With its swooping lines, the CLA is part of the model revamp at Mercedes that's designed to attract younger buyers. It’s certainly a sharp looking saloon, and is an intriguing alternative to premium hatchbacks such as the BMW 1 Series or Audi A3. And beneath its head-turning skin, buyers have a range of powerful engines to choose from. The three-pointed star badge on the nose is a big draw, too.
Despite being attractive to look at, generously equipped and good to drive, the CLA suffers from a rather uncomfortable ride – its suspension is too simply firm for poorly maintained British roads. The car is much better suited to smooth tarmac, and overall it lacks the cruising ability of larger models in the Mercedes line-up, especially if you go for one of the noisy diesels.
Based on the front-drive platform that underpins the A-Class hatchback, the Mercedes CLA is intended to offer buyers a hint of the design flair that originally made the larger CLS popular, but at a significantly lower price point.
However, for what is effectively an entry-level Mercedes, there’s no denying that it’s still rather expensive, often costing more than an equivalent Audi A3 Saloon or the BMW 1 Series. For some, though, the CLA’s extrovert design will be enough to justify such a price tag, but those good looks do have an impact on practicality.
The engine line-up is good, if not particularly versatile. Stick to the slightly agricultural diesels for the best blend of performance and low running costs, especially on long motorway trips. The petrols are quiet and best around town, while the bonkers CLA45 AMG is super fast.
Mercedes are not very good at making an affordable car, which in my opinion is a very good thing, they should just stick to what they know! Big expensive luxurious and powerful !
This is the best 'realisitc' car on the planet, stylish, chic and just crazy timelessness. Only really because the Mercedes idiotically decided to include that infernal rear partition in all their CLS models.
But these new tommy toy playskool Sat navs Mercedes are putting out are seriously worrying.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is the least expensive sedan in the automaker's lineup, leading some to assume it's not a "real" Mercedes, just a bargain-basement ploy to lure customers into the showroom. Wrong. The CLA takes on the Audi A3 and Acura ILX, and even the BMW 2 Series, at least from a price-and-size standpoint, with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine powering the front or all four wheels. At a starting price of about $33,600, you get a decent amount of standard equipment, and the prestige of the Mercedes-Benz brand. You also get limited visibility and a cramped rear seat, but that's a small price to pay for first-time luxury-car buyers. If you want more power, the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 (reviewed separately) has it in spades, and a lot more.
The CLA is a slightly odd concoction, but a generally likeable one. The four-door ‘coupe’ version looks mostly very good (although there are one or two angles from which you can tell it’s a hatch with a bolted-on boot) and it’s just about practical enough to pass muster. It’s decent to drive and really well put together, but you need to be careful with the alloy wheel size if you’re going to maintain a decent ride quality. The Shooting Brake’s looks are beguiling, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s practical.
I have owned and driven my CLA 180 Shooting Brake for slightly over a year. The initial package did not come with SAT-NAV and I upgraded the HU to include Garmin GPS, SAT Nav and Apple CarPlay. The car is perfect after this upgrade!
Drive is pretty hard at times as I suspect the suspension is a little on the hard side but the handling and cornering are superb, although still a few notches below bimmer 320 but better than the Bimmer 730LI (spaceship hahaha).
Space is a little tight for 3 passengers at the back but sufficient for 2 with the armrest down (cupholders as well).
What I like
- coupe like and sporty shape with frameless door!
- huge truck space
- buttons and controls are within reach
- comfortable seats
- auto park feature
- good safety sensors
- cruise control, speed limiter etc
What I do not like
- heat intrusion into the cabin
- slightly high road noise (due to the frameless door)
- lousy battery installed during manufacturing (battery flat at 12-13k mileage)
- high rear seat head rest (low back mirror visibility)
- no distronic installed as standard.
One of the most beautiful midsize luxury sedans (coupes) in the market. While the C Class is the baby S Class, this CLA is certainly the baby CLS (but much better looking).
A little sluggish from stop, this car's acceleration kicks-in at mid-range. 7G is a beauty as the gears shift up quickly to ensure a balanced fuel/performance approach. The handling is faultless, brakes superb. Due to the dynamic suspension setting, the ride can be unforgiving at times, but the cornering is near perfect with little to no roll. On the whole, a nice package from Mercedes Benz. Personally, I find this better built than the C Class.
What I like
Plenty to note:
- looks great (the baby CLS)
- excellent handling (and the ideal steering wheel)
- stability on the run
- fuel efficiency
- quality finishing
- excellent seats, especially driver's seat
- lack of keyless entry and start/stop
- frameless windows - makes it look like a coupe 5 times more expensive.
What I do not like
There are a few surprises:
- engine heat intrusion
- road noise intrusion
- lag in the turbo
- high engine temperature
- firm ride quality
- a GPS that can't be used
I collect my CLA200 about 2 months back. Bought it during Chinese New Year when Cat B COE was lower than Cat A. So the CLA180 and CLA200 were priced the same. It makes sense to go for the CLA200.
What I like
I like the design of the car and its comfort drive. When put in the Sports mode, I can really feel the power of the car. I usually drive at Comfort mode.
The back is more spacious than I thought. Boot space is larger than I expected. I t can fit in 2 pieces of 26" luggage and 1 20" luggage nicely.
What I do not like
There are certain design flaws e.g the multimedia screen blocks the front sensor indicator. If Merc can do something about it, that will be good. I am still getting used to the gear box. The coupe design make the rear passengers getting in and out of the car challenging.
This car is awesome. (I'm driving the CLA 200 CDI "Urban-line" with manual trans and sports suspension with 18" alloys, sports seats and panorama glass roof.
I can not quite share the thoughts about sports suspension being too hard. The sports suspension actually beats audi A6 regular suspension in comfort at city speeds since the suspension gives a bit more in start of the suspensions movement and tightens alot when it comes to blocking body roll and because of softer seating material than the A6 is equiped with and feels more stabile and planted than a Audi A3 while still managing the comfort. Steering has nice feel to it, though you can not quite feel the bumps in the road (if its a bad thing... well that's a personal choise). Since the shape and position of wheels on the road is easy to manage on a car this size I can not call that a negative thing since the difference to its main rival Audi A3 is just marginal.
What comes to drivers and front passangers space. It is generous and the seats are just perfect while having the nice shape and being soft enough to absorb minor stuff on the road. Space in the back (specially with the panoramic sun roof that eats almost 4cm of headspace) is not suited for tall persons. (Under 177cm should still somewhat fit in the back) Boot space is generous for this size of a car - You can not complain.
What comes to the side of cons, I deffinetly thing the interior starts to feel a bit dated since the traditional command panel just looks so old.. so old, but it is absolutely a pleasure to use. The central screen should be bigger as standard though since display panels are so cheap nowdays that you shouldnt even have an option for a bigger screen, just have the bigger one as standard. Controls have a nice quality feel to them, and specially the sports steering wheel gives a very nice places for your hands to grip on.
200CDI motors torque at 2000rpm+ feels natural and packs a decent punch up to 4000rpm for overtakes and accelerations. I have not noticed torque steering as a problem, there literally is none of that to feel even if accelerating from a 90 degree turn in a cross road.
What I am concerned about though is the reliability problems that have been reported.
Otherwise I can see this mercedes just a perfect entry level car with nice styling to hit just the customers mercedes wishes to find. Young well doing couples only 2 of them or with small children who fit in the back seat (over a 177cm is going to bang ones head in the sealing)
you can not go wrong with the price and brand, the sporty look just caught me eye even more. I have always loved Mercedes and having one in my price range is awesome
by Tennis Mom
The performance is amazing, you feel like your driving an airplane, smooth, fast, quiet. Love the heated seats and the comfort of the seat, especially for out of town trips. Amazing sound system. Very safe and reliable car to drive, especially in challenging weather. Very roomy trunk. Simply a beautiful car to drive, inside and out.
Love this vehicle!! Rides like a dream, very quiet and peppy. Beautiful exterior lines. Comes with all the safety devices needed. Interior is well designed giving the driver and passengers comfort with easy access to all controls to insure that comfort. Gas mileage outstanding for a automobile of this quality.