Mercedes-Benz A-Class vs. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - April 2, 2019

With the introduction of the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz has a second baby sedan in its lineup. The A-Class joins the existing CLA-Class, a swoopy mini-coupe with four doors. But the CLA-Class isn’t dying. On the contrary, it gets a full redesign of its own for 2020. Why does Mercedes-Benz want two small sedans? And if both offer an entry point into the brand, which one is worth buying?

See a side-by-side comparison of the A-Class & CLA-Class »

What the A-Class Gets Right

The first factor to recommend the A-Class is its price. Starting at $33,495 (all prices include destination charges) for the 2019 model, the A-Class is the cheapest way to drive a Mercedes-Benz. The CLA-Class starts at $34,095, which is $600 more expensive than the A-Class.

For the price, the A-Class also offers a slightly roomier cabin than the CLA-Class. It’s ahead of the CLA-Class on both leg room and head room in both rows. Head room is especially significant thanks to the CLA-Class' sloping roofline. With its boxier sedan profile, the A-Class is more comfortable for four adults.

For the money, the A-Class gets all the same interior features as well. Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX infotainment system debuted on the A-Class, and the interiors of the two cars look nearly identical.

What the CLA-Class Gets Right

Although it has the higher starting price, the CLA-Class also starts with a larger engine. The 2020 CLA-Class gains 13 horsepower over the old, which puts it a full 33 hp over the A-Class.

With its long, low body and dramatic roofline, the CLA-Class is also the more fashion-forward design. The 2020 version swaps some creases for a simpler style, but the catchy profile remains. The A-Class isn’t bad looking, but the CLA-Class wins in our book.

The longer body also means more cargo space. The CLA-Class sacrifices a bit of interior space to its roofline, but its trunk has around four cubic feet more than the A-Class’ small 8.6 cubic foot capacity.

Luxury on a (Relative) Budget

Both these sedans offer a compelling entry into Mercedes-Benz luxury. The A-Class is the more affordable of the two, and it offers an interior that’s a touch more comfortable. But the CLA-Class' fashionable profile comes with extra power and cargo space. Which sedan you prefer may come down to personality – do you want sedan practicality or coupe looks?

Our Verdict: Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

As long as you’re in a small sedan, it may as well be stylish and sporty. We wouldn’t blame anyone for sliding into an A-Class, but in our eyes the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is worth the price premium.

A bonus for both? AMG versions are on the way for the performance enthusiasts.

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz A-Class »

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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