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.
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 Type||Trim Level||Horsepower||Torque||Fuel Economy (Combined)|
|2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder||CLA 250||221 hp||258 lb-ft||28 mpg|
|2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder||AMG CLA 35||302 hp||295 lb-ft||25 mpg|
|2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder||AMG CLA 45||382 hp||354 lb-ft||Not 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.