Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 Shooting Brake

The term Shooting Brake has its origins in hunting, but it really became a term for a body shape that gives many car enthusiasts warm feelings. Three-door coupes with a long roofline that extends far to the rear combine a striking profile with sportiness and some practicality, but are rarely big successes. Mercedes-Benz has argued for years that a Shooting Brake can also have rear doors and even calls its latest CLA a “sports car with luggage space”.

That claim is even less credible with the five-door CLA than with the four-door brother, since that car at least still functions as a sporty alternative to the technically almost equal A-class sedan. There is no A-class Estate, so in practice the CLA Shooting Brake is also the choice for those who find an A-class too tight, a B-class too dull, a GLA too high and a cap too large. Plenty of choice, there at Mercedes. Indeed, the CLA Shooting Brake with a luggage compartment of 505 to 1,370 liters is the most spacious of the “low” cars in this range. Access to the rear is less spacious due to a high lifting threshold than with a more traditional station wagon. The flat rear windows also limit the practicality of use, because it is hardly possible to stack things high. The backseat offers enough space for medium-sized adults, but both the head and knees are uncomfortably close to the next barrier. As a Shooting Brake, the CLA offers more headroom than a regular CLA, but it is really useful for some taller people.

AMG package

The CLA Shooting Brake is naturally quietly lined, but our test car is also equipped with a sporty (AMG) package. That appears on the invoice with many A and CLA buyers and it must be said: the car is in good condition. Such an AMG trim also has an effect on the interior, which is then finished with black leather, Alcantara and red stitching. Regardless of the version, the CLA interior remains at the top of the segment. The fact that the sportier model shares its dashboard with the A-class is no shame in our opinion. The multi-layered copy is of very high quality and includes the wall-to-wall screen of the now well-known MBUX system. This has been on the market for a while, but is still noticeable as a very modern and above all very complete set, with beautiful graphics and an innovative and well thought-out operating concept. Those who get into a modern Mercedes for the first time will certainly need some time to understand everything, but it is well worth the effort. The seating position behind the steering wheel is fine, although it would be nice if the steering wheel could be pulled a little closer to the driver’s seat. Those who opt for an automatic transmission will receive extra storage space in the center console as a bonus, because the operating lever is then located on the steering column. The strikingly small lever operates a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which in turn is coupled to the 1.3-liter four-cylinder turbo engine known from many other Renault and Mercedes models. In the CLA180, the starter of the series, that block comes to 136 hp and 200 Nm. This in itself is powerful enough for the 1,340 kg heavy Benz, partly because this engine is able to deliver its power in silence. At the same time, the car only partially lives up to the expectations cranked up by the appearance. A CLA is simply a sportier oriented model than an A-class, but in this form it is simply not above average fast. In addition, the box seems to want to compensate a little too much by shifting back at lightning speed with the slightest movement of the right foot, which sometimes creates a somewhat restless feeling.


For the rest, driving in the CLA is above all a very comfortable affair. The very light steering is a bit numb, but sufficiently direct and irregularities are neatly removed. Still, the car is noticeably tighter than an A-class, which is also above average smoothly sprung in AMG trim. As a result, the CLA remains a bit flatter in a bend and communicates a little more with the driver. The result is a car that is just a bit more dynamic, but still appeals to a wide target group. This car comes across as light-footed, which makes it as good to steer as the opportunity presents itself. The Mercedes gets 136 horsepower from a 1.3 four-cylinder turbo engine. Hih has a seven-speed DCT gearbox, which we find a bit too bright.


In this Mercedes you can immerse yourself for hours in themes, layouts and settings. The rear view is not great. Thanks to the low windows and thick D-pillars, the blind spot at the rear right is considerable. Partly due to the lack of a panoramic roof, the “bunker feeling” in the Mercedes is great. With automatic transmission you have the CLA180 Shooting Brake for € 41,338, but the test car shows that a little decoration can add 10 mille to it. For that amount, the test car offers the aforementioned AMG decoration, extensive instruments, heated seats and an electric tailgate.

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