Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake vs. Kia Proceed: Which Is The Fairest Sporty Wagon Of Them All?

Would the new Kia Proceed even exist in its current iteration if it hadn’t been for Mercedes‘ first-gen CLA Shooting Brake? We think that’s a fair question, although getting a straight answer might be pretty difficult, seen as how you’d have to find a Kia executive willing to go down that rabbit hole with you.

In either case, both models exist because customers are increasingly demanding better looks when it comes to wagons.

That’s not to say that these types of vehicles can’t still be practical. Take the first-generation CLA Shooting Brake for example. It was announced at the 2014 LA Auto Show as a more spacious version of the CLA Sedan (or Coupe). It featured more headroom for occupants in the back, and a more usable trunk, especially with the rear seats folded flat.

So while the all-new CLA Shooting Brake and the Kia Proceed are both aimed at style-conscientious buyers, you can make a case for them being decent-enough family cars. But before we look at the numbers, let’s see just how similar they are in terms of looks.

European designs

The Proceed was drawn up at Kia’s European design center in Frankfurt, under the guidance of design boss Gregory Guillaume, who wanted to reinvent the nameplate into something more “vibrant and emotionally engaging”.

Compared to the CLA Shooting Brake, the Kia features more sharp angles and a more horizontal shoulder line. Its German counterpart follows MercedesSensual Purity design philosophy, boasting an elongated hood, less pronounced shoulder line and soft sculptural curvatures throughout. And yet, the different approach doesn’t take away from just how similar the two are as far as what their purpose is within the industry – although one will definitely be a lot cheaper to purchase than the other.

As for the numbers, here’s how the two compare:

Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake: 4,688 mm (15.3 feet) in length, 1,830 mm (6.0 feet) width, 1,442 mm (4.73 feet) height, 2,729 mm (8.95 feet) wheelbase, 505 liter (17.8 cu.ft) trunk volume.


Kia Proceed: 4,605 mm (15.1 feet) in length, 1,800 mm (5.90 feet) width, 1,422 mm (4.66 feet) height, 2,650 mm (8.69 feet) wheelbase, 594 liter (20.9 cu.ft) trunk volume.

The Benz is slightly bigger (in all aspects), yet you can’t fit as much stuff in its trunk, which would normally translate into a clear win for the Kia, except that this isn’t exactly a segment people buy into only for practical purposes.

Uphill battle

If you’re trying to argue in favor of the Proceed and pricing or styling has already been discussed, then you’re better off conceding that the CLA Shooting Brake will probably win the tech battle. In the Kia, you get an 8-inch touchscreen sat-nav display, JBL premium sound system, full Bluetooth smartphone integration, heated windshield, wireless smartphone charging, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, plus active safety features such as High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keeping Assist and Forward Collision Warning with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.

That’s actually pretty darn good if you ask us. Although if you ask Mercedes, they’ll probably roll their eyes and point to the CLA’s stunning widescreen display, the well-recieved MBUX software with intuitive voice assistant, ambient lighting, plus many safety systems that originally debuted in the S-Class, like its semi-autonomous function, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Brake Assist and plenty more.

The powertrain conundrum

Finally, you have your engine options – which for the Kia means choosing between a 1.0-liter T-GDI petrol unit with 120 PS (118 HP), a 1.4-liter T-GDI with 140 PS (138 HP) and a new 1.6-liter CRDi diesel with 136 PS (134 HP). You can also get a range-topping Proceed GT, which packs a 1.6-liter T-GDI petrol engine with 204 PS (201 HP) and 265 Nm (195 lb-ft) of torque.

If you want to outrun the Proceed GT in the Merc, you’ll need the CLA 250 Shooting Brake, which uses a 225 PS (222 HP) four-cylinder petrol unit, mated to a 7G-DCT gearbox. Otherwise, there’s a wide range of petrol options and one diesel unit to choose from: CLA 180 (136 PS / 134 HP), CLA 180 d (116 PS / 114 HP), CLA 200 (163 PS / 161 HP), CLA 220 (190 PS / 187 HP).

Seeing the two cars side by side on the road will take some time, unfortunately. For one, Kia will only sell the Proceed exclusively in Europe, whereas Mercedes will hold off on putting the CLA Shooting Brake into driveways around the world until September of this year.


  • Christian Wimmer

    I like both. Sporty and dynamic-looking, and practical. But if you want to make the visual comparison fair you need to use the CLA AMG Line since you used the sportier GT body kit for Kia C’eed shots.

    Inside the CLA has the Kia beat in terms of style, even though the Kia has a nice interior. I am just biased because I absolutely love these new MB interiors (my new A250 AMG Line has the same cabin) and they’re very ergonomical and logically designed, which is always a big plus.

  • McFly

    The mere fact that a Mercedes is up against a Kia means that Mercedes already lost.

    But I vote Volvo V60. 🙂

    • Mike anonymous

      V60 all of the way!

    • Shobin Drogan

      Isn’t V60 in a different segment?

      • McFly

        The segment here is “sporty wagon”. Never been sure what “sporty” actually means since these definitely aren’t cars for competition, but if these two cars are “sporty wagons”, so is V60.

        And 850 wagon, the predecessor of V60, actually was used for competition. That is, by real definition, sporty. 🙂

  • kachuks

    That Merc interior hurts my eyes.

  • Karl

    Kia exterior with Benz interior!

  • Toronado_II

    Kia ! But McFly remind me that V60 is unbeatable !

  • Tinky-Winky

    Next to Merc that KIA actually looks alright. Still a far cry from the awesome concept.

  • designer_dick

    The Proceed’s a good looking car in profile, but the proportions are thrown slightly off by the comparatively short 2650mm wheelbase, leading to rather ungainly overhangs front and rear. The CLA has better proportions, due to its longer wheelbase, and a more upmarket (if somewhat over the top) interior, but the glasshouse is a bit of a mess thanks to that quarter window mounted on the rear door, and the wide, low mounted front grille gives the car the look of an unfortunate deep sea creature.

    I’d take the Kia.

  • TheAmerican2point0

    I can tell you one thing about both: they’re both ugly

  • Bash

    The KIA done it better.

  • Brabusbus

    Kia has better rear design.

  • PK

    are you kidding me with that kia interior? benz all the way!

  • Rasta_Farian

    Too easy.


  • Dylan Wentworth

    I instantly knew right off the bat which one was the kia from the exterior picture. Before noticing the logo in the wheels.
    I will now give myself a pat on the back.

  • J. P.

    Benz because simply AMG

  • mist

    CLA of course

  • Nordschleife

    Exterior style i prefer the Pro Ceed actually but the interior and tech is Benz hands down. Because i favor interior and tech (plus the Benz is not ugly) I would go with the Benz

  • endrflare

    kia copied and pasted the rear end from the panamera sport turismo, still looks good though

    • William

      They had that rear end since the ’17 Sportage, FYI.

    • bd0007

      That shape/style of taillights have been used by various automakers, including Dodge, Lincoln and Honda.

      Hyundai has been using that style in the Azera/Grandeur for several generations.

  • DaruniaG

    The Kia looks kind of like a Porsche, especially headlight and the whole back of the car.

    I pick Kia

  • enthusia

    Exterior: Kia
    Interior: Mercedes

  • bd0007

    Sheetmetal – Kia
    Interior – MB (even if a bit garish)

    The interior would have been closer if the Proceed GT had gotten the dash design language used in the Telluride (which, variations, will be used in the next Sorento, Optima, etc.).

  • SteersUright

    Neither. When a car has such large overhangs, particularly up front, it just kills the look of it. And MB does this weird downward sloping arc thing with their side windows that makes every last one of them look sad and droopy. If I had to choose among these two, the MB looks far cleaner, better resolved, and more premium, The Kia suffers to many overdone details typical of cheaper cars.

  • diego


  • MarketAndChurch

    I like that the Mercedes hides its FWD platform a lot better. The Kia design, not only looks better, but if it was stretched out over a car the size of the Sonata or V90 Cross Country, would look amazing and super premium. Unfortunately its draped over a small fwd wagon. Hopefully, Kia doesn’t limit this design to this small wagon, and that it gets put on more products, especially the Optima.

  • Jo Bo

    Kia has a fresher look to it.

  • StrangerGP

    Everything is better in the Kia, even the interior. I hate the dual tablets and that mood lightning crap everywhere.

  • too bad the Kia went for the stupid cheap fake Ipad glued on the dash like on the previous CLA.

  • 31/12/2999

    Kia needs to change their badge.

  • Enter Ranting

    CLA’s “stunning widescreen display” is boring. Screens are on everything from Coke machines to printers. They’re not interesting or advanced. The Mercedes’ gauges look flat and dull.

    • Mohamed Elhadi Talmoudi

      Would you take the kia instead of the merc?

      • Enter Ranting

        Possibly, if I was looking for a car like this.

  • Bonni Gari Leksmana

    I think the KIA’s wheel base is not as proportional enough as Benz’s…

  • SamBamm

    The rest of the world.

    • Un Tipo Serio

      Not Spain.

  • Craig

    To my eyes – the KIA is unquestionably the better looking of the two. Inside and out. I really don’t like the MB’s kitchen sink drain a/c vents.

    • TheBelltower

      Never been a fan of MB’s sphincter vents either.

  • TheBelltower

    The exterior design is a tossup, so I’ll always lean more towards a Mercedes over a Kia. The MB’s interior design is garish AF, but clearly at a much higher level of quality than the Kia. The interior of the Kia is just depressing.

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