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2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

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Used Car Price Range
$26,991 - $33,884
$26,991 $33,884
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2021 CLA 250 Base 4dr Front-wheel Drive Coupe
most popular
Price:   -  From $37,850
2021 CLA 250 Base 4dr All-wheel Drive 4MATIC Coupe Price:   -  From $39,850
2021 AMG CLA 35 Coupe Base 4dr All-wheel Drive 4MATIC Price:   -  From $47,850
2021 AMG CLA 45 Coupe Base 4dr All-wheel Drive 4MATIC Price:   -  From $55,350
Expert Rating
3.3 (Good)

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

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What's New

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, the second-smallest sedan in the brand's lineup, gets newly standard blind-spot monitoring and 64-color ambient lighting. The gesture-operating MBUX Interior Assist has been made available as a standalone option. Otherwise, the windswept little CLA stands pat.

Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

The CLA is available in three trim levels: CLA 250, AMG CLA 35, and AMG CLA 45. Pricing starts at $38,845 including destination for the CLA 250, $48,845 for the AMG CLA 35, and the price is still to be announced for the AMG CLA 45 as of this writing.

Engine Choices

A trio of 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinders engines comprise the powertrain options for the CLA. Each turns up the wick a bit more than the last, culminating in the 382-horsepower AMG CLA 45.

Engine TypeTrim LevelHorsepowerTorqueFuel Economy (Combined)
2.0L Turbo 4-CylinderCLA 250221 hp258 lb-ft28 mpg
2.0L Turbo 4-CylinderAMG CLA 35302 hp295 lb-ft25 mpg
2.0L Turbo 4-CylinderAMG CLA 45382 hp354 lb-ftNot Yet Rated

Front-wheel drive is standard on the base model, but buyers can opt for all-wheel drive for an upcharge of $2,200. AMG models come standard with all-wheel drive.

The CLA 250 and the AMG CLA 35 share a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the CLA 45 gets an eight-speed automatic. Paddle shifters are standard across all models. With the all-wheel drive and extra cog in the gearbox, the CLA 45 blitzes from 0-60 mph in just four seconds.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

The CLA technically seats five passengers, but the compact dimensions and swoopy roofline make for a restrictive back seat. Rear leg room is a mere 33.9 inches – for perspective, that's third-row territory of large crossovers. The 35.7 inches of rear head room isn't great, either.

Trunk space is unsurprisingly limited at just 11.6 cubic feet. A standard split-folding rear seat helps in this regard.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Safety Features

Every CLA comes standard with blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and a driver attention monitor.

The available $1,700 Driver Assistance Package bundles a number of additional safety features, such as lane keeping assist, lane change assist, evasive steering assist, and adaptive cruise control. For $1,090, the Parking Assistance Package brings aboard a surround-view camera and an automated parking system.


The CLA comes standard with a pair of 7-inch screens. The primary of these is a centrally-mounted touchscreen controlling the brand’s MBUX infotainment software; the other is the gauge cluster. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, HD radio, and five USB ports are all standard. The user interface also includes a touchpad in the center console as well an option for gesture control.

Optional on the base model and standard on the AMG trims are a pair of 10.25-inch screens, which offer improved graphics and additional functionality. Navigation isn't standard, but is offered as part of the $1,295 Multimedia Package.

A wireless charging pad is a $200 standalone option. The AMG trims are available with a head-up display for $1,100.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

CLA 250 - From $38,845

The cheapest CLA gets numerous standard features right out of the gate, such as power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, 18-inch wheels, and synthetic leather upholstery.

Options are numerous, but most consumers will want to at least consider the $1,200 Premium Package. It gets the dual 10.25-inch screens, power-folding mirrors, and auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors. Standalone options include a heated steering wheel ($250) and heated front seats ($500).

For $2,600, the AMG Line package lets buyers get the looks of the AMG models without their hefty sticker prices. The package includes AMG-style 18-inch wheels, more aggressive bumpers, and AMG-style trim pieces.

AMG CLA 35 - From $48,845

The milder of the two AMGs is still a hot number with its 302-hp turbo-four. It also gets a few extra goodies over the 250 model, including the dual 10.25-inch screens, a sport suspension, and all-wheel drive.

AMG CLA 45 - Price To Be Determined

The top-spec CLA is the AMG 45, which wrings out an additional 80 hp from the CLA 35's 2.0-liter turbo-four. Its standard features mostly match that of the CLA 35, but some exclusive touches include 19-inch wheels and an even more aggressive body kit.

Compare CLA-Class Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

They haven't announced pricing yet, but we don't need to see a final figure to know the AMG CLA 45 will be far too expensive to justify recommending it. At its inevitable price point you can buy bigger, nicer sedans that are still mind-numbingly quick. Instead, consider going for a 2021 Mercedes CLA 250 with an option package or two. It won't be giddy fast, but it's a comfortable and stylish commuter that's still fun when prodded.

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Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

  • Stunning coupe-like design
  • Blistering AMG performance
  • Modern interior
  • Tight trunk
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Price creeps up quickly
Expert Rating
3.3 (Good)

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Automotive Editor

CLS design and AMG performance: The CLA-Class was once a forgettable entry-level model with boring designs inside and out. In 2020, Mercedes redesigned the CLA-Class, moving it out of the entry-level slot, and replaced it with the A-Class. This redesign brought CLS-inspired styling and even more juice from the AMG team.

This niche four-door coupe class has limited competition, but the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class takes heat from the Acura ILX and Audi A3. Find out below if the 2021 CLA-Class’ style and performance can overcome its handful of shortcomings.

Sleek, coupe-ish design that eats into the trunk space: One of the CLA-Class’ most endearing qualities is its sleek silhouette that almost looks like a coupe, a la the pricier CLS-Class. This gives the lower-tier CLA-Class a design that punches well above its $38,900 (destination fee included) base MSRP.

Want something sportier? The AMG models bolt on loads of look-good bit, including flashier wheels, updated bumpers, side sills, a revised grille, and even a domed hood.

There are some significant tradeoffs to its design, though. It cuts sharply into the trunk space, leaving the CLA-Class with just 11.6 cubic feet of space. Plus, its tapered backside makes the trunk opening pretty tight. The rear door openings are also low, making them a hazard to taller passengers’ heads.

Buyers looking for additional trunk space can check out the Acura ILX, which delivers 12.4 cubes and a larger door opening. The A3 has an even tighter trunk at 10 cubes, but it also has more traditional door openings that aren’t targeting 6-footers’ domes.

Buyers can even look across the showroom at the A-Class, which offers 14.8 cubes of trunk space and a $4,000 lower starting price.

Stunning interior and tech, limited rear-seat room: The 2021 CLA-Class offers an interior to match its attractive exterior. It features all the latest Mercedes bits, including circular air vents, a flat-bottom steering wheel, a clean center stack, a wraparound LED light strip, and available side-by-side infotainment and gauge cluster screens.

Mercedes also stuffed the 2021 CLA-Class with tech, including a standard 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an available 10.3-inch touchscreen. Buyers can also add a booming Burmeister audio system and other upscale tech gadgets.

Safety tech is no issue in the CLA-Class with its standard automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. The A3 comes standard with only automatic emergency braking. The ILX offers standard automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise, optional on the CLA-Class, but its blind-spot monitors are optional.

The CLA-Class’ most prominent issue is its rear seats, which offer just 33.9 inches of leg room. This combined with the sloped roof makes the rear seats a punishing space for taller riders. Buyers seeking more back-seat leg room can look to the Acura ILX (38 inches) or the A3 (35.1 inches).

Mercedes CLA-Class

Thrifty or speedy – your choice: The 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has a powertrain for every buyer, starting with its surprisingly potent base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 221 horsepower and pairs with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This combo sprints the CLA to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds. The 201-hp ILX and the 186-hp A3 can’t hang, though the all-wheel-drive A3 has a 220-hp standard four-cylinder.

With this base powertrain, the CLA-Class is also relatively thrifty at 29 miles per gallon combined, beating the ILX by 1 mpg combined.

Want more speed? Opt for the 2021 CLA35 AMG, which boasts an AMG-tuned 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. AMG pumped this four-pot to 302 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque and tinkered with the transmission. Thanks to standard all-wheel drive maximizing traction, the CLA35 AMG sprints to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The ILX has no match for it, but the 288-hp Audi S3 and its sub-five-second sprint time gives it a run for its money.

If you’ve gone totally off the rails, the CLA45 AMG takes the same 2.0-liter and pushes the power to 382 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. This power also flows through standard all-wheel drive for a blistering four-second 0-60 time. Audi has the CLA-Class’ number with its RS 3, which delivers 394 hp and a sub-four-second 0-60 time.

Final thoughts: If you can get over the tiny trunk and punishing rear seats, the 2021 Mercedes CLA-Class is an incredible buy. It features all the style you’d ever want inside and out, loads of tech, and impressive performance in every tune level.

For buyers who care more about the rear seats and trunk, the ILX is a good option, but it lacks the style and performance.

The Audi S3, and RS 3 are good matches to the CLA-Class’ AMG-blessed models, but the base S3’s 186-hp can’t match the base CLA-Class, and its trunk is even smaller.

Check prices for the 2021 Mercedes CLA-Class »

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Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Available
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.0L I-4 / 221 HP / 258 ft.lbs.
7-spd sequential shift control auto-shift man w/OD
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
25 / 35 / 30 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.0L I-4 / 221 HP / 258 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
25 / 35 / 30 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Independent Multi-link
Spare Tire And Wheel
Fuel Tank
13.5 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Premium Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
11.6 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
Exterior Length
184.6 "
Exterior Width
72.0 "
Exterior Height
56.7 "
Front Headroom
38.5 "
Rear Headroom
35.7 "
Front Legroom
41.8 "
Rear Legroom
33.9 "
Front Shoulder Room
55.1 "
Rear Shoulder Room
54.0 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
3,362 Lbs.
Wheel Base
107 "
Turning Radius
18.1 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
18.0 " Silver Aluminum / 18.0 " Machined W/painted Accents Aluminum / 19.0 " Silver Amg Aluminum / 19.0 " Black Amg Aluminum
Clearcoat Monotone / Metallic Monotone / Matte Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Heated, Power Remote Driver, Power Remote W/tilt Down Passenger / Power Remote Heated Driver
Body-colored With Metal-look Insert / Body-colored With Black Insert / Front Body-colored With Carbon Fibre Insert
Grille Moldings
With Chrome Bar
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel With Polished Tailpipe Finish
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Mb-tex Leatherette / Leather / Mb-tex/dinamica Simulated Suede/leatherette
Front Seat Type
Sport Bucket
Heated Front Seats
Driver And Front Passenger Heated-cushion, Heated-seatback
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
10-way (8-way Power) / 12-way (10-way Power)
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
10-way (8-way Power) / 12-way (10-way Power)
Front Armrests
10-way (8-way Power) / 12-way (10-way Power)
Rear Armrests
Center With Pass-thru
Rear Seats
40-20-40 Bench
Radio & Infotainment
Am/fm/hd, Seek-scan / Siriusxm Am/fm/hd/satellite, Seek-scan
8 / 12 Burmester
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt / Telescopic Tilt Sport
Climate Control
Automatic Air Conditioning
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Express Open/close
Rearview Mirror
Day-night / Auto-dimming Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Front And Rear
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Dual Illuminated
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Driver And Passenger
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Rear Side-impact Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Active Brake Assist With Autonomous Emergency Braking Forward Collision Mitigation / Active Brake Assist With Cross-traffic Function Forward Collision Mitigation
Blind Spot Sensor
Blind Spot Assist Blind Spot / Active Blind Spot Assist Blind Spot
Lane Departure Warning
Active Lane Keeping Assist Lane Departure
Autonomous Cruise Control
Active Steering Assist Hands-on Steering Assist / Hands-on (with Lane Change) Steering Assist
Pedestrian Detection
Active Brake Assist Pedestrian Detection Prevention
Driver Attention Alert
Attention Assist Driver Attention
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Adaptive Highbeam Assist (aha) Auto High-beam
Adaptive Headlights
Directionally Adaptive
Parking Sensors
Active Parking Assist Automated
Security Systems
Security System
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Major Components Months
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Accessories Months

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