Launched for 2014, the CLA250 sedan enters its third season as the most affordable member of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. Although it seats five, the CLA features a sleek, coupe-like profile -- the type that’s more typically seen on more costly luxury sedans. The end result is a prestigious, high-quality compact with an accessible asking price. Like some other automakers with comparable body styles, Mercedes-Benz calls the CLA250 a “four-door coupe".
What's New for 2016
In addition to minor updates, the CLA250 adds a limited-production “Edition: Orange” model that combines the Night Package (gloss black exterior trim) and the Sport Package. No more than 750 of the special editions will be sold nationwide in the U.S.
Dynamic Select, a multimode drive program, is now available, permitting the driver to tailor the CLA’s characteristics via a three-mode selector on the center console. For the enthusiast crowd, an optional Selective Damping System makes dynamic adjustments to road conditions. An adaptive suspension is newly available, and a “Welcome Light Show” has been added to the Ambient Lighting package. Contrast stitching, in either black or grey, may be added to the standard MB-Tex upholstery. Mercedes-Benz’s mbrace connectivity has been upgraded, with the Connect version made standard.
Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz CLA250
Although the CLA250 slots below Mercedes-Benz’s compact C-Class, it's actually a bit larger and more aerodynamic. The CLA250 is the only front-drive passenger vehicle in the lineup, but like its stablemates is eligible for 4Matic all-wheel drive. The turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine develops 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, mating with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that incorporates a manual mode and paddle shifters. An Eco stop/start function is standard. So is adaptive braking technology. Fuel economy is estimated at a thrifty 26 mpg in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway, dropping to 24/33 mpg with all-wheel drive.
In addition to an MB-Tex leatherette interior, the CLA250 has power sport front seats with adjustable cushion length and a driver’s memory, automatic wipers, Bluetooth phone and audio, a 7-inch color infotainment display, media interface, and an eight-speaker sound system with HD radio. The compact sedan rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety features include Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Attention Assist, a driver-alert warning.
On the “Edition: Orange” model, black rims are accented by an orange flange. An orange stripe goes on the front apron, continuing onto the leather/dinamica sport seats, which, along with the armrests, door panes and dashboard, get orange stitching accents.
An available Premium package adds heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless access and ignition, and a premium Harman Kardon Logic7 sound system with satellite radio. Premium-equipped models can also get an Interior package with leather seating (complemented by expanded MB-Tex leatherette trim) and multicolor ambient interior lighting.
The Multimedia package brings you a rearview camera, navigation system map updates, SiriusXM traffic/weather, an SD card reader, and advanced voice control. Safety is the goal of the Driver Assistance package, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring.
You can add some performance flavor to your CLA250 with the Sport package, which tacks on 18-inch AMG wheels, a more aggressively styled front end with diamond-block grille, and upgraded brakes. The Sport Package Plus expands on the performance theme with sportier trim and performance-tuned suspension, steering, and exhaust systems, aluminum pedals, and triple-spoke wheels.
Standalone options include leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, wood interior trim, selective shock-absorber damping, Garmin Map Pilot navigation, bi-xenon headlights and LED taillamps, and an automated parking system.
Adding Premium and Interior packages can turn a CLA250 into a complete luxury car, if that's the direction you prefer. The Sport Plus option is for buyers who want to extract every last morsel of performance out of the CLA. Either approach works, but we don't recommend going all out on both luxury and performance. Loading up on excessive options would spoil the CLA250's most compelling attribute: price.