Mercedes-Benz latest-generation of compact cars is undeniably some of the more attractive cars in the market today. Take the Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback for example, it’s pretty, high tech and has a gorgeous cabin. Never mind if the A 200 comes with a modest 1.33-litre turbo petrol engine and torsion beams at the rear, it’s still a very attractive car inside and out
However, for those who adore the A-Class’ Sensual Purity design but can’t make do with its 370 litres of boot space or you’re just not a fan of hatchbacks (blasphemy!), there are two other alternatives for you without having to stretch your budget to a CLS – the A-Class sedan and CLA 4-door coupe.
The two are based on the A-Class hatch, sharing the same design cues and mechanicals. There are, however, some little but distinct cues that separate the two cars apart. Firstly, some facts and figures:
|Name||Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback||Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan||Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe|
|Length||4,419 mm||4,549 mm||4,688 mm|
|Width||1,796 mm||1,796 mm||1,830 mm|
|Height||1,440 mm||1,446 mm||1,439 mm|
|Wheelbase||2,729 mm||2,729 mm||2,729 mm|
|Boot Space||370 litres||420 litres||460 litres|
|Headroom front/rear||1,024 / 960 mm||1,024 / 944 mm||1,023 / 908 mm|
|Elbow room front/rear||1,457 / 1,446 mm||1,457 / 1,446 mm||1,457 / 1,454 mm|
|Shoulder room front/rear||1,400 / 1,372 mm||1,400 / 1,372 mm||1,400 / 1,372 mm|
|Effective legroom front/rear||1,062 / 861 mm||1,062 / 861 mm||1,062 / 861 mm|
Both the A-Class sedan and CLA Coupe shares the same wheelbase of 2,729 mm like the A-Class hatch but varies in length and height. The CLA Coupe is the longest car among the two (139 mm longer than the A-Class sedan) but it is also the sleeker option here thanks to the sloping roof design.
At a glance, the two might appear to be the same car, but the A-Class sedan has a more conventional sedan silhouette as compared to the CLA’s fastback design. Upon scrutiny, you’ll notice that the headlamps are also different with the CLA featuring a tad bit more sculpture to them and an extra “tick” for its LED daytime running lights.
It’s also a different story round the back, with the A-Class sedan spotting a taillamp design that reflects the previous-gen CLA. No complaints there because it looks great on the car. There is also a more pronounced kink on the boot lid, contributing to the A-Class sedan’s overall aerodynamics that betters even the slick-looking CLA.
The CLA now wears an ultra slim taillamp that shares a similar profile to the new-generation CLS. Although I still can’t bring myself to say that I love them.
Inside, the differences are less pronounced, both cars share the same cabin architecture dominated by the large widescreen cockpit, turbine style air vents, dual layer dashboard and new-generation multifunctional steering wheel with touch sensitive buttons. Spec the exact trim level and you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Onboard features (depending on specification) include Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, Burmester Surround Sound System, sunroof, massaging seats, 64-colour ambient lighting and more. But if there’s one thing that the CLA has an edge over the A-Class sedan, it’s the frameless doors.
The yardstick for practicality is boot space and surprise surprise, despite being a 4-door coupe, the CLA has the largest cargo space among the lot at 460 litres compared to the A-Class sedan’s 420 litres. Too bad we’ll never see the CLA Shooting Brake here in Malaysia…
If you’re expecting the A-Class sedan and CLA to be roomier than the hatch, you’ll be disappointed because the two cars share the same wheelbase as the hatch resulting in the same legroom and shoulder room. Headroom in the CLA also suffers from the coupe design which renders it having 36 mm lesser available headroom compared to the A-Class Sedan. Interestingly, the A-Class hatch is the one that offers the most headroom for rear passengers!
All Mercedes-Benz compact cars are available with the same range of engine options from the efficient (and road tax friendly) 1.33-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol in either 180 or 200 guises as well as a punchy 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol in the 220 or 250 tunes. They are all mated to a 7-speed DCT dual-clutch box to send drive to the front-wheels or the optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive on certain variants.
The A-Class hatch is also offered as a full-blown AMG, A 35 or the soon to be launched A 45 S. The CLA will definitely spawn an AMG variant in the future but whether or not Daimler will stick an AMG badge to the A-Class sedan remains to be seen.
Globally, both the A-Class sedan and CLA are available with the full suite of advance driver’s assistance system and semi-autonomous driving function from the S-Class such as Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist and PRE-SAFE PLUS.
However, don’t expect Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) to have these features equipped on the cars they bring in unless you’re prepared to fork out a hefty premium over its competitors.
All in all, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan and CLA 4-door coupe are very similar cars on paper with a slight twist in flavour. The former is a more practical people carrier (more rear headroom) while the latter has an irresistible flair to it when rolling up at a venue (at the expense of rear headroom of course).
It won’t be long till MBM brings in both the A-Class sedan and CLA 4-door coupe to our shores and word on the street is that some dealers are already fishing for orders from potential customers. Having all said and done, which of the two would be your pick?
Me, I’ll have the hatchback any day.