The Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star is one of the most recognizable luxury badges in the world. The fact that acquiring one typically sets you back a hefty sum has been well established, but that's not necessarily the case with the 2018 CLA-Class. For about the same price as a non-luxury sedan, you can get a lot of Mercedes charm and quality. And for a lot of shoppers, that could be enough.
If it were the only sedan in its class, we'd be inclined to agree. But there are some similarly priced vehicles out there, and they don't have the same drivability, comfort and space issues that the CLA does. As a result, we suggest checking out those European rivals before signing on the dotted line.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan is offered in CLA250 (208 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque) and a higher-performance AMG CLA 45 (375 hp, 350 lb-ft) trims. Both models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The standard CLA250 is front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel drive (Mercedes' 4Matic) is available as an option. All-wheel drive is standard with the AMG CLA 45.
Standard feature highlights for the CLA250 models include 17-inch wheels, automatic wipers, selectable drive modes, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery (MB-Tex), eight-way power front sport seats with memory functions, and 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through.
On the technology front, you get an 8-inch infotainment screen, Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, forward collision warning and mitigation, a drowsy driver monitor, the Mbrace emergency telematics, and an audio system with
a CD player, HD radio, two SD card slots and two USB ports.
Upgrading to the AMG CLA 45 adds 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and running lights, unique styling and aerodynamic flourishes, a sport exhaust system, upgraded brakes and transmission, a torque-vectoring differential, a sport steering wheel and simulated suede upholstery inserts.
There are a few main option packages to look out for. These include the Premium package (keyless ignition and entry, a hands-free trunklid, blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats and satellite radio); the Convenience package (auto-dimming mirrors and a universal garage door opener); the Interior package (leather upholstery, upgraded dash and door trim, and interior ambient lighting); the Multimedia package (a navigation system, voice controls, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration); and the Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and intervention).
Many AMG-based styling elements are available on the CLA250. Other notable add-ons include an automated parking system, an adjustable suspension, a panoramic sunroof and a 12-speaker premium Harman Kardon audio system.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | FWD)
Since this test was conducted, the current CLA-Class has received some revisions, including a retuned-suspension, a minor interior and exterior styling update, extendable front-seat thigh supports and a new infotainment screen. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's CLA250, however.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.