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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 AWD: The Luxury Brand’s Only Front Wheel Drive Car

Highlight: In 2013, when the CLA was launched, it became the brand’s first compact.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $57,665 (Base MSRP: $37,645)

Seating Capacity: 5-passenger

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a rearview camera; a crosswind assist system; an electronic stability control system;  a hillstart assist system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and rain sensing windshield wiper

Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; a 7-speed automatic transmission; front wheel drive; a panorama roof; power front seats with a three- position memory; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; leather-like seats; rear seat center armrest with cupholders; sport seats with integrated headrests; new generation touchpad; split folding rear seats; heated power side mirrors; and a 7-inch infotainment screen


Options: black leather seats; a multifunction leather steering wheel; a keyless entry system; a-inch wheels; heated and ventilated front seats; suspension with adaptive damping system; SiriusXM; a wireless charging system; a driver’s assistance package: active steering, an electronic blindspot system, an active lane change assist system, an active speed limit assist system, an active emergency assist system, an evasive steering assist system, a restart stop-and-go traffic system; active parking assist; a 360-degree camera; active LED headlamps; adaptive highbeams; a navigation system; a speed limit assist system; an energizing package; a Burmester surround sound system; a 64-color interior ambient lighting; high gloss black elements; grille trim; mirror covers window trim; AMG body styling; perforated front discs; a 10-inch digital instrument cluster; a 10-inch infotainment system; an automatic dimming rearview mirror; and folding side mirrors

Other Trim Levels:

CLA250 4Matic AWD

AMG CLA 35 AWD

AMG CLA 45

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: AM/FM/HD

Android/Apple CarPlay: Standard

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged /221-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 23-city/33-hwy

What’s New: The second-generation CLA has been reworked inside and out.


Why: The is the luxury brand’s only compact sedan, which has a starting price under $40,000. The second-generation sedan, with its coupe-like appearance, is longer and wider for the 2020 model year. Thus, this translates to more interior room for its occupants. Also the appearance and ride of the vehicle is altered too, as a result of the additional width and length.

The all-new stylish CLA is available in a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. In the Mercedes-Benz world, 4Matic is the term the German automaker uses as a synonym for all-wheel drive. In fact, in a world of rear-wheel drive vehicles, the CLA is the only car in the brand’s portfolio that is outfitted with a front wheel drive system.

Moreover, the vehicle is powered by a variety of powertrains: a new 220-hp, a 302-hp and a 382-hp engine. The engineering team used a 4-cylinder turbo engine for each of these powertrains in its AMG packages.

The vehicle, which is available with 18-inch or 19-inch wheels, can also be optioned out with the brand’s adaptive dampening system, which allows the driver to switch back and forth between comfort and sports, which can change the driving experience.


Furthermore, the CLA offers the same voice recognition system that has penetrated the brand’s line up. The MBUX system is capable of answering everything from sports scores to locating child friendly restaurants. The system is also able to recognize in a limited form some hand gestures.

And for the first time, Mercedes-Benz has added a number of features to the CLA to transition the vehicle towards being closer to a self-driving vehicle. Those high-tech features range from an optional active distance assistance distronic to an active emergency stop assist system to an active lane change assist system to an active keep lane assist system.

But: When adding on options, the vehicle can become pricey. We recommend holding off on adding options.

Moreover, we found the vehicle to be extremely underpowered for a price tag approaching $58,000. Despite the addition of the AMG styling and the vibrant Sun Yellow exterior color, the CLA250 4Matic only spewed out 221-horsepower. That’s a lot of money for such an underpowered vehicle.

Added to that, depending on trim, one might find that the ride and handling capabilities to be quite firm.

On the other hand, there is a CLA35 sedan available that produces 301-horsepower. However, pricing for that vehicle starts out near $48,000.


Verdict: For buyers looking for a luxury German sedan that prices out under $40,000, the CLA fits the niche. 

However, we advise buyers to proceed with caution, when adding options. It doesn't take long to push the pricing into the range of a number of its non German luxury makes ... that offers more features and horsepower, but costs substantially less.

Competition: Acura ILX; Audi A3; BMW 2-Series; Jaguar XE; and Lexus IS

1 comment:

Auto For Trade said...

Mercedes-Benz targeted first-time luxury buyers with the original CLA-Class, introduced for 2014 as a cool new coupe-styled entry point to the brand. The 2020 model represents a second-gen CLA, having ceded its title of most affordable Mercedes to the A-Class and elevating its base price in the process

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