2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review
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Used CLA-Class for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Luxury-car status for a relatively low price
- commendable power and handling
- premium interior materials
- fiery performance from AMG model.
- Cramped rear seat
- stiff ride quality on CLA 45 and CLA250 with optional sport suspension
- dual-clutch transmission is hesitant at slow speeds.
Just a year after its introduction, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class gets some significant changes. Last year's standard sport suspension has been replaced by a softer comfort suspension on the CLA250 (the sport suspension is now optional). In addition, dual-zone automatic climate control and a keyless ignition are now standard, while full keyless access to your CLA is available as an option. Also, a larger 7-inch center display screen is now standard, and an 8-inch screen is optional. Finally, the standard frontal collision warning system has been upgraded to provide earlier brake support in potential collision situations.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class offers all the trimmings of a proper Benz for a relatively modest price. Although its driving character and compact cabin dimensions won't please everyone, shoppers interested in a small European entry-level luxury sedan will certainly want to take a look.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA 250 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $4.00 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
CLA-Class CLA 250
Avg. Midsize Car
An entry-level luxury sedan promising the allure of Mercedes-Benz ownership at prices more attainable to the masses, the CLA-Class was introduced with great fanfare. A memorable Super Bowl commercial featured a man ready to sell his soul to the devil for a Mercedes until he realized the CLA250 was so inexpensive he wouldn't need to negotiate with Lucifer. Just a scant year later, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 gets a small price bump. It no longer sneaks in below $30,000, but it comes with some additional standard equipment to help offset that. More importantly, it's still significantly less expensive than the Mercedes C-Class, so even though it makes some compromises here and there, it's worth a look if you're shopping for an entry-level luxury car.
Although it's Mercedes-Benz's least expensive model, the Edmunds "B"-rated CLA-Class feels like an authentic luxury sedan. In our yearlong test of a CLA250 we found the front seats quite comfortable for road trips and daily commuting alike. Moreover, most of the interior surfaces you come in contact with are high-quality, and the build quality is outstanding. The COMAND electronics interface is easy to use, and functionally, it's one of our favorites on the market. Additional standard equipment for 2015 includes keyless ignition, dual-zone climate control and a 7-inch infotainment screen (a new 8-inch screen is optional). All these upgrades also apply to the CLA 45 AMG (which also earns an Edmunds "B" rating), which offers 355 horsepower, standard all-wheel drive and stunning straight-line performance.
While the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class may be a likable car, it's harder to argue that it's the most practical buy in the segment. Due to the car's compact size and dramatically sloping roof line, headroom and legroom are extremely tight in the rear seat. An overly stiff ride was another issue we had with last year's car. Mercedes has switched to a more comfortable setup on the 2015 CLA250 (the previous sport suspension is now optional), aiming for a smoother ride over less than perfect pavement. We haven't yet tested a 2015 Mercedes CLA250 with this revised suspension, and we'll update this review once we have. And although the CLA has an attractively low base MSRP, prices can quickly inflate with just a few basic options, and items you might expect to be standard (like a rearview camera and heated seats) are optional. Meanwhile, the CLA 45 AMG isn't exactly a bargain, with a starting price perilously close to $50,000.
Within the entry-level luxury sedan class, the CLA's toughest competition comes from the 2015 Audi A3, which won a comparison test thanks to its quieter, more refined ride and roomier cabin. The Audi may cost marginally more, but we think it's worth it. Another car to consider is the 2015 Acura ILX, which has a larger backseat and a lower starting price than the CLA. Rivals to the CLA 45 AMG include the Audi S3, which we find more practical and luxurious, and the BMW M235i, which is the best-handling car of the three but less useful since it only has two doors. Depending on your priorities, some or all of these rivals may be more appealing, but overall, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a stylish choice that will satisfy most drivers.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 208 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated manual transmission (with shift paddles) routes power to the front wheels on the standard CLA250, while the CLA250 4Matic model is all-wheel drive. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive CLA250 is 30 mpg combined (26 city/38 highway), while the all-wheel-drive 4Matic checks in at 27 mpg combined (24/32). In Edmunds testing, a CLA250 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a brisk 6.4 seconds.
The CLA 45 AMG gets a more powerful version of this 2.0-liter engine that features a twin-scroll turbocharger and fortified internal components. The result is an amazing 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. A quicker-shifting version of the seven-speed transmission is standard, as is all-wheel drive. Launch control is also included. EPA estimated fuel economy stands at 26 mpg combined (23/31). At the Edmunds test track, the CLA 45 AMG accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a scant 4.7 seconds, making it one of the quickest compact sedans available.
Both the CLA250 and CLA 45 AMG feature an automatic stop-start function that, if engaged, turns off the engine when the car stops to save fuel.
Standard safety equipment on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class includes stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, front seat side thorax airbags, front seat side pelvic airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear seat side airbags are optional. The CLA 45 AMG has a three-mode stability control system that allows drivers to tailor the level of intervention.
During Edmunds track testing, the CLA250 came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, while the CLA 45 needed just 111 feet, both about average for their respective segments.
Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 emergency telematics is standard, as are systems like Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which uses radar to identify potential frontal collision situations and intervenes with braking as necessary, and Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness and inattention. On cars with optional adaptive cruise control, Collision Prevention Assist Plus gives way to Distronic Plus, which is able to intervene with the brakes at higher speeds to help avoid frontal collisions. Other safety options include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system and a lane keeping assist system.
Most consumers will find the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 quite agreeable to drive on their daily commutes. Even if you've owned rear-wheel-drive Mercedes sedans in the past, you'll be hard-pressed to tell that the CLA250 is front-wheel drive, as it accelerates and steers with the precision of more elite Benz models. We like its athletic character, quick-shifting automated manual transmission, driver-adjustable shift patterns and the manual shift mode accessed by its steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
There are other aspects to the CLA, however, that serve as unfortunate reminders that you're driving an entry-level Mercedes-Benz. Some drivers might be put off by the workaday sounds of the base CLA's four-cylinder engine and the slow responses of the transmission when shifting in and out of Drive and Reverse. The optional Sport Package Plus adds a sport-tuned suspension that improves handling, but it also results in an overly stiff ride quality. Mercedes has made a softer-tuned, comfort-oriented suspension standard this year on the CLA250. It's likely to improve ride quality a bit, but we've yet to test the CLA with this new setup. We'll update this review once we have.
Meanwhile, the 355-hp CLA 45 AMG promises plenty of entertainment. In addition to its sizzling acceleration, the CLA 45 has plenty of personality. Select Sport mode and you'll hear crackles and pops from the exhaust during both up- and downshifts. Around turns, the CLA 45 offers tenacious grip and guided-missile determination. But the cost of this handling prowess is an even firmer ride quality that might be too much even for drivers who want an authentic sport-sedan experience. Also, the CLA 45's performance-oriented brakes are very sensitive and grab with the slightest touch of the pedal, while the transmission's shift quality can be overly aggressive for daily driving.
Although this is the bargain Benz, for the most part the CLA's interior looks and feels like a traditional Mercedes. Big analog gauges, a clean center stack design and tight fit and finish impart the classic, premium ambience shared across the Mercedes-Benz lineup.
One of the interior's weak spots is the display screen for the COMAND electronics interface, which looks like an aftermarket addition as it's perched high on the dash. On the upside, the standard screen is larger this year (it's now 7 inches versus 5.8 in 2014) and easy to read. It also takes some time to get used to selecting gears with a column-mounted stalk rather than a traditional console shifter. Various trim options, including walnut, ash, aluminum and carbon fiber (CLA 45 only) allow you to create a cabin aesthetic that's either cool and modern, or classic and refined.
While the front seats are quite comfortable on longer drives, the CLA's rear quarters aren't nearly as accommodating. The seats themselves are well-shaped and supportive, but the sloping roof line that gives the CLA its distinctive profile also translates to tight headroom for 6-footers, and the legroom situation isn't much better. The CLA is also ill-equipped for small children. The rear seat's non-removable headrests can make forward-facing car seat fitment tricky, and those small rear doors make it tough to get little ones in and out. Surprisingly, though, the CLA has a significant amount of trunk space for the class with 13.1 cubic feet, while the Audi A3 checks in at 12.3 cubic feet.
2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class models
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is available in three trim levels: CLA250, CLA250 4Matic and CLA 45 AMG.
The CLA250 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, keyless ignition, eight-way power driver seats, driver memory settings, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, ambient interior lighting and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. Electronics features include a 7-inch central display, the COMAND interface, mbrace2 telematics/smartphone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, USB and auxiliary audio jacks, and a CD player.
The CLA250 4Matic has the same standard equipment but has all-wheel drive. The CLA 45 AMG is also equipped similarly. It has all-wheel drive as standard along with a more powerful engine, a sport exhaust, 18-inch wheels, larger brakes, firmer suspension tuning and some aluminum interior trim.
All CLAs are eligible for the optional Premium package, which provides keyless access (Keyless Go in Mercedes-Benz parlance), auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with satellite radio. The Multimedia package adds to the Premium package with a larger 8-inch central infotainment screen with Mercedes' COMAND interface, a rearview camera and a navigation system with voice commands. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring systems.
The Sport package for the CLA250 adds 18-inch wheels, a more aggressive-looking front fascia and grille, and drilled front brake rotors with painted calipers. The Sport Package Plus gets sport-tuned suspension, aerodynamic bodywork, wider high-performance tires, a sport exhaust, aluminum pedals and upgraded seat upholstery. Among the stand-alone options for both models you'll find bi-xenon headlamps, LED taillights, a rear spoiler, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated seats, wood interior trim, the rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and an automated parking system. Exclusive options for the CLA 45 include 19-inch wheels, interior and exterior carbon-fiber trim, sport seats, an AMG steering wheel and red-painted brake calipers.
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Much more fun than expected...
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA250 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
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!
5 out of 5 stars
Best Compact Luxary Car in its Class.
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA250 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
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.
5 out of 5 stars
A Brilliant Car! We love it, but not for everyone. . .
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA250 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
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? Look elsewhere. 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. Very pleased!
2 out of 5 stars
Worst Mecedes - Kept for less than a year
2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA 250 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
This is not going to try to explain that the least expensive Mercedes Benz is comparable to better cars I've owned. I think the reasons why you'd pick this car over it's competition (A3, 228i) are mostly a matter of personal taste and priorities. In this case, attractive lines and styling and a terrific stereo. Their Premium package adds a lot of the must-have features in my opinion, … so that's probably something to consider. Driving the car is a disappointment- the transmission shifts are rough, seat comfort is poor, and it picks up a lot of road noise. This is a car for someone that does not enjoy driving as much as how they look driving. Back seats are useless, no coat hook, no headroom and no legroom. Fit and finish are not up to par - you know you are in a cheap car after diving it around for a while. The hope perhaps is that you would be so distracted with the odd and obnoxiously large info-screen that seems to be a design afterthought, and admittedly a great stereo. If I were 19, this is a good car. Can you get a loaded VW TDI or Mustang for the less money? Yes of course. Is a 228 or an A3 more fun to drive - yes.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, so we've included reviews for other years of the CLA-Class since its last redesign.
2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Sedan Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 26 City / 38 Hwy / 30 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.1 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 7-speed automated manual
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 208 hp @ 5500 rpm
- Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 4 yr./ 50000 mi.
- Length: 182.3 in. / Height: 56.6 in.
- Overall Width with Mirrors: 80.0 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 70.0 in.
- Curb Weight: 3274 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 13.1 cu.ft.
More about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Overview
The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is offered in the following submodels: CLA-Class Sedan, CLA-Class CLA 45 AMG. Available styles include CLA 250 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), CLA 250 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), and CLA 45 AMG 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM). Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 355 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed automated manual. The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?
Price comparisons for Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class trim styles:
- The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA 250 is priced between $21,990 and$28,590 with odometer readings between 12253 and72249 miles.
- The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA 250 4MATIC is priced between $15,200 and$27,590 with odometer readings between 13816 and121665 miles.
- The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA 45 AMG is priced between $27,900 and$27,900 with odometer readings between 73103 and73103 miles.
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Which used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Classes are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class for sale near. There are currently 31 used and CPO 2015 CLA-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $15,200 and mileage as low as 12253 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.