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.
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 Mercedes‘ Sensual 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.
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.