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Now, we know from answering thousands of car buyers' questions that most people care more about reliability, low running costs, low tax, fuel economy and practicality than they do about how a car corners, sounds or looks, but we got into this job because we love cars and we'll always tell it like we see it. You see, Mitsubishi 's new small car has a lot going for it; it's distinctly large inside the cabin (if not in the boot), well-equipped, cheap to tax, ostensibly fuel efficient and it comes with an eight-year warranty.
That's a decent amount of equipment, but even so we feel that the Mitsubishi needs to be a couple of thousand Euro cheaper than it is. By using this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with the privacy policy. Volkswagen has released the first photos of the 5-door version of the VW Up, with sales expected to start at the end of 2012 in the UK. So far, VW has given us no further details, and all we have are photos of the exterior of the 5-door Up, with no interior pictures released. It may seem an odd move aiming directly for the class leading BMW 3 Series, but that is exactly what Mercedes-Benz needs to do if it is to wrestle buyers away from its German rival. Mercedes-Benz effectively invented the modern day 'four-door coupé' with the original CLS and the hope is that the CLA can repeat that success in a miniaturised format.
Not that you will be concerned about the comfort of your passengers when you catch a glimpse of the CLA in a passing window. When CompleteCar.ie first drove the A-Class we commented on its ride being too stiff for Irish roads. That said, the CLA is not a car designed for carving up mountain roads; instead it is for cruising along Hollywood Boulevard (or whatever the Irish equivalent is) and it is here that it makes most sense. While the stiff suspension is unsuited to minor roads it works well on the motorway, where it soaks up the kilometres, allowing you to relax in a well-insulated cabin. Mercedes-Benz is hoping that the CLA will attract new buyers to the brand and has pitched it directly against what it sees as the car's biggest rival, namely the BMW 3 Series. The CLA is part of a new generation of compact cars from Mercedes-Benz and just one of ten new models - all without predecessors - that will arrive in Ireland over the next four years.
While the BMW 3 Series is likely to remain the car for the keen driver (and it's also much more spacious) it faces stiff competition in the driveway and indeed kerbside appeal factor from this new Mercedes.


Job done for a lot of people, even when compared with the likes of the Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii and Volkswagen up!
Plus, we find them, even the most basic of which, quite desirable, and astoundingly good to drive. No matter how attractive it is on paper, we suspect that many will be swayed by the power of some of the bigger brands.
But we assume that apart from the extra doors, the 5-door Up will be the same as the 3-door Up.
While the new CLA cannot compare to the BMW in dynamic terms it is more than a match for it in the looks department.
While it may look a lot like the pioneering coupé the CLA actually shares its underpinnings with the A-Class hatchback and B-Class MPV. It truly is a sensational looking car, especially in the AMG Sport specification of our test model. In chasing Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series sales Mercedes-Benz went too sporty meaning the premium hatchback crashes over bumps. With 170hp and 350Nm of torque the 2.1-litre diesel has more than enough oomph for nipping in and out of traffic and, providing you do not work it too hard, makes an acceptable noise while doing so. Until it comes time to change gears that is; like the majority of Mercedes sold in Ireland our test car featured an automatic transmission (7G-Tronic to be precise), which frustrates in its slowness to change and jerkiness when it finally does so. Mercedes is stretching beyond its traditional customer base and hoping to attract younger buyers to the brand; buyers who have historically veered towards BMW and Audi. The ride is a little stiff though and makes a good case for opting for the Comfort suspension across the range, but buyers will likely ignore that the first time they catch a glimpse of the car in a passing window.
Over a foot longer than the hatchback, it offers a more practical boot and a better looking design to our eyes, but at the detriment of rear headroom. Mercedes is very proud that the body has the lowest drag coefficient of any car in its class but that will unlikely tempt buyers into the showrooms. Unfortunately it is the same story with the CLA; over some well-travelled Wicklow routes it bounced around where other cars in the class would not.


Only when pushed does the engine give up a characteristic diesel clatter that is unbecoming of such a sporty looking car. Switching between Efficiency, Sport or Manual (via a button on the dash) does not seem to rectify the issue either. The CLA will in time be joined by an A-Class-based SUV (likely to be called the Mercedes-Benz GLA) that will do battle with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 in the premium segment of the market. Admittedly it's comfy enough in town, but there's a lot of lean through the corners and the steering is particularly long-winded. Instead it is the swooping roofline, bulging bonnet and tapered rear end that will draw them in. This may have been due to the AMG Sport specification of our test car (it features low profile tyres after all) and we await a drive in a regular car to compare.
The engine is a surprise though; it pushes the Space Star along with real verve despite producing only 80hp.
A glance at the specs confirms it's a light car, which no doubt helps its fuel economy and emissions figures. Urban trim (likely to be the top seller in Ireland) adds lowered sports suspension, larger alloys, a leather steering wheel and redesigned grille.
While the rear is cramped the high quality interior of the A-Class has been carried over, lending the CLA a premium feel. The range topping AMG Sport increases specification with larger brake discs, a perforated leather steering wheel, AMG alloys and a diamond grille modelled on the full-blooded AMG 45 model.
Our AMG Sport model featured a leather multifunction steering wheel, 'Comfort' seats and an optional panoramic sunroof, but we did get a chance to poke around an entry-level car and were impressed with the standard cabin too. The entry-level model is a bit light on the equipment front but nobody buys a bare-bones Mercedes, right?



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