After reading various car magazine reviews on the CLA250 4Matic, I was a little nervous about taking delivery of my Mountain Gray/Brown leather specially ordered vehicle. After almost two years I still love driving this car every day! The power is great especially in sports mode, but driving in the city, I don't need to gun it from stop light to stop light. Mileage on the road is close to 35mpg! Comfortable, safe and a blast to drive. I'll get another after this lease ends!
A lot of what you read out there is this car versus another car that is not in its class. You cannot fairly compare this car to, say, a BMW 320 or a Mercedes C300. This is a compact luxury coupe that happens to have 4 doors. It is not a closer to mid-sized sedan like the ones mentioned above. Keep that in mind when you read peoples reviews. The CLA250 is in a niche (test) market. The only real direct competitors at this time are the Acura ILX, BMW 228, and Audi A3. The BMW 228 is a 2 door, so that isn't exactly the same class. Nevertheless, these cars are aimed at people that want a lower price point luxury vehicle with great fuel economy and smaller dimensions. Lexus, Infiniti, etc., don't make a competitor vehicle. Maybe you could throw in maxed out Altima's, Camry's, and Accord's, but that would be a stretch to call those luxury vehicles.
Having said all that, the CLA 250 is a fantastic car in its class. The interior feels very premium at this price point. The console layout is great and feels like modern premium. Its well thought out and has all the right touches one would expect in a luxury vehicle. The BMW feels antiquated by comparison, while the Audi is just plain terrible. The Acura ILX actually has the next best console/cockpit layout and feel after the CLA250.
The front seating on all four cars are what one would expect in a compact luxury car. If you are much taller than average, you will feel cramped. For people of average height and lower, there is plenty of comfort and room to be had. None are the clear winner in this respect. You will just have to experience each of them and judge for yourself. In our opinion, the MB power seating controls, seat heating, and other minor nuances, are what place it at the top.
The rear seating on all four cars is cramped, even for a compact car. Again, there isn't a clear winner here. Taller adults will struggle to get comfortable back there. MB does give the back seating some nice touches, though, that are absent or just not as nice on others. Overall, MB gives the rear seating more of the premium treatment than others.
Performance is best on the BMW. It is the sportiest, quickest, turns the best, and so on. This may not be supported by test reports, but that is how it feels compared to the others. MB has the best ride, although, it is not great by any measure. Your best bet is the get the 17 inch wheels if comfort is on your mind, and then just deflate them a little bit to the mid-upper 30's. The 18 inch wheels do make it sportier and handle better, but you get more road feedback and slight deflation is not as effective.
The CLA 250 gets top marks in the economy battle outside of the Audi A3 Diesel (which is a $3000 option). Nothing much to say here. 26 city / 38 highway is just outstanding for a gas, non-hybrid car that also can do 0-60mph in about 6 or so seconds. "Pro" reviews seem to largely overlook the fact that the CLA250 is ground-breaking in this respect.
The MSRP price of the CLA250 was the second best after the Acura ILX when compared to similarly equipped vehicles. We found that MB was the most willing to negotiate savings off the MSRP (during the Summer), though, and also gave the most for our trade. Acura and BMW wouldn't budge below 4% under MSRP, and that was on their loaner cars. Audi wasn't willing to go more than 6% under MSRP. MB was offering 10% off MSRP without even trying on any in stock brand new car. MB offered us at least $1000 more for the trade, too. The overall deal was clearly the best amongst these four cars.
Overall, you just cant beat what Mercedes put together on the CLA250. It really comes down to preference, though. Some would rather sacrifice the premium for more sport. Some would rather sacrifice economy for more rear seat room. It really is in the eye of the beholder. For everything we valued, the CLA250 was the runaway winner, with no real close second. If we had to rank them, it would be MB CLA250 in front, followed by Acura ILX, BMW 228 and Audi A3. The Acura is perhaps the bang for your buck leader after the CLA250. If you can find the right dealer at the right time, you may be able to get a better deal on it versus the CLA250. BMW is the clear sport luxury leader, where the emphasis is on sport. The performance is outstanding for a vehicle in this class. Audi is dead last. It is not a very good vehicle at all. The console/cockpit is atrocious. That alone is enough to walk on by. The ride is bad, the economy is sub-par, and the list goes on. I would be happy to own the CLA250, ILX or 228, as they are all great vehicles in their own way. I would pass on the Audi A3.
Beautiful Styling, Great Safety Features, Moderate Performance
written on 02-01-2015
My wife and I have owned many cars. This is the best looking of the entire lot. We opted for just about every safety and appearance feature, and we got terrific safety, and head-turning style. The engine, however, is the standard 208 horse turbo four, and that's where things get less spectacular. Rated acceleration is good on paper, but you can feel the tiny powerplant revving hard to yield reasonably brisk results. Compared to a 350E that I drove recently, the CLA feels like an underpowered toy. No surprise given the price difference. Handling is good. The feel is "light", but nonetheless stable and precise. A tiny gas tank requires frequent refills.Mileage is fair--with Econ mode OFF.
A Brilliant Car! We love it, but not for everyone. . .
written on 06-06-2014
Upon my initial drive of CLA 250, the cabin was smaller and less traditional than any benz I had driven or rode in before, so much that the wife and I could not fall in complete love with it at first test drive. If you think of this as a sporty coupe, you will be fine.
Need a roomy sedan?
Proceeded to drive the A3, & BMW 320i. Truly liked each of these cars for different reasons, A3 was very fun to drive, lacked many standard comforts, VW ride
320i was a great, more solid traditional sedan, but short on innovation and a stingy w/ add ons.
More same old.
Drives great imo. The CLA resonated with us more after driving others in the price.
We bought the CLA.
We sold our beloved 2010 Toyota Camry SE V6 ( Awesome Car!) to purchase the CLA because of the design and what we thought was an upgrade and entry in to the luxury market. We received lots of compliments at stop lights and parking lots and such (felt good). Having owned the car for approximately 1.5 years, we started to get the not so good feeling of multiple trips to the dealer. It began with the rattles in the interior, the console, the driver side visor, airbag lights, electrical shortages etc. It was embarrassing to have my co-workers in the car with rattles coming from all parts of the interior. I would recommend purchasing the maintenance package, which we found to be a good value if you so decide to purchase this lawnmower of a car. The CLA is a poor performing car, sluggish acceleration and extremely noisy. Mercedes attempt to enter the Eco friendly engine world is less than refined in this farm tractor sounding engine. The CLA lacks character on the inside unless you upgrade to a higher package for a lot more money. Compared to less expensive compact brands ( Corolla, Honda Civic) the CLA's interior seems that it was made out of plastic milk jugs and lacks basic standard amenities such as back up camera. Why pay 30K to drive a Mercedes emblem? the annoyance with the car as well as the dealership experience became vile hate, where no one wanted to drive the car, instead opting to drive our other non luxury cars. Finally, we gave up and broke the lease took the 3K hit and leased a Lexus GS350 oh what a difference, even the ES 250 was a better driving car and you get luxury and finesse. In closing the CLA is a genuine junk and the Mercedes product manager who decided to enter this category, with this poor quality of a product should be taken out to pasture and put to sleep. Good riddance Mercedes CLA never again anything Mercedes.. Don't do it!