The first price to be paid for the CLA’s style-centred design is evident as soon as you open the door.
Even if you’re not used to stretching out in one of the more spacious saloons available at this price point, you’ll be aware of a certain tightness of package, along with a need to lever yourself into the Mercedes' driver’s seat more carefully than you would into a typical compact exec.
Once you’re in, the rooflining is quite close to your scalp even with the driver’s seat cranked down as low as it will go, and both shoulder and kneeroom are relatively scant. There’s enough space up front for a 6ft 4in driver, but with little left over.
In the back, entry is made tricky by the plunging roofline, while headroom is insufficient for anyone even remotely tall and legroom is limited – especially so with tall passengers occupying the front seats. In truth, it’s a back row for teenagers, not fully grown adults.
There’s reason to assume that a CLA buyer could live with that kind of cabin, though, attracted as they may be by the way the car looks over what it might offer in terms of practicality. Otherwise, they'd buy a C-Class or even the C-Class Coupé. They'd be more likely to be disappointed by run-of-the-mill cabin design and average material richness. They’ll find neither here, but nor will he find a cabin of outstanding style or imagination.