Road Test: Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 Sport
Sector: Lower Medium Price: £24,775 Fuel: 50.4mpg CO2: 130g/km
We’re used to seeing diesel cars command a price premium over petrol, but in the case of Mercedes-Benz’s CLA the difference is marked.
The entry-level CLA on test here, a 180 Sport, costs £24,775 – a full £2,150 less than the entry-level C200 CDI diesel and a frankly huge £5,000 less than a CLA 220 CDI Sport.
Of course the petrol model lacks the mid-range performance punch and frugality of the diesels, but if you can sacrifice those then the petrol CLA really is the ideal choice.
That’s not to say it’s a great car to drive, because it isn’t, but then that really isn’t the CLA’s raison d’etre. No, ignore the weedy 1.6-litre engine under the bonnet wheezing out its 121bhp and instead drink in the quirky styling and enjoy the top-quality cabin.
The CLA is a car to be seen in, not to enjoy driving (unless you can afford the full-house AMG version). Although based on the A-Class, its styling makes it stand out in the company car park and the narrow glass area makes the cabin a lovely, snug place in which to rack up the miles.
It’s also fairly easy on the wallet – a CLA 180 Sport will cost a 40% tax-payer £156 a month in company car tax – that’s £14 a month less than the C200 CDI Sport. It will also save companies around £50 a year on Class 1A National Insurance Contributions.
The downside is higher fuel bills in the 180 Sport, but the other financial advantages easily outweigh this. So cheapest is best, which is not something you often get to say in a Mercedes-Benz road test.