Find a car review

Make
Model

Mercedes-Benz CLA review - does the sporty saloon's drive match its looks? - Mercedes-Benz CLA ride and handling

Mercedes-Benz refreshes its compact saloon and estate - but can it compete with the class best?

Evo rating
Price
from £25,395
  • Looks, AMG performance, cool interior
  • Fussy automatic, cramped interior, not that memorable to drive

As the CLA shares its underpinnings with the A-class it’s not off to the best start. The A-class has never been heralded as a standard-bearer for ride comfort or particularly sharp, engaging handling, and nothing has really changed with the CLA. There’s obviously some difference in the weight distribution thanks to the longer saloon boot, but it does little to change the car’s balance.

Rather confusingly, Sport models get comfort suspension, while AMG Line and WhiteArt models get lowered comfort suspension. Trade up to the CLA 250 and lowered sports suspension is standard, while CLA 250 WhiteArt models trade the 18in alloy wheels standard on every other model for 19in AMG items. We've not yet driven this particular car, but the combination of the sports suspension and 19-inch wheels is likely to be quite firm.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

The comfort option offers the best ride comfort, and while it gets a little bit busy over rougher road surfaces the recent range revisions made it a great deal better than before. The sport suspension is firmer still, particularly as it’s usually in conjunction with larger alloy wheels. The steering offers good weighting, but there’s little feel at the rim, even if it proves accurate on turn in. Roll resistance is good as a result of the firm suspension, but it’d benefit from a touch more roll if the trade-off were a more compliant ride on typical British roads.

It's worth mentioning that recent improvements to the standard A-class - including adaptive suspension - have somewhat transformed the model's previously poor ride quality, and they're now available on the CLA too. They aren't available on all equipment grades, but the £595 Mercedes commands is well worth the extra given the improved behaviour.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/201772/best-v8-cars-past-and-present-our-favourite-eights-and-the-cars-theyre-found-in
Best cars

Best V8 cars past and present – our favourite eights and the cars they’re found in

Whether it’s smooth and sophisticated or motorsport-like in its aggression, the V8 remains one of our favourite engine types, warts and all
20 Sep 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/golf/21122/volkswagen-golf-mk8-spied-near-free-of-camouflage-before-october-debut
Volkswagen Golf hatchback

Volkswagen Golf Mk8 spied near-free of camouflage before October debut

All-new eighth-generation Golf is only weeks away from its reveal – this is all you need to know.
18 Sep 2019
Visit/article/201613/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-picked-by-porsche
Sponsored

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - picked by Porsche

Goodyear has many close associations with premium global car brands, but being asked to develop a trackday tyre for Porsche's extreme 911 GT3 RS was a…
14 Aug 2019