While the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is the premium brand's most affordable vehicle, it's just as suave, contemporary, and laden with luxury features as any high-end Mercedes. Powering the coupe-styled 4-door sedan is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine with outputs of 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This isn't all that much to play with, but it's enough to move the small sedan with a bit of gusto. The second-generation CLA-Class sedan acquired some much needed cosmetic alterations for a sharper and more avante-garde aesthetic this year. With its new contemporary design, exquisite interior and extensive list of creature comforts and conveniences, the 2021 CLA-Class is better than it has ever been and compares nicely alongside its competitors - the Audi A3 and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. Even in the lightweight bracket, competition is fierce, and the CLA isn't as quick as its rivals, even if it is more luxurious inside. For those who value style over substance, it's a winner, but does it have enough to win over the other side?
There have been some changes for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class but none of them are major. The list of updates is a subtle one, with new additions including blind-spot monitoring and 64-color ambient lighting as standard, while the MBUX Interior Assist is now a standalone option.
See trim levels and configurations:
Both the CLA 250 and 4MATIC are powered by a detuned version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine that's found in the AMG CLA 35. This one's been dialed to produce just 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Power is commanded by a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and is sent to either the front-wheel drivetrain or all-wheel drivetrain depending on the model. In terms of performance overall, the CLA isn't the most vigorous Mercedes out there. In fact, it's a little on the slow side. The lack of a better option is what holds it back from competing on equal ground with the Audi A3 and BMW 2 Series.
The 2021 CLA-Class sedan is a far better car than its first-generation predecessors, looks-wise and in terms of specifications. Yes, it's inline-4 engine isn't the most thrilling or dynamic offering from the German automaker, but it's all the compact sedan requires to get about pleasantly, and it's impressively frugal. While you won't be going around corners at any truly exciting speeds, the CLA does convey some handling prowess and stability, and it's wonderfully refined on the road, too - something anyone driving it will get to enjoy. Unfortunately, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have subjected the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class to review for an official safety rating, but with its latest enhancements and good selection of driver assists and safety systems, it's more than ready to take on the bustling US roads. There are many alternatives in the 2021 CLA's price range, in the premium and more mainstream classifications, but the CLA is still a very compelling choice by virtue of its premium Merc mien.
The price of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan comes in at $37,850 for the CLA 250 FWD variant and $39,850 for the CLA 4MATIC AWD variant. These are the only two options you get in the CLA line, so it really comes down to whether or not you need the all-weather traction. As for extras, we'd suggest going for the Exterior Lighting Package and the AMG Line w/Night Package for the upgraded LED lights and sporty cosmetic enhancements. The Premium Package is also a good addition for the 10.25-inch digital driver display and infotainment system touchscreen. The Parking Assistance Package is worth considering, too, just to preserve your new ride's value.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class: