The CLC Sports Coupe is perhaps the worst Mercedes you can buy!
Generally, it is fairly easy to like Mercedes vehicles, just look at the new E Class Coupe or saloon, C Class, SL, SLK, CLS or the consultant's favourite, the big CL. But the CLC is the exception. The four-seat car's exterior is smart enough when viewed head on or even from a front three quarter angle, but it all goes wrong around the rear.
The CLC may be a new Mercedes class name, but it is really a second generation C-Class Coupe, despite 1,100 changes and only the doors and roof carried over. Time hasn't helped us get used to the notchy looking hatchback rear end! In fairness, the four-seat CLC in the right colour and when fitted with good looking alloys can appear smart, but that is as good as it gets.
Once you climb in behind the wheel you soon realise that you sit on a CLC rather than in it... Oh to be below average height! The dash is low set as is almost everything else. The sun visor made me attempt self-decapitation anytime I used it! Inside all the switchgear etc is from Mercedes, so you soon find all the controls instinctively. The poor range of seat adjustment was frustrating as was the fact that I had to reset my head restraint every time I let someone out my door.
Being a hatchback the cargo area is versatile, but the tailgate is pretty heavy. My kids complained about it on the school run. Care is needed to avoid soaking yourself and shopping after rain, as water tends to drip randomly down from the heavy tailgate. One thing that is gone from the old C Coupe is the quirky split glass tailgate, and now rear vision is even poorer. My youngest two found the rear seats fine, although they had restricted vision. Two adults can fit in the back but I'd think twice about it. Think of the CLC as a 2+2 and it's fine.
On the road the CLC feels heavy through the steering. Usually this is a good thing for drivers who like to get feedback through the steering wheel, but the CLC's steering is numb and this is a relatively low powered version. The rear-wheel drive car is, however, composed in a straight line and motorway cruising is pleasant. My test car was the entry-level petrol CLC180 with the Sport Auto gearbox. CO2 of 198g/km means the car attracts €1,050 annual road tax. The 1.8 litre four-cylinder engine has 143bhp and 220nm of torque. It takes 9.9 seconds to go 0-100km/h. Other engines in the range include the CLC 200 four-cylinder petrol and two turbo diesels. There are even two V6 petrol engines CLC230 and CLC350 with 270bhp!
The CLC is gunning for the BMW 1 series Coupe and A3, but both are better offerings. Starting at €33,640, the CLC is way overpriced for a car that has so little going for it. You don't even get Bluetooth! In Germany the CLC starts at €26,745 for the green Blue Efficiency CLC160. Another €2,000 gets the CLC180 as tested.
Coupes are meant to attract younger buyers and of course first and foremost be desirable. I cannot see the CLC doing either!
If the CLC was Ford Focus money, then yes, I'd take a closer look.