Once upon a time, it started below $30k.
The second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA will arrive in showrooms in the coming weeks promising to be a better four-door coupe in every way over its already impressive predecessor. The first-gen CLA was a pretty big deal when it launched in 2014. Not only was it built on a front-wheel-drive platform, but it also carried a starting price of just under $30,000 ($29,900 to be precise). Mercedes wanted to bring in younger buyers who would remain with the luxury brand for years to come. Of course, once customers began tacking on the option packages, that sticker price quickly exceeded $30k.
Over the following years, the CLA's base price increased, as the 2019 model began at $34,095. However, its successor is getting a serious price jump. According to CarsDirect, the 2020 Mercedes CLA 250 will begin at $37,645, including the $995 destination fee.
This is $3,550 more than the outgoing 2019 CLA and a whopping $7,745 more than the 2014 CLA. So, what does the new CLA have that its predecessor lacked to justify the new pricing? For starters, it is larger inside and out. The exterior styling is in line with the automaker's latest design language, but it's the interior that's been improved the most.
Mercedes' new digital cockpit featuring optional dual 10.25-inch touchscreens with a voice-activated infotainment system is just one of many new advanced features intended to help move the new CLA even further upmarket. Adding more options, such as the Driver Assistance Package, jolts the CLA's price even higher, past $42,000. That's already well into C-Class territory.
However – and this is vital to know – the CLA is no longer Mercedes' entry-level model. That honor goes to the new for 2019 A-Class Sedan, which starts from $33,795 for 2020. Like the CLA, the A-Class gets expensive quickly with additional features. Even adding the 4Matic all-wheel drive system adds $2,000, for example. So there's no doubt the new CLA, at least on paper, is a better car than its predecessor, but given consumer demand for crossovers continues to rise, it'll be interesting to see whether or not the CLA will continue to attract enough buyers to justify its existence.