So, the road test of the unusual concept ends with an unusual verdict: a Mercedes that fails to satisfy its judges on many of the levels on which we’d usually expect a Benz to compete.

In terms of cabin ambience and space, its interior lags behind the best you’d expect at this level. Likewise in performance, ride, handling and, dare we say it, appearance.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The CLA will no doubt attract new buyers to the brand

There are bits to like about the CLA. It’s an honest car to drive, for example, and it steers consistently. In fact, there’s a slightly old-fashioned feel to the way the CLA goes down the road that really isn’t unpleasant. 

Despite its faults, the Mercedes-Benz CLA is a car that offers visual appeal in spades, but is far more attainable than the CLS which inspired it. Love the looks, and you’ll love the car.

The thing is, sitting as it does on the far side of £30,000 – or vastly more once you’d popped some decent options aboard – there are classy, sophisticated alternatives from inside and outside Stuttgart that don’t leave you with an old-fashioned product.

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