AA Driven Car of the Year safest car winner: Mercedes CLA, small car big tech
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As part of the annual AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year festivities, we also award the car that achieves the strongest ANCAP safety rating out of those currently on sale. And this year, that honour went to the Mercedes-Benz CLA.
This stylish luxury coupe receives top marks for its Autonomous Emergency Braking ability to protect adult occupants and cyclists, and it's great to see such outstanding levels of safety represented in a medium-sized vehicle that offers luxury and performance.
The CLA received strong marks across all of ANCAP’s different test processes. Adult Occupant Protection was rated by the firm at 96 per cent, with Child Occupant Protection, Vulnerable Road User Protection, and Safety Assist marked as 92, 91, and 76 per cent respectfully.
The recently revised Mercedes-Benz CLA arrived on our shores during a time of small-car renaissance for the brand. It pairs exterior styling that harks to the larger CLS, while simultaneously taking on Mercedes-Benz’s latest cabin layout and MBUX infotainment system — as seen in last year’s AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year winner, the A-Class.
The local CLA range starts with the capable 165kW/350Nm 2.0-litre model, but will soon extend all the way to a fully blown AMG variant packing the most powerful four-cylinder engine on the planet — a turbocharged four making up to 310kW/510Nm — and a unit it shares with its AMG A45 cousin.
“With the first CLA we created a totally new segment with a four-door coupé and celebrated a huge success by selling some 750,000 CLA and Shooting Brake,” said Daimler AMG's Britta Seeger.
“The new edition of the CLA has been developed further in an intelligent way and is even more emotional and sportier than its predecessor. Coupled with new operating systems, it sets new benchmarks for the entire class.”
As cars become quicker and more complicated, it becomes increasingly important to shine a light on the advancements in safety. We're on the edge of a new era of motoring, with the world of vehicle safety set to come to a critical head.
And, as evidenced by the A-Class coming in second place (third in class went to the Tesla Model 3), Mercedes-Benz are putting more effort into the endeavour than most.