Mercedes CLA - Practicality & boot space
Quite practical, so long as the sloping roofline isn't an issue
If you choose a CLA, a large part of the decision will come down to its slinky design, but it's still worth knowing how much of an effect its sleek lines have on practicality.
Mercedes CLA interior space & storage
The CLA is still accommodating for anyone sitting in the front, with plenty of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel allowing drivers of all shapes and sizes to get comfortable. Tall passengers should find just enough legroom in the back too, but headroom is another matter. Here, the sloping roof (that's 36mm lower) means anyone of six feet or more is likely to be brushing the headlining. The issue is made worse by a lack of room for feet under the front seats, making the Audi A3 saloon and Merc’s own A-Class saloon more practical choices. It’s also worth noting that the middle back seat is very narrow, so the CLA is really a four-seater with an extra seatbelt for use in a pinch over short distances.
Considering its fairly small size, the CLA has quite a bit of interior storage, from decent cup holders to door pockets that can accommodate small soft drinks. You'll also find a deep storage cubby under the central armrest, while another ahead of the centre console has a wireless charging pad and USB-C sockets. We’re not sure of the value of the shallow tray replacing the Comand dial, but it could be useful for a few coins for the car wash or toll booth.
With 440 litres of luggage space (445 litres for the diesel), the CLA's boot is a good size; it’s bigger than the A-Class hatch and more spacious than the saloon. It just pips the Audi A3 saloon (425 litres) too. However, even with its 40:20:40 folding rear seats, many customers will still find the boot of a hatchback like the A-Class more usable, because the CLA's boot lid has a rather small opening and high loading lip. Having the batteries placed under the boot floor means the CLA 250 e has a slightly smaller boot at 395 litres, too.
If you like the swoopy styling of the CLA but practicality is a concern, Mercedes also offers the car in Shooting Brake estate form. This improves headroom in the rear seats and increases boot space to a roomy 485 litres; plug-in hybrid models make do with a smaller, yet still ample 454 litres of space.
The entry-level CLA 180 can tow a braked trailer of up to 1,400kg, which is 200kg less than the more powerful 200 petrol. Choose the four-wheel drive CLA AMG 35 4MATIC and capacity increases by the same amount again to 1,800kg.