CarsMotormouth Reviews

New Mercedes is Shooting on target

Motormouth ReviewsBy Robbie Farrell
Mercedes Shooting Brake
Mercedes Shooting Brake

MERCEDES CLA SHOOTING BRAKE 200 CDI

I GAVE the CLA top Mercs in our annual awards. Bursting on to the scenes in 2013, the all-new Mercedes Benz was a breath of fresh air for the premium brand.

It was stylish, youthful and went against everything the German brand was famous for over the years.

The CLA arrived with the aim of taking some of the many BMW buyers, and myself, and my fellow Motormouth, are both agreed that we would definitely be proud of a CLA parked on our driveway.

Hot on the heels of the CLA saloon comes what Mercedes call the ‘Shooting Brake’ – a strange name for its estate version.

The name itself comes from horse-drawn carriages used for hunting excursions. These carriages were also used to curb untamed horses’ urge to move.

In the 1960s, motorised shooting brakes developed from these unique vehicle specimens for wealthy landowners, combining a sporty design with generous spaciousness.

And the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake takes many of its design cues from these carriages.

The problem with the saloon was that because of its curvy body and sloping roofline, head and legroom in the rear was slightly tight for rear-seat passengers.

The big ask from Mercedes in the estate version was if it could correct this issue without taking away from the CLA’s stunning looks – and it certainly has.

I have to admit, the CLA Shooting Brake is one of the best-looking estate cars on the road. It’s proportions are much easier on the eye than it’s larger siblng, the CLS Shooting Brake.

Unlike my colleague, I was never a big fan of estate cars, but this version would be the pick for me if I was in the market for one.

It has a little bit of everything going on. It’s spacious, stylish, practical and has excellent exterior and interior looks.

The inside is as impressive as the outside with extremely high levels of comfort and spec.

As with most Mercedes models, it’s worth pushing the boat out to get the AMG kit.

It really does make a difference to the car’s look.

The engine line-up consists of two diesels and three petrol units. Mercedes expects the volume seller to be the CLA 200 CDI 4-cylinder, 2.1-litre, 136hp delivering a claimed 4.1-litres/100km fuel consumption, and falling into tax band A3, €190 and prices starting at €36,125.

My CLA 200 CDI test car was fitted with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and it is the only choice for me.

Like most cars in this category, manual gearboxes just don’t seem right.

On the road, the CLA estate is more than capable, and is definitely most at home on cruising the motorways.

That’s not to say that it nippy and easy to handle around town for an estate car.

Prices for the new CLA Shooting Brake start from €31,490 for the 1.6-litre petrol version 122hp CLA180 rising to €65,860 for the CLA 45 AMG with 320bhp from its 2.0-litre petrol – but I don’t think we’ll see many of this model arrive on our shores.

On the diesel front, the more powerful 177bhp CLA220 CDI falls into the same tax bracket and starts from €40,195.

Overall, the CLA Shooting Brake is one of my favourite estate cars.

It certainly doesn’t have the space of a Skoda Superb, but if I was in the market for one – I’d sacrifice a little space for the looks alone.

Robbie Farrell