappointed. As a business woman, I have always fancied myself swooshing around in a C-Class Merc, feeling seriously executive whilst jetting around town and from meeting to meeting.
Being fairly sporty in my thinking with cars, and having the tendency to enjoy a bit of speed and spurt, the 200d felt to be somewhat diluted. Even though this model is now lighter in weight plus is more affordable along with 100kW and 300Nm torque to play with, it’s just not that exciting to drive. The smaller engine has to work that much harder to make up for the relative lack of power. Also the resultant fuel economy seemed to be higher than claimed figures.
The drive proved to be a bit flat, both winding through traffic in the city as well as cruising along the highways. The auto gearbox felt as though it just wasn’t connecting with the dynamics of the drive and gear changes just did not feel smooth. The seven-speed transmission should give more oomph on acceleration, but for that option you would need to purchase the CLA 220d for R 40 000 more in order to achieve this.
There is of course the option of Dynamic Select control in Sport Mode, which did make a suitable difference. Overall the ride felt comfortable and classy, but just not dynamic and exciting. Perhaps suited to a driver who seeks a frugal option, yet has no expectations of speed over luxury.
Pricing and Specifications
Price : R481 900
Engine : 2-litrefour cylinder turbodiesel
Power : 100kW @ 3200 r/min
Torque : 300Nm @ 1400 r/min
0-100km : 9.5 seconds
Top speed : 220 km/h
Consumption : 5.2l/100km
CO2 : 114 g/km
Transmission : 7-speed auto
Maintenance Plan: Six year/100 000km