Mercedes CLS saloon - Practicality & boot space
Yes, the Mercedes CLS will seat five, but not everyone will thank you for it on a long journey
The Mercedes CLS is more of an upmarket cruiser than a family runabout, but the fact it now seats five makes it a more versatile proposition than previous generations. However, the less seductive looking E-Class offers more interior space for significantly less money.
Mercedes CLS interior space & storage
The CLS sits on the same underpinnings as the Mercedes E-Class and its passenger compartment is roughly the same length between the front and rear windscreens. Those in the front have very little cause for complaint – there's generous head and legroom, while a low, wide dashboard gives a pleasingly enclosed, yet non-claustrophobic feel.
Most rear-seat passengers will be happy with the legroom on offer, too, but the drawback to that sleekly sloping roofline soon becomes apparent. A six-foot passenger will find it tricky to go long distances in the back of a CLS without slouching uncomfortably, particularly in the slightly raised centre seat.
The latter may bring the theoretical maximum passenger complement to five, but three rear-seat passengers might begin to moan early in a journey – the centre seat is narrow and its occupant has to sit with their legs splayed uncomfortably due to a bulky floor tunnel.
Limited rear passenger space isn't the only compromise those curvaceous looks impose. While the CLS' boot volume is a fairly generous 520 litres (490 litres for the petrols), the way the car is curved towards the back results in a relatively narrow opening aperture and there's a high lip to negotiate when loading heavy items.
Although 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats mean the boot can be extended for long or bulky items, loading family ephemera such as pushchairs will be an unwelcome chore at the beginning and end of every journey.