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Don't let the three-pointed star confuse you. Most mainstream sedans, let alone a typical Mercedes-Benz, deliver a better driving experience than the CLA. The engine and transmission lack refinement. At first the powertrain feels unresponsive, then the power comes on abruptly. Though the car is agile, the ride is punishingly stiff and the CLA is loud inside. Cabin access is difficult, and the well-appointed interior is cramped. The heavily promoted base price is something of a tease; buyers need to spend a lot on options to get the luxury features expected on a premium model. Prices can rise to the $50,000 range for an available 375-hp AMG CLA45 version that sounds more exciting on paper than it feels behind the wheel.

Road Test

You can feel the desire when Janis Joplin pleads, "Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a Mer-ce-des-BENZ?" But if the Mercedes had been the entry-level CLA four-door coupe, she might have reconsidered. The CLA looks like the real thing, with the proud...

Highs

  • Looks fantastic
  • The powerful lure of the three-pointed star

Lows

  • Lacks the handling, ride, and refinement expected from a Mercedes-Benz
  • Very cramped interior

Best Version to Get

The CLA's big draw is its low base price of $29,990, for which it comes reasonably equipped, including power front seats with memory, Bluetooth, forward-collision warning, and a folding rear seat. But don't expect to get out of the dealership for that little. For example, there's the $925...

Specifications

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty
  • Basic: 4 year/50,000 miles
  • Powertrain: 4 year/50,000 miles
  • Rust through: 4 year/50,000 miles
  • Roadside aid: 4 year/50,000 miles
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 7-speed Automatic
  • 7-speed Sequential
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (375 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (208 hp)

Ratings

Safety
Performance
Comfort / Convenience
View Full Test Results