Boots – on my feet, yes. On my cars… preferably not. I’ve never really been a sedan guy, unless there was an AMG, M or RS badge slapped on its behind – and even then, given the option, I’d probably take the Estate, Touring or Avant versions over the four-doors.
A sedan seemed like it represented my father’s generation – no offence, dad (I did like that Granada; the Cressida not so much) – which meant, as a youngster, I owned a series of hatchbacks. When I became a parent, that morphed into a station wagon (with every safety device known to man, naturally) and these days it’s an SUV that best suits the requirements of my family/active lifestyle. They’ve all been cars with a rear hatch as opposed to a bootlid.
Recently, however, things have begun to change. Sedans have started making blips on my radar and, frankly, I’ve been puzzled by this development. Time spent in a Mercedes-Benz CLA and, more recently, an Audi A3 Sedan, have begun to erode my convictions. For the first time, I can picture myself living with that other kind of boot. Having mulled over the problem for a few weeks, I think I know why I’m starting to get it.
Firstly, it’s an aesthetic issue. What I really like about both the Benz and the Audi is that they look nothing like their bigger saloon siblings. The A3, for example, has been freed up from Audi’s Cookie Cutter School of Design that stamped out the A4, A6 and A8 and, as a result, I reckon it’s easily the best looking four-door in its line-up.
And, secondly, both manufacturers have the size spot on. The CLA and A3 sedan are proportionately wide and low to the ground, with dimensions that hark back to the size of compact-executive sedans from two decades ago. As a result, they add sportiness to the perceived conservatism of their brands.
We test both in this issue – our cover car, the Audi A3 Sedan 1,8T FSI S tronic (page 64), as well as the AMG version of the CLA (page 66). Let us know what you think.