Mercedes CLA saloon - Interior & comfort
The Mercedes CLA interior feels more modern and connected than rivals
Mercedes' latest interiors are setting the standards in almost every class, and the CLA is no different. Digital displays and a new operating system mean interacting with the CLA feels more like using a smartphone than anything, except perhaps a Tesla.
It's convincingly upmarket too, with lots of plush materials and design flourishes like Mercedes' trademark turbine-style air vents. On the move, the CLA can jiggle slightly over bumps - particularly with large alloy wheels fitted - but it settles to a relaxed cruise on the motorway, where its slippery shape also helps keep wind noise at bay.
Mercedes CLA dashboard
While a plethora of new models are making the switch to digital instruments, no manufacturer has embraced the move as fully as Mercedes. Entirely ditching the traditional instrument binnacle and replacing it with a swathe of glass screens has given models like the CLA a contemporary look that rivals have started to copy.
Infotainment is provided by a crystal clear 10.3-inch screen, while a seven-inch display provides the standard instruments, albeit with a glossy black surround. For the full widescreen effect, the instrument cluster can be upgraded to 10.3-inches.
Further signifying the CLA's slightly more exclusive standing than the A-Class, is the fact it’s only available in the AMG Line trim in the UK, with Premium and Premium Plus versions adding extra equipment.
Standard kit is pretty good, and includes 18-inch alloy wheels and a sports body styling kit ensuring the CLA looks the part. There are also LED headlights, leather upholstery, wireless smartphone charging and keyless start. The 'MBUX' infotainment system is good to use and responds to "Hey Mercedes" voice commands, working a bit like Amazon Alexa or Google home assistant. You can also integrate your smartphone with the infotainment system thanks to standard fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
For around £1,500 extra, you can upgrade to AMG Line Premium, bringing the 10.3-inch instrument display, keyless entry, ambient lighting (with 64 colours) and an upgraded sound system. This version also used to have augmented reality sat-nav, which would put directions on a real-time view of the road ahead. This feature might reappear when more semiconductor chips are available; car makers have faced shortages of these chips, leading to delays and some unavailable equipment.
Spend another £1,500 and you're in AMG Line Premium Plus territory, with adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and traffic-sign recognition. Another feature removed for 2021 is the electric adjustment for the front seats.