2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 200

The Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 isn’t exactly a favourite in the office – the svelte looks of the junior CLS hides a high price, low specs, a sub-par interior, a firm ride and a recalcitrant dual-clutch transmission. Now, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) looks to fix at least some of the problems with the arrival of the 2015 model year update, which comes with a host of cabin-related changes first seen on the CLA Shooting Brake.

Exterior aesthetics were the car’s star draw, and this update changes none of that. You still get the Night Package (black wing mirrors, high-gloss waistline trim strip, two-tone 18-inch wheels) on top of the Urban equipment line (dual exhaust exits, chrome rear diffuser cutout), along with stylish bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.

Instead, the upgrades are all focused on the inside of the car. The biggest change is the new C-Class-style three-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel, but you’ll also notice the full-width AMG carbon fibre trim panel that takes over from the rather dour silver wave-look trim of old.

The laughably tiny digital picture frame-style central display is now history as well, finally replaced by a sizeable eight-inch screen; it’s still a modest Audio 20 CD system, though, so there’s still no navigation, not even as an option. Finally, the audio fascia buttons have been switched to flatter, cleaner units, in the style of the facelifted B-Class.

The updated interior, vis-à-vis the 2014 version

Elsewhere, the specs remain the same – there’s still manual air-conditioning and no Keyless-Go, but you do get Light and Sight ambient lighting, powered front sports seats with memory, Artico faux leather upholstery, a reverse camera, cruise control, paddle shifters and sports suspension. Safety-wise, there’s Attention Assist, Active Park Assist, Pre-Safe and Collision Prevention Assist with Brake Assist.

It’s the same story under the bonnet as well – the carry-over 1.6 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine sends 154 hp and 250 Nm to the 7G-DCT (seven-speed dual-clutch transmission). The 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 8.5 seconds, and the CLA 200 runs out of puff at 230 km/h.

As for the price, well, it’s the same as beforeRM233,888 on-the-road without insurance but inclusive of GST and a four-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.