LONG TERMERS

The CLA seems to be keep­ing a smile on the Ed’s face

Evo India - - CONTENTS - Sirish Chandran (@SirishChan­dran)

What gets us around: CLA, Ti­ago and the Vic­tor

The CLA al­lows you to carry high cor­ner speeds and re­wards a neat and clean driv­ing style

LLOOKS GOOD DOESN’T it? It’s a thought that runs through my head ev­ery morn­ing when I walk down to my garage and blip the key of our new longterm test car. More than any other Merc, the CLA is the car that is at the fore­front of low­er­ing the av­er­age of the Mercedes buyer, both in per­cep­tion as well as ac­tual num­bers. So while the new E-Class looks amaz­ingly sim­i­lar to the S-Class and C-Class makes a mighty fine at­tempt at adding to the head scratch­ing, the CLA with it’s swoopy coupe-like roofline re­mains dis­tinc­tively sporty; dis­tinc­tively young and stylish. And the frame­less doors, a nov­elty in the seg­ment, just adds to that cool fac­tor.

The cabin is sim­i­larly young and sporty but the all-black theme can make it feel rather cooped-in par­tic­u­larly if you’ve got some­body sit­ting at the back. Now that the sun is in­vari­ably hid­ing be­hind heavy mon­soon clouds, I find my­self keep­ing the sun­roof open (the net, not the full roof) to let some light stream into the cabin and make it seem slightly more spa­cious. The one-piece seats though are nice and sporty as is the flat-bot­tom steer­ing wheel with pad­dleshifters for the 7-speed twin­clutch gear­box.

The dy­nam­ics of the CLA are also quite sporty. The ride qual­ity is quite stiff, very un­like a Mercedes, but the up­shot is that on twisty roads, the Mercedes CLA 220 d drives un­like any other lux­ury car with very good turn-in, very lit­tle body roll and great re­sis­tance to un­der­steer. This fron­twheel drive plat­form is gen­uinely in­volv­ing and great fun to throw around, aided by strong brakes and a quick shift­ing gear­box. This is not a car that will twitch and wag at the rear; this is a pre­cise and pointy FWD plat­form that al­lows you to carry high cor­ner speeds and re­wards a neat and clean driv­ing style. I must add that the diesel en­gine, while quick enough, has very good fuel ef­fi­ciency even with spir­ited driv­ing.

Like all new Mercs, the CLA too comes with run-flat tyres but our car – ob­vi­ously hav­ing gone through spir­ited road test­ing with mag­a­zine journos – is run­ning dif­fer­ent tyres. This gives me an op­por­tu­nity to try out a few other tyres avail­able in the re­place­ment mar­ket with the twin aims of keep­ing up the han­dling while adding some com­fort for ev­ery­day use. Watch this space and we’ll keep you posted. ⌧

Date ac­quired June 2017 Du­ra­tion of test 2 month

To­tal mileage 11,826km Mileage this month 902km

Over­all kmpl 12kmpl Costs this month Nil

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