Mercedes‘ second-generation CLA is finally here and while there’s been ongoing criticism regarding how similar of a car it is to the A-Class Sedan, the new CLA should still represent a considerable upgrade when compared to its predecessor.
So if you’re a potential buyer, not only must you now try to figure out if the new model is worth purchasing, but also ask yourself whether you should spend more on it than you would on the A-Class Sedan, a car that packs the same amount of on-board tech as the latest CLA – and which, let’s be honest, looks very alike.
They don’t actually look alike
One issue people have taken with both the new CLA as well as the A-Class Sedan was about whether or not they would look different. The answer to that question is not enough. Both models adhere to Mercedes‘ Sensual Purity design language, with the all-new CLA featuring slightly more aggressive front, rear and profile styling.
The A-Class Sedan is a little more angular when viewed from the side, and its rear end doesn’t really remind us of any other Mercedes-Benz product. Meanwhile, the CLA does take after the latest CLS when viewed from a rear 3/4 angle, although ironically, it’s the A-Class Sedan’s front end that ultimately resembles that of the much more expensive CLS.
Meanwhile, the old CLA, while definitely showing its age on the inside, remains a reasonably stylish four-door Coupe. Saying that it looks old would probably be inaccurate, although it definitely doesn’t have all the sharp lines and creases of the newer car.
An inside look
From the driver’s seat, there’s very little to separate the new CLA from the A-Class Sedan. It’s the same dashboard, same on-board tech, same dual-screen setup and probably the same build quality too, although Mercedes will definitely attempt to make the new CLA’s cabin stand out somehow (better entry-level specs etc), seen as how they’ve already confirmed that it will be priced higher than the A-Class Sedan.
The old CLA? Well, that’s a whole different story. This new model is 48 mm (1.9 inches) longer and 53 mm (2.0 inches) wider than its predecessor, while the wheelbase has also grown by some 30 mm (1.18 inches), so it should be more comfortable. It also comes with a lot of extra on-board goodies, and after driving the latest A-Class ourselves, we saw how massively improved its cabin was compared to the old car – and as you know, the old A-Class and first-gen CLA had nearly identical interiors, apart from the upper door panels and a few other minor details.
So there you have it. In the end, the real winner here is the compact premium saloon segment, which is where the all-new CLA belongs, despite its ‘Coupe’ moniker. Other modern competitors, aside from the A-Class Sedan, include the Audi A3 Sedan and the upcoming BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe.