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2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 8.2

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS looks modern and stylish inside following its redesign, with top-notch materials quality. Both rows of seats are comfortable, though the sloped roof limits rear-seat headroom. There's plenty of available technology, and a user-friendly infotainment system comes standard.

  • "Although Mercedes likes to tell us the new 2019 CLS450 is a now a 5-seater with an extra half-inch of leg room, not many people will want to sit in the middle back seat -- let's just say it's best for kids. But that should not detract from what is an otherwise excellent interior, one that's comfortable, well equipped and handsomely stylish, with attractive exposed-grain wood trim and sweeping shapes influenced by the exterior lines of the car." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The car's interior feels like a significant update. Gone is the devotion to stodgy, conservative styling of eras past. The CLS adopts the interior treatment pioneered by the 2017 E-Class, which embraced the latest technology. The new CLS's interior finally feels just as sexy and charismatic as the focused exterior." -- Autoblog
  • "Mercedes' interiors look like sci-fi cockpits, or maybe like a new steampunk aesthetic that blends modernity with the Atomic Age rather than the Victorian era? Let's call it MidcenturySilicon. The dash is a combo of shiny digital screens (the 12.3-inch gauge-cluster screen is standard, while the larger infotainment screen is optional), metal and wood, as well as round air vents that look like jet turbines. It's a good mashup, managing to be both clean and interesting at the same time." -- Edmunds

Seating

The redesigned CLS seats five (up from four in previous years) and features two full sets of LATCH connectors for attaching child safety seats. Heated and ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, a heated steering wheel, and Mercedes' Energizing Comfort are available. Energizing Comfort maximizes driver comfort by applying one of six preset programs to adjust the air conditioning, engage the heated seats and heated steering wheel, or start the seat massage function. Drivers enjoy great forward visibility in the CLS, but the sloping roofline restricts the rearward view. The front seats provide all-day support and comfort, as well as numerous luxury upgrades. The rear seats have a decent amount of headroom, but the roofline limits headroom for taller folks. The rear middle seat is a tight squeeze.

  • "Despite Mercedes-Benz's determination to call this a four-door coupe, it's just a sedan with a more steeply raked rear roofline. While it certainly makes the car look more aggressive, it eats into rear-seat headroom and door space, and just like in years past, things get a little tight in the back for taller passengers. The rear seat now accommodates a third person, but they'll need to be on the smaller side." -- CNET
  • "The seats have large bolsters for side support, but they also provide long hours of comfort, with adjusters on the door panels making on-the-fly adjustments easy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There's more rear legroom thanks to the longer wheelbase and thinner front seatbacks, though headroom is still tight, as the roofline probably suggests." -- AutoWeek

Interior Features

The CLS comes standard with the COMAND infotainment system that includes a 12.3-inch display screen and a touchpad controller that gives haptic and acoustic feedback. Available features include Thermotronic (GPS-linked) automatic climate control, Mercedes' In-Car-Office, Mercedes-Benz Link smartphone connectivity, wireless device charging, a Burmester audio system, and Car-to-X communication.

Standard driver assistance features include Mercedes' Pre-Safe, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, blind spot monitoring, and traffic sign recognition. Available active safety features include automatic high beams, active steering assist, active emergency stop assist, active speed assist, active lane change assist, active lane keep assist, active blind spot monitoring, evasive steering assist, rear cross traffic alert, a head-up display, Pre-Safe Impulse Side, Pre-Safe Sound, Pre-Safe 360, and Pre-Safe Plus. All Pre-Safe systems are designed to better protect occupants when the vehicle detects an impending collision.

Some users are disappointed that the infotainment system doesn't have a touch screen, but it's easy to control with the touchpad controller. The interface is intuitive and easy to decipher as well.

Beyond the infotainment system, the CLS offers a plethora of useful and cutting-edge technology. At the top of the list is Car-to-X communication, which allows all cars equipped with this technology to communicate with each other about hazardous on-road situations, allowing you to potentially avoid accidents and other dangers.

See 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS specs »

  • "The CLS features Mercedes' new 'Widescreen' cockpit, with a long expanse of rectangular glass covering two 12.3-inch displays – one for the navigation/audio system and the other for the gauges, reconfigurable as Sport, Classic, and Progressive. This upright display, and the small column-mounted electronic gearshift, seems a bit conservative for the swoopy CLS at first glance, but it's sleek, relatively simple and straightforward, and it works." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "When you aren't scowling at the untouchable screen, the Mercedes infotainment is fast, and it's easy to learn your way around the menus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but we got to immediately make use of the in-car navigation when we missed the very first turn to leave the city and took an impromptu tour of the hip neighborhoods around the Brooklyn Bridge. The car recalculated quickly and didn't try to send us down any one-way streets or alleys." -- Edmunds
  • "There isn't a single gee-whiz tech feature in this CLS that we haven't seen in another Mercedes, but the totality of such things is massive. This car offers nearly every trick Mercedes now provides, right up to the line-topping S-Class, covering the range of safety systems and driver aids you've probably read about elsewhere. This CLS can turn itself and stop itself in an emergency without driver intervention, and it will essentially drive itself once it's underway and pointed where its driver wants it to go." -- AutoWeek

Cargo

The CLS provides about 11 cubic feet of trunk space – one of the lowest totals in the class. Split-folding rear seats come standard, giving you some flexibility to haul larger items.

  • "The rear seatbacks fold forward, and by appearances, the trunk is more spacious than before. Might be fair to say that this CLS is a bit more practical." -- AutoWeek
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