Station wagons or estates are supposedly unpopular in Singapore because they resemble hearses.
Well, those naysayers don’t know any better. Estates are one of the most practical cars for families. They offer five seats and a larger, more flexible boot.
If you feel the same, congratulations. You’re one of the few who know just how useful station wagons are.
Besides, not all of them resemble hearses. Not when they look like this.
The latest Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake looks even better than its predecessor.
Its shark-nose design makes it stand out in carparks. At the rear, the tail-lights are no longer “oversized”. Now slimmer, these units definitely add a swanky touch.
Our test unit is the AMG Line variant, which among other things, comes with chrome pins on the diamond grille (for extra “bling”) and a tasteful AMG body kit.
I’m not much for the scorching Sun Yellow paintwork, but that’s another story for another day.
Like its siblings, the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake’s interior is designed to delight.
A pair of 10.25-inch screens, which display your instrument cluster and infotainment, dominate the dashboard. I find these screens to be prettier than the ones in Audis and BMWs.
The only downside is that these displays are mounted a tad low. This makes them rather reflective during the day.
Sometimes, instead of seeing my speedometer, I see my shirt, along with my hands on the steering wheel. Luckily, these reflections are less obvious at night.
That said, the latest Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake’s cabin is also roomier and more useful than its predecessor’s.
There’s more headroom for both front and rear occupants. Charging your phone can be done wirelessly, or via USB-C and USB ports.
You can haul bulkier cargo, too, thanks to the larger boot. Boot capacity has grown from 495 litres to 505 litres with the rear seat backrests up. Fold them and you get 1354 litres, or 16 litres more than before.
The boot space itself is also deeper and wider. Complementing this is the wider aperture, which has grown by 236mm. Said opening also has a squarer shape, which makes loading/unloading big boxes and luggage easier.
You might be doubting the CLA Shooting Brake’s performance. After all, it “only” has a 1.3-litre 4-cylinder engine.
But thanks to turbocharging, this unit pumps out 163hp and 250Nm. It powers the CLA Shooting Brake from rest to 100km/h in 8.4 seconds. That’s respectable.
More importantly, this motor is tractable and willing to be revved.
With the drive mode set to Sport, I got a kick out of constantly chasing redlines, gleefully watching the tacho needle sweep right.
And although the 250Nm of torque plateaus after 4000rpm, you’ve got some extra shove from the ponies till 5500rpm.
My colleagues’ theory is that the tailpipes in the CLA Shooting Brake don’t have bent ends. Instead, they extend through the exhaust finishers.
Anyway, right or wrong, what matters is that the CLA Shooting Brake sounds better than its aforementioned siblings. Besides, the nicer exhaust note makes up for the engine’s gruff vocals.
SHOOTING FOR CORNERS
The Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake is what I like to call a “neat” handler.
Essentially, everything about it is progressive. From the way it turns to the way it steers. This is good. You don’t want any sudden surprises. Especially if you happen to be carrying a boot full of luggage.
The ride quality is relatively pliant, courtesy of the well-sorted suspension and comfort-biased tyres.
In the older CLA Shooting Brake, road undulations tried to “massage” your back, no thanks to the stiffer dampers.
CATCH A SHOOTING STAR?
The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake ticks most of the right boxes. It has an attractive design, responsive and willing engine, and a roomier and more practical cabin.
For the badge-conscious, the CLA Shooting Brake is also adorned by the adored three-pointed star.
The biggest downside to the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake is its $191k price tag (correct at time of publication). That’s a lot of moolah to spend just to prove naysayers wrong.
Mercedes-Benz CLA200 Shooting Brake AMG Line 1.3 (A)
ENGINE 1332cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged
MAX POWER 163hp at 5500rpm
MAX TORQUE 250Nm at 1620-4000rpm
GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select
0-100KM/H 8.4 seconds
TOP SPEED 226km/h
CONSUMPTION 17.5km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE $191,888 (no VES rebate/surcharge)
AGENT Cycle & Carriage Industries