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Mercedes-Benz CLA Review

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  • Launched in 2019
  • Premium
  • Petrol, Diesel
  • Launch year
    2019
  • Body type
    Premium
  • Fuel type
    Petrol, Diesel

Interested in buying a Mercedes-Benz CLA?

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heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Small, posh four-door coupe

Best bits

  • Innovative infotainment system looks great
  • Plush interior
  • Comfortable to drive

Not so great

  • Rear headroom is tight
  • Access to the boot space isn’t great
  • A200 petrol engine lacks refinement

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Mercedes CLA front exterior

Overall verdict

Mercedes CLA front interior

On the inside

Mercedes CLA rear

Driving

Mercedes CLA central console

How much does it cost to run

Mercedes CLA bootspace

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"When is a coupe not a coupe? Why, when it’s got four doors, of course."

Mercedes CLA front exterior

Not the funniest joke, perhaps, but it raises a valid question. Purists and pedants will argue until the cows come home about whether a car with four doors can ever really be described as a coupe, but does it really matter? Besides, a victory either way won’t stop car makers applying the term to their slinky styled saloons. 


And yes, Mercedes has plenty of form in this area. The first CLS - a swoopy version of the E-Class - didn’t invent the phrase but certainly bought it into the modern-day public consciousness, while this, the smaller CLA, is now in its second generation.


Based on the A-Class, the previous CLA didn’t have much of a start in life, because the mechanicals that lay underneath were a bit rubbish. The latest A-Class, though, is much more like it, so does that translate into a higher level of dynamic excellence for the CLA, too? Happily, yes it does.


Now, before you go assuming that the CLA’s slinky lines guarantee it to be some sort of sports car, we’ll scotch that particular rumour from the get-go. Yes, it handles capably and securely, but this car is more about comfort and refinement than agility and speed, and as a result, it’s a really nice, relaxing car to spend time in as the miles slip by. Granted, the entry-level engines could do with more poke and better noise isolation, but stick with the perkier versions and you’ll lead a very quiet life.


You’ll also be bedazzled by what sits directly in front of you, because the CLA, like every other modern Mercedes-Benz, is packed with high-tech infotainment kit. It works well and looks absolutely fabulous, while it also supports all the functionality you could reasonably expect from it. Other luxury kit is in plentiful supply, too, and if anything, the huge amount of standard safety kit on board is even more impressive.


The interior is also really impressive for quality, even if it’s not quite so impressive for practicality. Rear headroom is tight, particularly in versions with the panoramic roof, and while the boot is a decent size, the space is a little difficult to get at. That said, if you want ultimate practicality, you buy a saloon or an estate instead, and the CLA will be roomy enough to customers who only use their rear seats occasionally, or exclusively for kids.


No, it’s not a cheap option, with prices similar to those of bigger rivals like the Audi A5 Sportback and Volkswagen Arteon. Even so, a very appealing choice that’s well worthy of your consideration.


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  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked
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CLA 200 AMG Line 4dr Tip Auto

  • 2021
  • 6,000 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Mercedes-Benz of Tonbridge
  • Kent, TN91TB
Price:£38,199
PCP: £637.13/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £637.13, Customer Deposit: £5,729.00, Total Deposit: £5,729.85, Optional Final Payment: £17,347.13, Total Charge For Credit: £7,177.53, Total Amount Payable: £45,376.53, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.49%, Excess Mileage Charge: 10.8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

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CLA 220d AMG Line 4dr Tip Auto

  • 2018
  • 59,330 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Mercedes-Benz of Walsall
  • Staffordshire, WS13NL
Price:£21,999
PCP: £411.37/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £411.37, Customer Deposit: £3,299.00, Total Deposit: £3,299.85, Optional Final Payment: £8,196.37, Total Charge For Credit: £3,895.17, Total Amount Payable: £25,894.17, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.49%, Excess Mileage Charge: 10.8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Mercedes-Benz CLA right for you?

Have you been seduced by the lure of a prestige badge, but you don’t want to drive the same ubiquitous hatchback choices as everyone else? Are you much more focused on style than you are on practicality, and as such, you don’t want anything too big? If the answer to all those questions is yes, then the Mercedes-Benz CLA could well be the answer for you. 


As a four-door coupe, it looks slinkier than its hatchback rivals, and unlike other four-door coupes like the Audi A5 Sportback and Volkswagen Arteon, it’s smaller and more compact. Granted, it’s not a lot cheaper, either, but it does come packed with generous luxury and safety equipment, and it’s as good as anything else in the class for interior quality.


What's the best Mercedes-Benz CLA model/engine to choose?

Bit tricky to say, really, because we’ve only tried a couple of the four engines available, those being the CLA200 petrol and the CLA220d diesel. Of those, the diesel is easily the pick despite being considerably more expensive. It’s muscular, fast and refined, while the petrol is comparatively flat and sounds thrashy when you work it harder.


In terms of trim, base-level AMG Line is all you really need because it comes loaded with creature comforts. However, we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to step up the AMG Line Premium trim for its cool 64-colour ambient lighting, huge instrument screen, upgraded sound system and ‘augmented reality’ navigation. More on that later.


What other cars are similar to the Mercedes-Benz CLA?

Picking rivals for the CLA is quite a tricky one, because as a compact four-door premium coupe based on the A-Class hatchback, it doesn’t really have any direct ones. Well, at least not until the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe arrives.

However, while the CLA might be appreciably smaller than other four-door coupes such as the Audi A5 Sportback and Volkswagen Arteon, it’s not actually that far off on price, so these cars are what the CLA will be competing against.


Learn more

Mercedes CLA front interior

On the inside

Mercedes CLA rear

Driving

Mercedes CLA central console

How much does it cost to run

Mercedes CLA bootspace

Prices, versions and specification

Interested in buying a Mercedes-Benz CLA?

View Mercedes-Benz CLA cars for sale