The Mercedes-Benz CLA250 sustains its entry-level luxury compact sedan formula to offer consumers who look to enter the luxury brand at a respectable low price without compromising much of what is expected. Now in its third year of production, the CLA250 has matured with additional standard features and revised suspension for a softer ride quality.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is offered in two initial trim levels, the base CLA250 starting at $32,050, and the CLA250 4Matic all-wheel drive starting at $34,050. Mercedes offers a high-performance CLA45 AMG starting at $49,500, featuring a powerful 375 horsepower engine.

Our favorite trim, the CLA250 4Matic, adds the brand’s advanced all-wheel drive system for added stability yet comes standard with several desirable features like:

  • Eight-way power adjustable driver seat with memory settings
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 7-inch screen COMAND infotainment system including a CD player, USB/Aux ports, and telematics/smartphone and Bluetooth integration
  • Ambient interior lighting

All 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 trims have the availability of Premium, Sport, and Multimedia packages that bundle several enticing options, such as keyless access, heated front seats, a voice command navigation system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and blind-spot monitors.

Additionally, the CLA250 can be adapted to be rather sporty with a sport-tuned suspension, sport exhaust, aluminum pedals, upgraded seats and a uniquely-aggressive front fascia. Among other options that can be added as standalone equipment, the CLA250 offers LED taillights, Bi-Xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof, wood trim, and a review camera with front and rear parking sensors.

Performance Pros

Mercedes-Benz CLA Side

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 in its two initial trim levels feature a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque that's available from a low 1,250 rpm. The turbocharged engine is mated to a seven-speed automated manual transmission with standard steering wheel-mounted shift paddles to power the front wheels -- or all four wheels in the CLA250 4Matic trim level.

  • Quick acceleration with a zero to 60 mph time of just 6.4 seconds.
  • Compliant and predictable handling traits without sacrificing overall ride quality.
  • Exceptional EPA fuel economy estimates getting 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

Performance Cons

  • Manual shift mode is slow to respond to inputs through the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
  • Automated manual transmission is hesitant to fully engage upon initial acceleration from a stop.
  • Engine sound is somewhat coarse and unexpected at mid to full throttle.

Interior Pros

Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Interior
  • The cabin has excellent fit and finish mimicking other Mercedes-Benz vehicles that cost two or three times as much.
  • Easy-to-read large gauges in the cluster combined with an easy-to-reach and simplistic dashboard layout.
  • Generous cargo space for the compact segment at 13.1 cubic feet with the rear 60/40 split seats in place.

Interior Cons

  • The high-mounted infotainment disply screen looks out of place.
  • Rear seating is cramped and doesn't allow enough headroom or legroom for six-footers.
  • Entry and exit of rear seating area is tricky due to the low-slopping roofline.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 exhibits an interior nearly identical to what you would find in other higher-classed Mercedes-Benz vehicles, giving buyers a sense of added value given its entry-level luxury pricing.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Rear seating space is extremely cramped in nearly every dimension. The rear seats may only suffice for small to medium-sized children considering how much the coupe-inspired roofline encroaches on headroom, and the limited amount of legroom at only 27.1 inches.

The Bottom Line

Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 slightly improves upon its initial offering with added standard features and a softer ride quality. As an entry-level luxury sedan, the CLA250 doesn’t diminish the expected luxury qualities from the Mercedes-Benz brand. Though, the pricing of a nearly fully-loaded CLA250 can quickly lose its value proposition.