The 2020 mercedes-benz cla250 finally blossoms into a real luxury car

Refinement Realized

The CLA moves with greater precision and refinement from behind the wheel, thanks to a firm brake pedal, nicely weighted steering, and well-managed body motions when tackling corners. There’s less variability among the various drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual) than in some other Mercedes products, but the overall balance and quiet isolation proffered by the CLA’s base tuning, even at triple-digit speeds, never had us wishing we could drastically alter its settings.

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Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes’s new MBUX infotainment system integrates with Benz’s latest touchpad-equipped steering wheel and console-mounted control pad, and we like its overall configurability and ease of use. It is on full display in the CLA250 with either the standard pair of 7.0-inch screens or the vibrant 10.3-inch widescreen displays of the cars we drove, although the tendency of the system’s voice recognition to chime in like Apple’s Siri whenever it hears you mutter «Mercedes» in normal conversation can be annoying. Along with its additional elbow room and the improvement in material quality, the CLA’s cabin should leave no one who sits in its front seats feeling shortchanged by making the step down from a C-class. Rear-seat passengers still must contend with limited headroom due to the car’s sloping roofline. Further bolstering the CLA’s tech quotient is Benz’s full suite of available active-safety driver aids.

Along with cohesively blending into Mercedes’s sedan lineup, we also expect the CLA’s starting price to slot nicely between the entry points of the A- and C-class at about $36,000, a few grand more than the previous model. But that seems like a fair tradeoff. While there’s nothing about the updated CLA250 that we’d describe as exciting, there’s now little to knock it for as an affordable Mercedes-Benz.

Specifications

Specifications

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, front- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

ESTIMATED BASE PRICE
$36,000

ENGINE TYPE
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement
122 cu in, 1991 ccPower
221 hp @ 5800 rpmTorque
258 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 107.4 in
Length: 184.6 in
Width: 72.0 in
Height: 56.7 in
Passenger volume: 92 cu ft
Trunk volume: 16 cu ft
Curb weight (C/D est): 3450-3550 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
Zero to 60 mph: 6.1-6.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 16.7-16.9 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.8-14.9 sec
Top speed: 130 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 26-28/23/31-36 mpg

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