BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Car Review

Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake review

£35,235 - £52,075
Published: 07 Dec 2023


What is it like on the inside?

It’s all standard Mercedes fare inside the CLA Shooting Brake, and you’ll recognise the dashboard that’s been rolled out since the A-Class facelift in 2022. Lots of shiny bits, a pair of giant 10.25in screens across the centre of the dash and behind the steering wheel and huge sports seats (apart from in the entry car). 

The interior feels more like it’s to be looked at and be impressed by rather than to live with on a day to day basis – it can feel especially overwrought at night, like you’ve wandered into a fashionable Prague nightclub by accident. 

Advertisement - Page continues below

What’s the tech like? 

The MBUX infotainment system all works well enough, it’s sharp and responsive and easy to use once you’ve got used to it for a bit. There’s the opportunity to use ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice commands for certain functions, which you’ll only deploy once or twice to show off to friends before ignoring completely. 

We’re also not fans of the touch pad controls on the CLA Shooting Brake’s steering wheel, which are minimally functional. They’ll do what you want maybe one time in three or four until you give up and decide to use the touchscreen instead. 

Is it practical? 

You get 505 litres of space in the Shooting Brake with the seats up, though the PHEV loses 50 litres to its battery pack. That increases to 1,370 litres with the seats down (60 litres less in the plug-in version). Is it more practical than the coupe? On paper the seats up figure isn’t spectacularly different, but that’s because the space is measured up to window height. If you were to ram things in the back of the car you’d gain 150 litres or so of space over the coupe, which can’t pop the seats down either, so there’s that. 

But is it a versatile family wagon?

Let’s face it, you’re not buying this car because it’s a versatile family wagon, you’re buying it because you want to at least make some vague concession to the versatile family wagon that you should have bought. A Skoda Octavia would be a better choice, or perhaps one of those nice SUVs that people seem to like, or even the C-Class estate. But that’s not the point, obviously – the Shooting Brake version of the CLA is more practical than the coupe, but it’s also to our eyes the more visually successful. The smidge of extra headroom in the back is better too.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine