2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 review: Big improvements in style and substance

Practically nothing like a cheery yellow CLA250 to brighten up a cloudy San Francisco day.

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The new Mercedes-Benz A-Course is in fact a substantial advancement more than the old CLA-Course. But this subcompact didn’t change the CLA entirely. As an alternative, there’s a new CLA-Course on supply for 2020, and it characteristics all the identical luxurious, tech and general performance updates as the new A-Course, just with a little bit more visual flair.

Table of Contents


  • Vastly improved styling in contrast with its predecessor
  • Excellent MBUX infotainment tech
  • Effective 2.-liter motor
  • Sleek on-road dynamics

Really don’t Like

  • Will get highly-priced immediately with possibilities
  • Not as appealing as its A-Course sibling

The 2020 CLA-Course is available with front- or all-wheel generate, and is a mere 2 inches for a longer time than its predecessor. You’ll before long be ready to choose for greater-general performance AMG CLA35 and CLA45 variants, but this critique focuses on the entry-stage CLA250, which continue to presents a good deal of punch.

The CLA250’s 2.-liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder motor places out 221 horsepower and 258 pound-ft of torque — 13 more hp than in advance of, but an identical lb-ft spec. The seven-pace computerized transmission is quick to upshift and oftentimes sluggish to downshift in the car’s default Convenience mode, but switching it more than to Sport enhances the conduct significantly. Listed here, the transmission will preemptively downshift although I brake for a convert, skipping a number of gears when necessary. This implies I have obtained the tach needle ideal in the coronary heart of the powerband when it really is time to strike the throttle yet again, and really don’t have to wait around for the transmission to capture up.

No, 221 hp and 258 lb-ft usually are not outrageous quantities of electrical power, but that helps make the CLA straightforward to wring out at legal speeds. You can sing the praises of significant-horsepower autos all day very long, but the real truth is, most people really don’t have the ability or the pavement to exploit substantial electrical power. On my backroad operates in Sport mode, I’m ready to generate the motor vehicle briskly without having emotion like I’m overdoing it. Mercedes-Benz gave the CLA250 thicker sway bars for 2020, and the motor vehicle has a 2-inch broader keep track of than in advance of, which aids it feel a lot more secure and self-assured although cornering. The new CLA is a a lot more gratifying steer than its predecessor.

Whilst I definitely appreciate pushing the CLA250 as a result of turns, really don’t be fooled, this is not a quick motor vehicle. Mercedes statements a -to-60-mph time of six.2 seconds for both of those front- and all-wheel-generate variations, a time that appears a little bit ambitious to me centered on my freeway merging expertise. These looking for a sprightlier activity sedan will want to wait around for AMG CLA35 and CLA45 models.

Continue to, the CLA250 is perfectly great for its supposed day-to-day-driver life-style. If slogging as a result of website traffic is component of your life, Mercedes’ tech can make it a lot less complicated. The adaptive cruise regulate adds route-centered pace modulation for 2020, so the motor vehicle will immediately sluggish down for curves and toll plazas, and minimize your pace must the restrict adjust. When you get to your desired destination, the blind-location monitoring stays energetic for three minutes right after you convert the motor vehicle off to warn of any oncoming cyclists, pedestrians or autos, which is a nice up grade for 2020, especially if you happen to be a regular parallel parker.

The CLA’s lane-keeping help, even so, can be a little bit finicky. It panicked when I came across a wall adjacent to my lane, some 5 or six ft to the ideal of me, activating the brakes and pulling me to the remaining when I was in no risk whatsoever. Also, although this technology keeps the motor vehicle lifeless center on straightaways, it tends to convert in and unwind late, in essence keeping the motor vehicle to the outside the house of the lane on sweeping bends. The latter does not pretty mix with the normal movement of my palms although turning this method is very best remaining for straight-forward drives.

Relocating within, Mercedes’ in-dash technology is brilliant, with the optional ten.twenty five-inch center display (a 7-inch display screen is standard) working the MBUX infotainment method, coupled with a reconfigurable gauge cluster of the identical dimensions. MBUX can be operated by contact, but I locate myself working with the touchpad on the center console or the thumb pads on the steering wheel.

Of program, I can also just converse to the MBUX method. A simple, “Hey, Mercedes,” provides up the voice assistant, and it really is rather very good. Granted, some of the Spanish-language road names in California confuse it a little bit, but by and substantial, MBUX does a good occupation of recognizing normal speech. The assistant will even notify you a rather funny joke if you request.

The CLA provides a solid cabin tech game to the subcompact phase.

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Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are standard, and I usually use my smartphone for navigation, but the CLA has some trick augmented-actuality tech in its embedded method that I actually like. When you happen to be approaching a convert, an arrow seems on a online video display screen from the forward-struggling with digicam, so you know precisely the place to go. When you happen to be browsing for an address, the residence quantities show up ideal there on the display. I desire the display screen had been on the gauge cluster and not the center display, as I feel like I’m using my eyes off the road a small much too a lot, but general, I locate this tech exceptionally handy.

What does not look so handy is the available Interior Assistant gesture-regulate technology, which turns on the overhead light-weight when you move your hand more than to the passenger seat. Not only is it form of iffy in its reaction, it really is resolving a issue I can’t imagine acquiring. It can be straightforward enough for me to push the button for the inside light-weight, since in purchase to activate the Interior Assistant I usually end up acquiring to wave or flail my hand. I actually feel like this is tech for tech’s sake.

The CLA has upgraded charging ports, so make positive to seize your USB-C cables. There is one port up front for smartphone integration and there are two in the center console. Rear-seat passengers get two USB-C ports, as effectively. Wireless charging is available if you haven’t designed the soar to USB-C, and one twelve-volt outlet is integrated, much too.

As for the inside style and design, it really is just like any other new Mercedes, which is to say excellent. I appreciate the turbine-encouraged air vents, and the whole cabin seems smooth and sophisticated. I also dig that I can pick a host of ambient lights colours. The front seats are supportive still smooth, and although I do have to duck my head a little bit to get into the back again, I have enough headroom, even with my tall hair and 5-foot, nine-inch frame. Taller people will be more relaxed up front. And if you do prepare to have back again-seat passengers on the regular, most likely look at the more upright A220 sedan.

Assume of it as a Mercedes-Benz A-Course with that “4-door coupe” type.

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The outside the house is just as classy as the within — a very good thing, since the old CLA was rather frumpy-chunky. For 2020, the car’s hindquarters are a lot less complicated on the eyes, with smooth taillights and a license plate mounting level that is been lowered, building area for the Mercedes-Benz star to get center stage. In front, the headlights have been tightened up, the grille enlarged and further vents additional for a menacing search. It all works, though I would be lying if I reported I didn’t desire the a bit cleaner seems of the A-Course.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 commences at $36,650 include $2,000 if you want all-wheel generate. But very good luck keeping that value lower, mates. My tester has the $2,250 driver support package, the $1,a hundred and fifty navigation package and the $1,one hundred premium package as effectively as a bunch of appearance include-ons, and it will come in at $fifty four,a hundred and ten, such as $995 for desired destination. Individually, I would nix the extravagant paint up grade (though the motor vehicle does search actually very good in yellow) and forgo the AMG Line treatment, blacked-out night appearance package and 19-inch wheels. I would fall all-wheel generate, much too, since I dwell in California. That will get the value down to around a a lot more sensible $46,000.

As for the level of competition, you could search at the Acura ILX or Audi A3, but actually, the CLA’s most persuasive different is the Mercedes-Benz A-Course. It can be in essence the identical motor vehicle minus the swoopy roofline, and a small considerably less electrical power underneath the hood. Both of Mercedes’ new subcompacts are severely very good autos, with clean electrical power shipping and major-notch interiors. Some desire the search of the A although other folks will go CLA. Possibly way, you can’t shed.