With the current global economic scenario, prices are rising and depleting natural resources are fast becoming a growing concern. In response to the worldwide cry for efficiency, all major automakers have introduced smaller, more efficient car models which don’t guzzle as much fuel and make better use of the fuel they do sip. There have even been multiple instances of engine downsizing to combat stringent efficiency and emission norms which are being put in place in somewhat of a hurry. A number of compact hatchbacks and crossovers have spawned as a result. They bring with them everyday practicality with still managing to maintain exclusivity. The sheer number of choices today has turned the small car segment into a buzzing hive of activity.
However, the focus hasn’t just been on downsizing the engines of large cars and bringing in smaller cars. There is an equally high level of activity in the middle of the pack for many manufacturers. One of the highlights here is the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA class. Why is this such a significant model? It spells out the possibility of a whole new era of competition for Mercedes.
The new 2017 CLA class is the third model to use Mercedes-Benz’ new MFA architecture. This is the same platform which has spawned the new B class, the new A class and will include a compact crossover in the very near future, with a GLA badge in all probability. The highlights of this architecture are simple lightweight construction and a front engine, front drive layout. Mercedes for long have had rear wheel driven saloons, sports cars and SUVs with their 4matic intelligent all wheel drive system available as an option on many models within the range. 4matic will also be available on the CLA class, but more details on that later.
The CLA class features some attractive design language from a number of perspectives. The sharp lines and creases accentuate its shape and proportions making it quite an attractive proposition for anyone looking out for a new premium family car. The almost CLS-like coupé roof line and four doors make a strong case for themselves. The availability of a panoramic glass roof will further add to the desirability quotient.
The CLA class is positioned as the entry-level sedan in the lineup; below the C class. Dimensionally, it is larger car than the C class with a total length of 4637 mm, a width (without mirrors) of 1780 mm and a height of 1398 mm. The wheelbase measures 2699 mm; the same as the A and B class cars.
Engines and Variants:
The MFA platform has led to the introduction of all new 4-cylinder engines in the lineup. These include a 1.6L and a 2.0L petrol engines and a 1.8L diesel engine available in multiple states of tune. The common factor is that they all feature turbocharging and direct injection fuel systems; with the diesel engines employing the latest in high pressure common-rail technology. The result of all of these aspects put together spells the achievement of highly competitive power output figures with frugal fuel consumption and minimal CO2 emissions at the same time.
The CLA class will be offered with the 1.6L petrol in two states of tune – 90kW (122 hp) and 200 Nm with the 180 badge; and 115kW (156 hp) and 250 Nm with the 200 badge. A new 2.0L petrol will also be available in two states of tune. The 250 badged model will have 155 kW (211 hp) and 350 Nm with a more powerful 265 kW (355 hp) version set to arrive in the 45 AMG model. The CLA 45 AMG will also have the 4matic all wheel drive system for added stability, better traction and quicker acceleration in more demanding surface conditions.
The diesel engine lineup will have the 1.8L engine offered in two states of tune – 80kW (109 hp) in the 180 CDI and 100kW (136 hp) in the 200 CDI. The debut model however arrives with the top-end diesel engine – the 220 CDI – featuring an updated version of the proven 2.2L 4-cylinder engine which now makes 125kW (170 hp) from 3400-4000 rpm and 350 Nm of torque between 1400 and 3400 rpm; improving on its tractability across the rev range.
The transmission options on the new 2017 CLA class will be carried forward from the A and B class cars. A 6-speed manual transmission will be available in some markets while the new 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission will be offered as standard in most others. The paddle-shift equipped ‘7G-DCT automatic’ will add to the sporty character of the car and deliver a more engaging drive when the owner decides to get more involved in the action.
Pricing and Competition:
The CLA class is a significant model for markets like India and China where 4-door sedans strike a unique chord with buyers. A new model from a premium brand will be sufficient to stir the proverbial pot and keep it on the boil. Car sales have taken a hit over the past few months but the demand for some new models like the Duster and even the Evoque is still quite high.
The CLA class priced in the range of $30,000 – $38,000 the CLA class will be the preferred choice for many buyers as against options like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and even base variants of the BMW 3 series. Buyers considering the top-end Skoda Octavia and even the Honda Accord will think twice before finalising on their purchase.
The CLA class has everything it takes to be a winner in evolving car markets. The combination of good power and low fuel consumption, high levels of refinement and passenger comfort together with modern entertainment and safety technology will put it high on the list of many buyers seeking an upgrade or a new car. Mercedes has a winner at hand!
The combination of good power and low fuel consumption, high levels of refinement & passenger comfort together… rdsf.ly/mtcl
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