in Upscale Small Cars

MSRP: $31,500 - $48,500
Invoice: $29,295 - $45,105
MPG: 26 City / 38 Hwy
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Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class ranks 12 out of 14 Upscale Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has sporty handling and a stylish interior, according to test drivers, but its small rear seat and rough ride keep them from considering it a top choice in the class.

The 2015 CLA250 has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that critics think has adequate power for most situations. Meanwhile, the CLA45 AMG’s more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine has tremendous acceleration, according to reviewers. Both the CLA250 and CLA45 AMG come with a seven-speed automatic transmission, which some auto writers say can feel clunky when driving in the city, but works well during spirited driving. Front-wheel drive is standard on the CLA250 and four-wheel drive is available on the CLA250 and standard on the CLA45 AMG. The 2015 CLA250 gets 26/38 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, which is excellent for the class. Automotive journalists report that the CLA250 is agile when cornering and that the CLA45 AMG has excellent grip when pushed through turns. Test drivers think the CLA-Class has precise steering but a very rigid ride over uneven pavement. They say the brakes in the CLA250 are strong, but that the CLA45’s brakes are too touchy.

Reviewers say the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has a stylish, quiet interior made with quality materials. They find the front seats comfortable, but think the rear seating area is cramped and not even a good fit for children. Cargo space is good for the class. The CLA-Class comes standard with Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, Mercedes’ mbrace 2 telematics and information system (subscription required), a knob-based infotainment system with a 7-inch display, forward collision warning and attention assist, which monitors signs of driver drowsiness and alerts you if it thinks you are falling asleep. Available features include a panoramic moonroof, blind spot monitoring, parallel park assist, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, a COMAND infotainment system with navigation and an 8-inch high-resolution screen, a Harman Kardon audio system, a DVD player and satellite radio. Some auto writers think the infotainment system has complicated menus and that the display looks odd placed very high up on the dashboard.

  • "The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class offers all the trimmings of a proper Benz for a relatively modest price. Although its driving character and compact cabin dimensions won't please everyone, shoppers interested in a small European entry-level luxury sedan will certainly want to take a look." -- Edmunds
  • "Starting at around $30,000 for the CLA250, it certainly hits the price point. But what's surprising is the style packed into this compact-luxury sedan. Taking its cues from the larger CLS-Class, the CLA's sweeping lines work well with its tidy dimensions, giving it an aggressiveness and road presence that's matched by how it drives, especially the CLA45 AMG model. It's a compelling car against the likes of the Cadillac ATS, Audi A3 and other small luxury sedans." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Overall, the CLA is disappointing. Yes, it has a lot of features and stature for the price. And the styling's nonpareil. But, no, it's not all the way there in refinement and premium persona, which largely are what make a luxury brand worthwhile." -- USA Today (2014)
  • “The CLA250 is a budget-priced Mercedes-Benz that is hardly budget-equipped. Featuring just the right amount of wrong in a car that an average Joe can afford, it is the perfect vehicle that will draw new customers to the brand as their older more established buyers age out." -- Left Lane News (2014)

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Other Cars to Consider

Test drivers think the BMW 3-Series has a smooth ride, as well as lively handling and acceleration. They like the 3-Series’ spacious rear seat, and think the iDrive infotainment system is easy to use.

The new Lexus RC is a sporty handler, according to reviewers, and they also like that the RC rides smoothly over uneven pavement. They praise the RC’s stylish interior and comfortable front seats.

Compare the CLA-Class, 3-Series and RC »

Details: 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class seats five and is available in two models: the front-wheel drive CLA250 (all-wheel drive is available) and the all-wheel drive CLA45 AMG 4MATIC. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed automated manual transmission come with the CLA250, while the CLA45 AMG has a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder AMG engine and a seven-speed automated manual transmission. The CLA-Class debuted as a new model for 2014 and sees few changes for 2015. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2014 and 2015 model years.

See 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class specs »

Review Last Updated: 1/30/15

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