Most mainstream sedans deliver a better driving experience than the CLA, let alone a typical Mercedes. The engine and transmission lack refinement. At times the powertrain feels unresponsive, and while the car is agile, the ride is punishingly stiff. Cabin access is difficult, and the well-appointed interior is noisy and 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 from behind the wheel.