Fleet News

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 CDI Sport

BIK List Price
Mercedes-Benz CLA BIK list price
BIK Percentage
Mercedes-Benz CLA BIK Percent
Mercedes-Benz CLA CO2
Combined MPG
Mercedes-Benz CLA MPG


A move to cut the cost of aspirational motoring is set to win a fresh wave of UK fleet sales for Mercedes-Benz.

Up-and-coming business executives will be targeted when the German firm's sleek new CLA model goes into the showrooms in summer as part of an ambitious bid to raise the stakes in the premium sector.

“For years, people have regarded ownership of our cars as part of the reward for making their mark in commercial life but now we want to move away from that concept. Our aim is to show customers they no longer have to wait – it is now possible for them to drive vehicles regarded as aspirational as they make their way up the ladder,” a spokesman told Fleet News.

Mercedes officials claim the CLA brings all the sweeping lines, kerbside presence and E-segment cache of their upmarket CLS model to the C-segment in a mid-size four-door saloon that will be available in June.

Based on stretched A and B-Class underpinnings,the swish, low-slung five-seater is undeniably handsome and should underpin a campaign to keep the brand ahead of arch-rival BMW in the wake of industry statistics giving Mercedes pole position in Britain's premium market in February.

“We have achieved 13.5% growth year on year and our 4.5% market share is a record. The CLA will help maintain the momentum,” added the spokesman.

With almost all the second-glance appeal of the £50,000 CLS, a starting price of half that amount gives the CLA range considerable  potential with prestige-conscious drivers.

The car that could inspire a fresh sales segment will have petrol and diesel engines with a choice of outputs but initially, only 1.6-litre petrol and 2.1-litre diesel power is available.

With the latter motor linked to a seven-speed auto transmission, the CLA has a demeanour as sophisticated as its smooth silhouette and a long-legged top speed promotes relaxing motorway cruising. Low profile sports tyres and lack of body roll encourage confidence for spirited progress through bends, but not at the expense of ride comfort.

Sport trim equipment includes sport seats, a central colour screen, Bluetooth, a multifunction steering wheel, dual zone climate control, cruise control and active park assist.   

The lowest drag figure yet for a production model – 0.22 – boosts economy  on motorways and also helps the car to be remarkably subdued at all speeds.

Though room in the rear is adequate rather than generous, a split-fold seat and a 470-litre boot allow the CLA to be practical as well as plush.

Author: Maurice Glover

Fuel costs
Smooth styling pays dividends – the best aerodynamic performance in the business makes the CLA more efficient at motorway cruising speeds.
CO2 emissions
The lower drag figure achieved by smoother bodywork also means lower emissions, and the car makes further gains by the use of stop-start technology.
Residual values
Desirability allied with relatively low volumes should make the CLA a strong performer as a used vehicle.
Driver appeal
Eager response and excellent road manners inspire confidence at the wheel of a car that oozes refinement and has strong appeal for the enthusiast driver.
FN Verdict
Good to look at and good to drive – Mercedes has found a fresh market niche with a product that ticks all the boxes and has the potential to attract new customers to the brand.
Top Speed
Mercedes-Benz CLA Top Speed
VED band
Mercedes-Benz CLA Ved
Fuel Type
Mercedes-Benz CLA Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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