Mercedes' smallest car receives a big update.
Although the reveal was partially spoiled by leaked images earlier in the day, Mercedes has now officially pulled the wraps off of the 2020 CLA. Like the A-Class on which it is based, the CLA is longer, wider, and lower than its predecessor, allowing for a more spacious sub-compact car. It also possesses the new MBUX infotainment system, which was first introduced on the A-Class.
When the original CLA came to the US in 2013, more than two-thirds of buyers came from competing brands. Mercedes hopes this new CLA will continue this trend when it arrives later this year.
The CLA's four-door-coupe styling reminds us of a smaller version of the new CLS. "As a four-door coupé, the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design and sets new standards in the design DNA of 'sensual purity'. It impresses with its perfect proportions reflecting the first design sketch: a long, stretched bonnet, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with exposed wheel arches and our typical GT rear end with a strong distinctive 'Coke-bottle shoulder'" Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG explained. "In short, the CLA Coupé has the potential to become a modern design icon."
On the interior, the CLA looks very much like the A-Class, which is great news. We are incredibly impressed with how Mercedes has managed to take the interior design from its larger models and pare it down to a lower price point without feeling cheap. As we mentioned, the centerpiece of the interior is the MBUX system, which features a touchscreen, touchpad on the center console, and a touchpad on the steering wheel.
The whole system is incredibly clever. For example, the touchscreen knows which occupant is about to touch it, so it can distinguish whether to activate the driver or passenger's seat massage function. Additionally, the CLA should be the only car in this segment to offer massaging seats, which is a bonus. MBUX also can also respond to complex voice commands, such as a request to hear the score of a football game.
As you would expect from a Mercedes, the CLA is a powerhouse of safety features, with technology borrowed from the S-Class. The CLA will be able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations using improved camera and radar systems. Some of the available safety systems include Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Pre-Safe Plus, and Multibeam LED headlights.
Under the hood, the CLA 250 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 225 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque going out through a seven-speed dual-clutch to 4MATIC all-wheel-drive. Mercedes also makes mention of various diesel engines and the option for a manual transmission, though we have to assume these will be for Europe only. Expect the CLA to arrive around May of 2019.
For the first model year, Mercedes will also offer a CLA Edition 1, which includes numerous accents on the interior and exterior. As you can see in the pictures, Mercedes has used plenty of orange, though other colors may also be available. We still do not have any details regarding the price or fuel economy.