New load-lugging CLA shown to the public for the first time

Mercedes calls its new CLA Shooting Brake a “sports car with load space,” and while that may purely be marketing babble it does put you in the mindset to understand what they were trying to do with it. Now in its second generation, the CLA wagon builds on the strengths of its not very popular predecessor in order to gain more market traction - whether or not this new one will be more successful than the car it replaces remains to be seen.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake mixes style and space in Geneva
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We like the CLA Shooting Brake a lot, though, thanks to its blend of swooping shapes, an excellent, modern and high-tech interior and the promise of an engaging, sporty drive.

It is based on the all-new CLA four-door and it’s essentially the same car right until around the C-pillar area - the interior is the same, powertrain choices are the same, so people who are going to choose this over the sedan will most likely just think it looks cool and not really need the extra space it provides.

It only offers 10 liters more load volume in the trunk, yet Mercedes wants to assure future buyers that the opening through which you have to fit whatever you want to carry is considerably bigger than on the old CLA wagon. To be precise, the width of said opening has grown from 635 millimeters to 871 millimeters - an increase of 236 millimeters or around 9.3 inches.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Predecessor Difference
Length mm 4688 4640 +48
Width mm 1830 1777 +53
Width incl. exterior mirrors mm 1999 2032 -33
Height mm 1442 1444 -2
Wheelbase mm 2729 2699 +30
Front track mm 1612 1549 +63
Rear track mm 1602 1547 +55

Compared to the old CLA shooting brake, this new car is 48 millimeters longer, 53 millimeters wider and 2 millimeters shorter. Wheelbase has also been increased by 30 millimeters and both front and rear tracks have been widened by over 50 millimeters. Interior room is mostly improved in all areas aside from legroom - that is nearly identical to what the old car offers.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Predecessor Difference
Max. headroom, front mm 1025 1016 +9
Headroom, rear mm 955 947 +8
Legroom, front mm 1062 1063 -1
Legroom, rear mm 861 860 +1
Elbow room, front mm 1457 1422 +35
Elbow room, rear mm 1454 1410 +44
Shoulder room, front mm 1400 1391 +9
Shoulder room, rear mm 1372 1350 +22
Load compartment width max. mm 1394 1328 +66
Load compartment depth max. mm 1054 1003 +51
Width of load compartment opening mm 871 635 +236
Boot capacity, German Association of the Automotive Industry l 505 495 +10

But we doubt the reason for buying a CLA estate will be practicality. Sure, being able to carry more stuff in your flashy compact Mercedes is a bonus, but for many it will be the way the car looks and drives that seals the deal. And on the styling front, the car certainly ticks all the right boxes - it looks low, sleek and unapologetically sporty (especially for a wagon).

We very accurately predicted what it was going to look like with a rendering we published late last year when we didn’t even know if Mercedes was even going to make one. But now that it’s here, we think it looks pretty cool and is just as unique a proposition in the segment as its predecessor was.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake mixes style and space in Geneva
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The CLA shooting brake’s sleek shape helps it cut through the air like few production cars can - its drag coefficient is 0.26 Cd, a bit more than the 0.23 Cd of the sedan, but still extremely good by any standard.

Inside the CLA shooting brake you won’t really spot any differences between it and the sedan because the interior is identical.

The cargo area at the back is different, but from a passenger’s perspective, the experience of being aboard won’t really differ. Users get to interact with the car through Mercedes’ MBUX “interior assistant” that has voice control capabilities and it can actually tell who is issuing the command (whether it’s the driver or front passenger).

Mercedes is keen to mention the CLA shooting brake’s suspension system, insisting that the load lugging CLA is just as agile as the sedan and that together they are the most agile Mercedes models you can buy. This is a positive byproduct of the two cars’ extra track width that apparently doesn’t affect comfort levels.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake mixes style and space in Geneva
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As you can imagine, the CLA wagon is packed full of the latest safety gadgets, some of which weren’t available before and have since trickled down the range from the S-Class flagship.

So, for instance, the active cruise control system doesn’t just maintain a safe distance to the car in front, but now will also change lanes when you indicate - this used to be a feature reserved for higher end Mercedes models.

The range of engines is the same as what you can opt for in the sedan. Cars branded CLA 180 and CLA 200 will run the same 1.3-liter four-cylinder turbo tuned to 134 horsepower and 161 horsepower respectively; a manual six-speed transmission will only be available for these - any larger power plant you will have to have with an automatic gearbox.

CLA 220 and CLA 250 cars will be powered by a bigger 2.0-liter four-pot turbo with 187 horsepower or 222 horsepower. They are both hooked up to Mercedes’ seven-speed dual clutch and you can also opt for all-wheel drive on these larger engines too.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake mixes style and space in Geneva
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Diesel fans may be a bit disappointed as the only diesel on offer is the CLA 180d powered by a small 1.5-liter four-pot engine only available with the automatic transmission and no option to add all-wheel drive.

Order books for the new CLA shooting brake will open soon and first deliveries are expected to begin in September of 2019.

Further reading

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake mixes style and space in Geneva
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Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA.

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake
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Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake.

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