Is The Mercedes-Benz Shooting Brake The Urbanite’s Perfect Car?
Mercedes-Benz delivers a certain charm to estate vehicles with its Shooting Brake range.
No, it doesn’t have anything to do with the grip of the brake calipers. Nor does it have anything to do with the Collision Prevention Assist that activates the autonomous braking to avoid accidents. The Mercedes-Benz Shooting Brake range consists of hatch-inspired estates that are designed to be utilitarian and dynamic.
When I first saw it at the official launch, the Shooting Brake promised to be a car for the young, adventurous corporate ‘urban hunter’ who has a penchant for discovering hidden bars and midnight art galleries. And appropriately so, given that the Shooting Brake originated from a hunting vehicle that, in the past, carried gaming gunners. With the existing range of compact cars such as the A-class, the CLA coupe, GLA-class SUV and B-class Sports Tourer on hand, I pondered over the fifth and latest addition to the range. Would the CLA-class Shooting Brake shoot for the stars and reach it?
The average age of Mercedes-Benz owners has reportedly fallen since its introduction in 2012 and there is a good chance that a young ‘urban hunter’ among your acquaintances owns one of these Shooting Brakes. With this in mind, I took the CLA 250 Shooting Brake out on a prowl, in a bid to understand its appeal.
There is no question about its desirable looks; it is like taking the front half of a sleek C-class coupe and mashing it in with a hatch. But obviously it is not as haphazard as that. The bonnet has been drawn out and the roof elongated, so as to allow for more headroom in the cabin. Based on a hatchback, the roof contour slopes down to create a distinctive rear end but that was as far as a motoring confidant of mine went in his approval of its strikingly sporty appearance. According to him, the view from the back looked too much like a hearse. But when I unlocked the boot, the volume of space is impressive. To be exact, it offers up to 1,354 litres worth of storage if you choose to fold down the rear seats.
Inside the driver’s cockpit, it was welcoming to find there was more than enough room to stretch out my legs without adjusting the seat, something I could hardly do on my other drives. It confirmed my thoughts that a generosity with space is indeed the main highlight of the Shooting Brake.
The interior is quite the pleaser too; the sporty outlook continues inside with red stitching on the integral, luxurious seats, matching the red seat belts and the red lining on the air-con vents. As if to make the urbanites feel even more at home, there is an ambient lighting system that can illuminate in 12 different colour schemes, and that proved to be a delightful novelty during a particularly therapeutic night drive.
Above the air-con vents set in the clean, metallic silver dashboard, a free-standing, 7in piano black iPad-like display screen displays all the infotainment you need to complement the mood set by the lighting. While navigating through the telematics system, it was strange to find that it didn’t come with an in-built GPS for a vehicle made for exploring the coolest nooks and crannies in town. Fortunately, the extremely light steering made up for it when I had to make any sudden turns into said nooks and crannies.
Whether the Shooting Brake actually appeals to the ‘urban hunters’ or as an ‘urban carrier’, Mercedes-Benz has delivered a certain charm to estate vehicles. It might have edged out the established A-class in terms of its unique design and sporty cabin, but it is still early to tell if it has reached the stars. Even so, in Kanye West’s words, it could at least land on a cloud.
The Mercedes-Benz Shooting Brake is available in four different engine options: CLA 180, CLA 200, CLA 250 4MATIC and CLA 45 AMG 4MATIC. In Singapore, the Shooting Brake CLA 250 4MATIC is priced at S$198,888 (without COE).