Mercedes-Benz CLA wins the Compact Car Autovista Group Residual Value Award 2023

21 June 2023


The Compact Car Autovista Group Residual Value Award 2023 goes to the Mercedes-Benz CLA. Considering all powertrains within the C-segment and excluding SUVs, this competitive category was led by German brands.

Expert examination of Autovista Group data from 17 different European markets has revealed value retention champions in eight vehicle categories. The residual value (RV) awards will be of particular interest to key automotive players such as carmakers, leasing companies and fleet managers.

Bread-and-butter segment

Dr Christof Engelskirchen, chief economist at Autovista Group, explained that the compact segment used to be the ‘bread-and-butter segment.’ It offered a combination of good sizes, attractive prices and an abundance of choice.

‘Then SUVs came along and flooded the market. This is why the larger body types have been separated into unique categories for the Autovista Group Residual Value Awards. It allows the SUV contenders to compete fiercely amongst themselves for the title of RV champion,’ Engelskirchen said.

However, for those looking away from SUVs and towards high efficiency and good prices, the compact segment can still offer an overwhelming amount of choice. Additionally, there are more than just hatchbacks on offer.

A total of 35 models made it into the top-five rankings in at least one of the 17 countries examined by Autovista Group experts. For example, the Cupra Born competed with the Toyota Corolla and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class with the MG4. But these cars did not make it to the overall European top-five ranking.

The pan-European results saw Mercedes-Benz take the top two spots with the CLA in first and the A-Class in second. Then came the BMW 2-Series in third, followed by the Volkswagen (VW) Golf in fourth. The BMW 2-Series Active Tourer followed up in fifth.

Extraordinary and elegant design

Christian Schneider, project lead, unpacked how Autovista Group experts identified the European RV champions. Used-car market data from February to April 2023 was explored alongside forecast trade RVs of 36-month-old cars at 60,000km.

By excluding models with exceptionally high or low horsepower and price points, the awards remained focused on the automotive mainstream. Autovista Group analysts went on to find the version of each vehicle with the highest RV, expressed as a percentage of retained list price (%RV). Then, models were indexed by dividing their %RV by the average %RV in that category, across each available market.

Vehicles were crowned based on a category’s average indexed %RV. This was weighted against each country’s new-car sale volumes so that extraordinary results from high-volume markets were represented in the final figures.

With the category’s average indexed %RV represented as 100%, the Mercedes-Benz CLA excelled in the UK, Spain and France, hitting 132%, 126% and 125% respectively. Italy, Sweden and Romania were not far behind, with the CLA reaching an indexed %RV of 115% in each of these markets.

‘The winner is the CLA from Mercedes-Benz, stretching the limits of this segment. It is larger than its predecessor and a beautiful coupé,’ said Engelskirchen.

In terms of measurements, the CLA is 3cm longer than the Cupra León, but even accounting for its mirrors it only measures 1.99m in width, making it 6cm narrower than the Peugeot 308 SW.

‘The CLA is the opposite of pragmatic,’ Engelskirchen added, ‘the extraordinary and elegant design is the vehicle’s unique selling point and propels it to the top of the pack.’

A beautiful coupé

A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson told Autovista24 that the CLA is a real trendsetter in the compact segment. ‘The uncompromising design of the CLA makes it unmistakable in its class,’ they said.

The carmaker is looking to strengthen the market position of the CLA Coupé and CLA Shooting Brake with facelifts, introducing numerous innovations and upgraded standard equipment.

At its front end, the CLA features a newly-shaped apron and a revised grill studded with stars. Updated LED graphics in the headlamps and rear lights also keep the car modern. Two fresh paint colours, hyper blue and spectral blue, are on offer too, as well as new wheel designs.

The interior borrows finishing touches from the S-Class, elevating the steering wheel with touchpads and an all-digital cockpit display. The latest generation of the MBUX infotainment system is fitted as standard, learning over time and adapting to the needs of the user. Additionally, new upholstery options feature 100% recycled materials.

The CLA’s petrol powertrains are electrified as mild hybrids and equipped with an additional 48-volt on-board power supply, supporting start-up agility. However, for those looking away from internal-combustion engines (ICEs), the Mercedes-Benz model will soon be supported by a new electric platform in the near future.

Autovista24 will reveal five more RV champions up until 29 June, with categories ranging from Compact SUVs to Large Cars. Each exclusive article will contain unique industry insights and data-driven details. To get the latest updates on the Autovista Group Residual Value Awards 2023, subscribe to the Autovista24 daily email and follow the Autovista24 page on LinkedIn.