Mercedes-Benz markets the CLA-Class lineup as a coupe due to its coupe-like styling, but this entry-level vehicle has four doors and slots below the rest of the automaker’s sedan lineup that includes the C-Class, E-Class, CLS-Class, and S-Class sedans. The CLA is the most affordable vehicle in the Mercedes’ portfolio and was refreshed for the 2021 model year.
The CLA-Class consists of three models including the CLA250, CLA250 4Matic, and the range-topping AMG CLA45 (standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive) that comes powered by a very potent 2.0-liter turbo-four that generates 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and still manages to deliver a respectable 24/37 mpg city/highway. The entry-level CLA250 and CLA250 4Matic both also pack a 2.0-liter turbo-four but tuned to produce a more efficient 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and come with an EPA rating of 24/37 mpg and 24/32 mpg for the 4Matic. Both engines are backed by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The CLA-Class’ standard equipment includes a rearview camera, Active Brake Assist, 8.0-inch center display, adaptive braking technology, Dynamic Select driving modes, dual-zone climate control and 17-inch wheels. Available equipment includes Parking Pilot (self-parking system), a panorama roof, LED headlights and taillights (standard on AMG), a Harman Kardon premium audio system, smartphone integrations with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 12-color ambient lighting, heated front seats, and the AMG Aerodynamics package (standard on the AMG). The AMG Dynamic Plus package is exclusive to the CLA45 and consists of a front limited-slip differential, AMG Ride Control with adaptive damping, Race mode, and a 167-mph track top speed.
The CLA-Class has not been crash tested but the IIHS gave the sedan the second highest rating of Advanced for front crash prevention because the standard Collision Prevention Plus automatic braking feature was able to reduce a 12 mph collision by 7 mph and a 25 mph collision by 22 mph. However, with the Driver Assist package that includes Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control and Lane Keep Assist, the highest rating of Superior was issued because the system was able to completely avoid a 12 mph and 25 mph collision and properly warned the driver. Attention Assist, a drowsy driver alert, is standard.