2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 1
2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Central Console

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review

Hit a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan with a short burst from a shrink-ray, slap on some typical coupe cues along with a sleek sloping roofline, and change the driven wheels from rear to front, and bam, you have yourself a CLA-Class. The top-shots at Mercedes-Benz brought about the CLA-Class with a singular goal in mind; to attract an audience not on the verge of retirement. And, it successfully did just that thanks to its clear-cut sporty design and styling, its contemporary features, and most importantly, its relatively affordable price as the cheapest Mercedes-Benz available right now. Powering the front-wheel-drivetrain of the CLA 250 and the all-wheel-drivetrain of the CLA 250 4MATIC is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine with peak outputs of 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission services both models by default. The CLA may be a successful seller, but with its many significant faults, things might be tough against premium rivals like the venerable Audi A3 Sedan.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 9 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 CLA-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class enters 2019 having received no notable changes or upgrades, with a fully redesigned second-generation due for a 2020 debut.

Pros and Cons

  • Refined turbocharged engine
  • Nimble handling dynamics
  • Good fuel economy figures
  • Top-notch reliability rating
  • Unintuitive infotainment controls
  • Limited rear cabin passenger room
  • Firmer ride quality than rivals
  • Not as luxurious as rivals

What's the Price of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 FWD is available on the market with an MSRP of $33,100, while the CLA 250 4MATIC is $2,000 more with an MSRP of $35,100. That's excluding Mercedes-Benz's destination and delivery charge of $995 as well as any tax, registration, and licensing fees and any dealership incentives. German cars are known for their pricey options, so be careful which boxes you tick, or the price climbs quickly..

Best Deals on 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
CLA 250
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

The CLA 250, with its sporty suspension, drives firmer than most luxury sedans. Most road imperfections and undulations can be felt through the cabin and any road short of perfection will make itself known through the small body of the coupe. An adaptive suspension is available for both the FWD and AWD models, which does allow the driver to set the suspension softer, but the ride still isn't as plush as it should be.

The cabin is suitably isolated from most exterior noise as long as you stick with the standard 17-inch alloys, otherwise, the larger wheels amplify road noise considerably and impact ride quality. The CLA's compact dimensions along with its sporty suspension and sharp steering do, however, accord it with some handling prowess. It's appealingly nimble in the city streets and with more enthusiastic driving, takes on corners with aplomb, remaining easily controlled and firmly planted to the asphalt. However, even for a FWD based compact coupe, it exhibits a lot of understeer at the limit, breaking away quicker than it should.

Though the steering is sharp and accurately responsive, it doesn't effectively communicate levels of grip with the driver. The brakes provide adequate stopping power but are nothing special.

While most Mercedes stand head and shoulders above rivals when it comes to ride comfort, the CLA seems crashy and underdeveloped, while dynamically it can't hold a candle to offerings from BMW and Audi.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class A Good car?

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a great car for anyone who wants a compact, modern, and economical four-door with a coupe aesthetic. However, it is no ordinary compact sedan, competing in the luxury segment it fails to live up to the premium standards expected of its ride quality, and while its interior may look Mercedes, the build quality and materials together elicit a cheap impression. Some indication of its level of crash-test safety would benefit buyer confidence seeing that the CLA is aimed at a younger audience. It is also rather short on active safety and advanced driver-assist features at the standard level and has only a limited selection of optional additions. The CLA's infotainment system is outdated, and the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality on the standard features list is a glaring omission. We'd recommend waiting until the release of the fully redesigned 2020 CLA for the new and more advanced MBUX infotainment system, as well as a new vehicle architecture that should go some way towards remedying the problems with the current CLA.

What Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Model Should I Buy?

The decision between which model to opt for really comes down to a single and easy to answer question: do you require the all-weather capabilities of the CLA 250 4MATIC, or not? Either way, both models are identical in every other regard. So along with whichever model you pick, we also recommend ticking a couple of options boxes, especially the Premium Package for the blind spot assist, hands-free access trunk opener, and heated front seats. We also suggest the Smartphone Integration Package for the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, as well as the Driver Assistance Package for the active distance assist, and lane-keeping assist. Avoid the larger wheels, as they compromise ride comfort oo much for the sake of style.

Check out other Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Styles

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Comparisons

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Mercedes-Benz
Audi A3 Sedan Audi

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class vs Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan

For marginally better power, acceleration, and in-cabin passenger room, the base Mercedes-Benz C300 Sedan asks only $8,300 more than the CLA 250. With peak outputs of 255 hp and 273 lb-ft, the C300 is faster than the CLA, accelerating from 0-60 mph in a full second faster. It is, however, marginally less economical than the CLA. Surprisingly, the larger C300 offers slightly less trunk capacity at 12.6 cubic feet, however, with a larger wheelbase the C300 has more in-cabin passenger room and a traditional roofline that doesn't impede on headroom. In-car connectivity is better with the C300, too, as it comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard, while these are only optional on the CLA. Actually having been evaluated for crash-test safety, the C300 was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS and received top-notch safety ratings from the NHTSA. Though in a higher pricing bracket than the CLA, the C300 is more of a premium sedan, boasting more features, more space, and more comfort. The C300 is well-worth the premium pricing; as a luxury vehicle, it just delivers more than the CLA in just about every aspect.

See Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Review

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class vs Audi A3 Sedan

While the base level trim option of the 2019 Audi A3 is available for $2,000 more than the base CLA 250, those looking for a sportier drive will want to consider the Audi A3 Prestige. Equipped with the 45 TFSI 2.0-liter inline-four turbo engine the A3 offers far more performance, and to put it plainly, a far more enjoyable ride. The A3's sportiness is positively augmented by its handling dynamics as well, and Audi's superior craftsmanship of AWD systems shines through when the A3 is thrown around at its limit. Not only will the A3 leave the CLA for dead at the starting line, but it'll tackle every corner with more grace and poise, while remaining more comfortable throughout. The interior of the A3 further shames the CLA with its more premium feel, futuristic design, and its greater tech, with the optional virtual cockpit simply leagues beyond anything the CLA offers. The Audi A3 sticks to its guns as a compact luxury sedan with no desire for sleek coupe looks, benefitting interior volumes and giving buyers something more traditional. But it performs better, rides better, and feels better, too making it the better vehicle in all aspects bar trunk volume.

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