At first look, the Mercedes CLA-Class seems to be frivolous. Too small to chauffeur and too costly to actually be thought-about “entry stage,” the CLA has primarily been considered because the Mercedes-Benz for drivers who worth fashion over substance—and who can’t afford to pony up for the bigger and costlier CLS-Class.
But after every week driving a CLA 250 4Matic across the visitors hellscape that’s Boston, Massachusetts, I used to be something however desirous to ship the automobile again to the fleet. The CLA might fill a small area of interest for Mercedes buyers, however it does so superbly, combining fashion, poise, and know-how in a stunning package deal.
Trying Good within the Neighborhood
The CLA’s sloping rear deck might not be essentially the most sensible design—simply ask the passengers within the again—however rattling, does it look good. Few vehicles on the street look as sharp as Mercedes’ little 4-door coupe. With the diamond-block grille and Mercedes-Benz’s new headlamp therapy, the CLA showcases a pointy and complex look from each the entrance and the rear.
Painted an excellent Polar White, the CLA wasn’t the simplest automobile to maintain clear throughout a New England winter, however it shone like my very own private beacon of Florida’s South Seaside each time the solar went down and the streetlights got here on. This automobile oozes fashion.
A Technological Masterpiece
The Mercedes-Benz Consumer Expertise, or MBUX, serves because the CLA’s infotainment hub and the centerpiece of its spectacular inside. Whereas not fairly as a big as the twin 12.3-inch screens we examined within the 2019 G-Class, the twin 10.3-inch shows that make up the CLA’s MBUX system aren’t any much less dramatic. Exceptionally customizable, MBUX takes a second to completely perceive, however as soon as I discovered my bearings, navigating by way of the various menus and options was almost easy.
And it’s extra than simply data and leisure. MBUX permits the motive force to actually personalize the automobile’s inside surroundings. With the adjustable ambient lighting set to hues of pink and shades of blue, my check automobile didn’t simply seem like it could be at residence in South Seaside; inside, it virtually felt like I used to be in one in all Florida’s well-known nightclubs.
Efficiency Made for the City Commute
As George Kennedy famous when he reviewed the 2020 CLA, the
2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder’s 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque
really feel nice in a automobile this measurement, and the 7-speed dual-clutch automated hardly ever
stutters round city.
Furthermore, the CLA is fitted with a near-perfect suspension
for metropolis drivers, managing to be each steady and composed by way of turns with out
getting knocked off its bearings when the inevitable pothole seems. Additional,
the CLA’s steering rack feels fast and direct. Like a superb metropolis automobile,
maneuvering the CLA is an easy process of level and shoot.
Sadly, when you’ve got the keys to a automobile this spritely, gas financial system typically turns into a casualty. Throughout this specific week, I drove the CLA completely in city-driving situations—and rapidly, at that. Regardless of the EPA’s estimate of 23 miles per gallon in these situations (or George’s noticed gas financial system of roughly 25 mpg in mixed driving), I managed simply shy of 14 mpg. Gulp.
The Weekday Warrior
On the finish of the day, the CLA has its personal particular time and place. It’s not constructed for lengthy weekend street journeys. Regardless of the accessible 4Matic all-wheel drive, you’re not going to take it on a ski journey, and if you might want to carry a couple of different particular person, the passengers relegated to the backseat received’t be completely satisfied. If these duties are conditions in your subsequent automobile, you’d do higher wanting additional up the Mercedes lineup, beginning with the marginally bigger C-Class.
However when you’re available in the market for a sharp-looking, luxurious, and tech-forward commuter automobile, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is the ultimate. The CLA seems to be and feels high-class, few rivals can maintain a candle to the MBUX system with regard to performance or fashion, and its driving dynamics could have you arriving on the workplace smiling—and might you actually put a value on that?
For extra auto information, try these articles:
Pictures by Elliot Haney.