Driven: Mercedes-Benz CLA 200, The Mercedes For Millennial India

Words & Photography by Atul Bandhu

Relax it’s a Merc and not a Samsung Note 7

We as the young generation have often witnessed companies bringing in products and marketing them for the millennial generation without having any clue of what we as the millennial generation wants from a product. Well to add to their misery; none of those products have stuck the right nodes with the millennial generation….that’s quite sad looking at the number of hours that are put in R&D, planning, marketing and so on. All their attempts are futile from the internet news, to mobile apps, gadgets and Cars when it comes to targeting our generation. The most basic thing that all these corporate Pinocchio’s in their late 40’s 50’s and 60’s forget is that they just cannot just observe or do SWOT analysis or use their online analytic tools to zero down to what we want. They need to have young minds helping them out for good and for good money and not peanuts. I might have gone too far in the explanation for what our young generation wants but what do we want? ummmmmm…… guys should just refer to Mercedes CLA for some answers.

Yes you are still reading a Car review but at News24AUTO we connect you to the car and not puke facts and figures. Like I read most car reviews(Ed calls it competition evaluation) and I go #@**##*$$!## why the #&*# are these reviews nutting and milking figures when they are already there on company website and brochures. We got no intentions to do that and if you want to read numbers, I suggest you to always redirect yourself to a company website instead.

My love for cars has taken me behind the wheel of most of them out there in the market, I usually end up with some soft corner for most cars except some hideous ones. So what is it that sets this apart from others? India is growing at a rapid rate and Mercedes-Benz has is turning out a good number from this country so we can no longer put their cars aside and keep Maruti’s in the main frame (as a matter of fact Mercedes-Benz today has more model on offer in India compared to Maruti-Suzuki!!!!

I need not say more on of how well Mercedes-Benz treats India) also the new India has the purchasing power (Auto Companies- have a look at AMITY’s parking lot) Yes one CLA200 owned by Amity’s Gagan Kalra might have gone up in flames but thankfully no one was hurt in the incident. Again that is a one off incident in ages, not saying that you should let it pass but you also can’t summarize or label the oldest car manufacturer in the world as a brand making cars that end up in flames. We have witnessed numerous vehicles including cars, bikes, buses and trucks ending up in flames but those were the days when social media wasn’t making buzz on every incident. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a fire, well we had a word with Mercedes-Benz team as the incident has taken place just few days after we tested this car, they have assured us that they will take necessary actions in the case. Currently they have contacted the owner & the dealership to figure out the nature of the fire and what triggered it. Until the investigation is complete and the cause is found one just can’t hold either the owner or Mercedes-Benz accountable. Mercedes-Benz has been offering CLA in the Indian market for more than a couple of years so you shouldn’t be in two minds when looking forward to buying your new Mercedes-Benz. Afterall it’s a Merc and not a Samsung Note 7.

The younger generation is buying more expensive cars so why bore them with your corporate executive sedans. Mercedes-Benz CLA is one such fine example of a car catering to the minds, heart and spirit of the millennial generation. Ofcourse we would be overwhelmed if Mercedes-Benz makes maximum use of Make in India to bring down its price. That we will cover in another Mercedes-Benz article on localisation.

After looking at the images above, just think is there anything in and around this price bracket that looks this sexy? No answer should come to your mind, if it does I am sorry my friend you have gone past this generation and have got no clue of what the millennial generation prefers.

The looks of CLA will any day score Eva Mendes/10.

The coupe like design, frameless doors, sporty contoured seats, paddle shifter and a bi-turbo unit which brings smile to your face when you put the pedal to the metal. The sporty seats holding us in place with negligible body roll and the joy of paddle shifters at your fingertips. The dual clutch shifts are crisp and the 7 speed gearbox has well spaced out gear ratios and ofcourse you can change the way the steering, suspension and engine responds with different drives modes.

The handling and manoeuvrability of CLA is another USP up its sleeve, with a shorter wheelbase and low centre of gravity the car is nothing short of exciting to drive. We really liked the steering feedback mid-way into a corner under hard acceleration, the balance is adequate in such situations pertaining to the face that it is a front wheel drive however we are yet to get our hands on the AMG version of the CLA which would be delight but it cost nearly twice this car. The size of the car makes it quite a treat for city use as well, the only thing in this segment that could give a tough completion is the upcoming Skoda Octavia Vrs.

The car is fully equipped with safety, entertainment and utility features they are best left undiscussed. The four cylinder turbo petrol unit under the hood churns out 184 brake horsepower with a healthy 300 nm of torque. I am sure most of you won’t extract those numbers on regular basis, but after testing the peak performance of the car I can say that it is quite capable to do that everyday but if you intend to do keep your entire car in good shape, don’t mind taking a trip of BIC with it, it won’t disappoint on the track either. If performance is too dear you can also go for the CLA 45 AMG costing you around INR 71.94 Lakhs ex-showroom Delhi.

There is few major downsides to this car, no not the fire that’s a one off case, I am actually talking about the space at rear. If you want to be driven around in this Merc at rear seat the sloping roof eats into the rear headroom and the knee space back there is also cramped, my editor who stands over 6 six feet tall was in highly awkward position back there, even at 5’ 9 I found myself quite uncomfortable and with barely any comfort!!!!!! Not even a rear aircon vents and neither the sunroof or the 4 power windows come with the anti-pinch feature to my surprise…..If you spend considerable time on the rear bench this one is not for you.

Should you buy one?

With the offering price of INR 34.22 Lakh ex-showroom Delhi for one of the best looking sedans on Indian road makes this quite an irresistible option. Those frameless doors and Cleopatra like beauty of CLA are timeless, it also seems they abbreviated CLeopatrA for nomenclature.

If you aren’t driven around or don’t usually go around with full grown people I would say this is the car to go for. Talking about the millennial generation they love this car, I can testify this personally being in that generation. It also brings in considerable admiration from both the sexes, young and old alike.

To tell you a secret, I have been eagerly looking for a decent priced CLA 200 in the used car market since I drove this thing. I rest my case here.

Click the Link below for details (I recommend reading the company website for detailed features and figures and not reviews)

Mercedes-Benz CLA