2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review


Pros & Cons

  • Generous list of standard features
  • Potent performance from the AMG CLA 45
  • Athletic handling instills confidence
  • Luxury badging without the premium price
  • Engine and transmission are slow to respond at low speeds
  • Ride can be rather stiff
  • Rear seats are confining
  • Some interior elements aren't up to luxury car standards
Other years
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class for Sale
List Price Range
$19,966 - $46,995

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Which CLA-Class does Edmunds recommend?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 delivers more performance than the typical driver expects, leaving the AMG CLA 45 for the select few who desire much more. The standard features list is already lengthy, but we'd suggest adding the Premium package for some luxurious creature comforts as well as the Multimedia package for the navigation and smartphone integration.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

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.

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class models

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.

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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.

Trim tested

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.


With its strong four-cylinder and quick-shifting transmission, the CLA250 offers enough performance to impress owners of the larger C-Class. Unfortunately, that same transmission can be quirky in normal driving.


With its 208-hp four-cylinder and a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic, the CLA250 gets up to speed effortlessly, especially from 20 mph on. In our testing, the CLA accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a respectably quick 6.4 seconds.


Even in heavy traffic, the CLA's brakes are linear and easy to modulate. We recorded a panic-stop distance of 121 feet from 60 mph, which is an average distance for this class of car.


The CLA250's steering is nicely weighted; it's neither too heavy nor too light. Turn-in is sharp, and there's enough articulation for easy parking. The steering, however, doesn't give you much feel for the road.


The CLA250 has enough poise and control to feel stable on a twisty road or highway off-ramp curve.


The CLA's transmission can be slow to react to your commands, like when making a three-point turn. It also allows rollback, and at times its operation makes it feel like the engine is over-revving.


The CLA250 falls in between the expectations of a sport sedan and a luxury car. This may be the least expensive Mercedes, but it sure doesn't feel entry-level in terms of its suspension capabilities or the cabin's noise suppression.

Seat comfort

The CLA's seats offer nice bolstering, but they have a short cushion that lacks thigh support. Mercedes' MB-Tex faux leather feels exceptional and durable but lacks ventilation. Prepare to feel sticky.

Ride comfort

A mixed bag here. The CLA250 (before the suspension retune) handles potholes and breaks in the pavement with zero drama, but gets jostled by seams in the highway and pulled around by grooved pavement.

Noise & vibration

In true Mercedes fashion, the CLA250 is quiet at all speeds and does an admirable job blocking out the ambient sounds you'll find on the road.


A traditional Mercedes-Benz interior design in that it isn't flashy, but it surprises with its ease of use. Limited rear-seat access and space, plus lackluster visibility, hurt the CLA's score in this category.

Ease of use

The CLA's interior is deceptively simple and remarkably easy to use, with a large infotainment screen, clear gauges and an easy knob- and button-based climate control. The gear-selector stalk is love-it-or-hate-it.

Getting in/getting out

Front-seat access is a nonissue with wide door openings and a reasonably high seat. Rear-seat access is hugely problematic. Because of the sloping roof, there just isn't enough head clearance.


The CLA's interior feels tight. Not unpleasant, but cozy. The rear seats have good legroom but severely lack headroom.


The rearview camera is a near-necessity due to the CLA's poor rear visibility. You can thank that sloping roofline. Driving this car definitely requires proper mirror adjustment.


Meticulous types will be able to find some bits on the CLA that wouldn't make it to the C-Class. But most everything you touch — from steering wheel to stalks, switches, the COMAND controller and the seats — feels like a Mercedes.


Smart interior packaging allows for more storage options than in some rival sedans. The trunk is well shaped with a large opening and benefits from added rear-seat convenience items for larger objects.

Small-item storage

With the shifter relocated to the steering column, the center console is freed up to house more bins and cupholders. There's plenty of them to hold all of your personal effects.

Cargo space

The trunk is decently proportioned, with a large opening and shrouded hinges. Total capacity is 13.1 cubic feet. The standard split and folding rear seats and a center pass-through will help when things get tight.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Almost great!
CLA 250 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
There are few things to dislike about this car. It’s easiest to say what I don’t like since the list is shorter. I hate the way it shifts. Sloppy. Visibility to the rear is challenging. Rear seat comfort is nil. Trunk lid when open will cause a few headaches if not careful. Carpeting is pretty low class. Plastic I could do without. Everything else may cause you to notice but not mind what you don’t like
Just another sedan
Owned multi,06/08/2020
CLA 250 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
Disappointed in performance beyond the test drive. Skates in the rain, very uncomfortable interior for men over 5’9”, not worth the increased maintenance cost, high $ damage in the slightest bump Unlike older models (think parking garage), etc. Will look for another make when affordable to trade.
Very fun to drive
Troy Nguyen,04/06/2020
AMG CLA 45 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
You’ll find out when you get one 😉
Great Car
CLA 250 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
A beautiful and smart vehicle. I love it and I deserve it.


Our experts like the CLA-Class models:

Active Brake Assist
Warns of an impending front collision and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't react.
Blind Spot Assist
Displays a warning triangle in the mirror if a car is in your blind spot and beeps if you activate a turn signal.
Attention Assist
Uses many sensors and other data to tell if a driver is getting fatigued and suggests a rest stop.

More about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Overview

The Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is offered in the following submodels: CLA-Class AMG CLA 45, CLA-Class Sedan. Available styles include CLA 250 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), CLA 250 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), and AMG CLA 45 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA 250 4MATIC is priced between $19,966 and$33,990 with odometer readings between 6906 and49666 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA 250 is priced between $22,995 and$27,500 with odometer readings between 17779 and66492 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 is priced between $46,995 and$46,995 with odometer readings between 19996 and19996 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2018 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) 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class for sale near. There are currently 45 used and CPO 2018 CLA-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $19,966 and mileage as low as 6906 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 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.

Can't find a used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class for sale - 5 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $19,954.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 11 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,420.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class for sale - 10 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $22,292.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 7 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $16,707.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 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.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class lease specials