The 1st generation CLA which was launched sometime in 2013 was a hit, as it was targeted mainly for younger buyers to lure them in the three pointed star brand. The coupe like design, with the praticality and ease of 4 doors with a boot space was a hit to the younger market who are first time Mercedes-benz owners. But the first generation was without its drawback. The overall design of the coupe like sedan with a short wheelbase meant that it had compromised interior space, rear legroom and most especially, rear headroom. Another issue was that the ride was way too much on the stiff side which made the rear passenger not only struggle for headroom but also being uncomfortable on a long ride. At the price it was asking for, the 1st generation CLA had too much hard plastic on the dashboard and other touch point areas inside the interior that was not consistent with the other Mercedes-benz product line up.
Fast forward to 2019, the all new Mercedes-Benz CLA was introduced to the International market as a 2020 model. This maybe because that all the other markets will be completely served by the year 2020 and not by 2019 because of its popularity, the wait list is longer in some markets. The all new CLA is based on the A class platfrom just like the way the 1st generation was. But the all new model is slightly wider and longer in lenght and also has longer wheelbase than the outgoing model. So apparently, the new CLA is more practical, more spacious and more confortable to drive than ever before and with a lot of new driving and safety tech to brag about. The highlight of the CLA design is its swooping and coupe like roof line, which tapers abrupty at the back. Whereas the previous model compromised so much of the rear visibility and head room, the all new model has better head room, legroom and a lot more natural light coming in because of the bigger frameless rear windows and bigger rear window too. So the cabin of the all new CLA feels less claustrophobic compared to the previous model.
The interior highlight the latest in Mercedes-Benz's new driving techonology like its seemingly floating dashboard instrument panel and multi media systerm called MBUX. The system can be accessed from the steering wheel controls, touch pad, touch screen and by voice just say "hey mercedes" to wake up the MBUX AI voice assistant. Everything feels and looks expensive on the inside with soft touch materials in critical areas and materials that are made of solid items, feels very solid to touch and operate. This is the first CLA that feels like the doors are very well put together with a solid thug (sound) when closed. The previous model just sounded like a cheap thin of metal upon closing the doors. I also love the new circular design interpretation of the current aircon vents and how sturdy they were engineered. It looks like everything in the CLA was meant to be placed in a higher model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. The only thing lacking are rear aircon vents to satify the rear occupants thirst for cold air during the summer season. I guess those big, three cicular, centre vents have good cooling powers to reach the rear section of the sedan. The new CLA also features power front driver's seats with memory function including exterior mirror with parking position. Seats have 5 head restraints for safety and are finished in Man-made Artico polar white leather to brighten up the interior. The multi media system has integrated reversing camera with active parking assist and Smartphone integration via Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
The rear seats are now wider and more comfortable with ample under tigh support, foot room under the front seats, bigger leg room and head room. The new CLA now features a rear centre armrest which was not offered in the previous model. The rear seatback can now be folded 40/20/40 and now features tether points for ISOFIX standard Child-seat mountings. The biggest difference in the back seat is that it's now more comfortable to rear passengers as the seats are well padded and extends up to the thigh area for better support in long distance driving. The ride is now more forgiving, a good mix between sporty ride and drive and well dampened/cushioned suspension set up when driving along bad roads.
Powering the lone variant of the CLA in the Philippine market which is the CLA 180 progressive is an all new 4cylinder-inline, 1.3li turbocharged engine that churns out a healthy 136hp and 200 NM of torque. This may not be much on papers, but with the new CLA's lightweight new platform, a small, lighther and turbocharged engine would make since in this category. Torque is readily available as early as 1,460 rpm and that should be good for City driving and when overtaking. Other important features of the new CLA 180 Progressive are:
- Multifunction sports steering wheel including touch control left and right, Dynamic Select with driving programs ECO, Comfort, Sports and Individual mode, ECO start/stop function, ATTENTION ASSIST detects the onset of drowsiness on the basis of steering behavoir and can alert driver to an impending micro sleep, Airbags all around the cabin, tyre pressure loss warning system, Hill-start assist, Anti-theft alarm, TIREFIT with tire inflator, Active parking and reversing camera, Touchpad, Keyless Go, 18 inch multi-spoke light alloy wheels and many others.
At just P3,215,000.00 for a mid level specd CLA model that comes with a host of standar equipment, this new CLA seems to be in the right track in setting a benchmark in the premium, subcompact, 4 door coupe category that it poinereed sometime 6 years ago. See the all new CLA in the metal and it may just be the right Mercdes-Benz 4 door, sports coupe you are looking for.