2016 CLA-Class New Car Test Drive
The stylish Mercedes-Benz CLA is the brand's smallest sedan, capable of seating two comfortably. The CLA250 achieves good fuel economy while the CLA45AMG delivers very quick acceleration performance. All-wheel drive is available.
Introduced as a 2014 model, the 2016 CLA250 is largely unchanged, apart from a few feature, trim, and option revisions. A new Night Package option is available, and a Dynamic Select drive mode has been added for 2016. Just 750 examples of an Orange special-edition will be offered nationwide.
With its low nose and rear end, the CLA is a brash entry into the premium small-sedan category. Overall shape is similar to the larger CLS, which Mercedes-Benz dubs a four-door coupe rather than a sedan. Inside, too, the CLA resembles a scaled-down copy of a large Mercedes-Benz model.
The CLA250 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, developing 208 horsepower and 254 foot-pounds of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sends that power to the front wheels. Paddle shifters behind the steering wheel paddles engage the manual-shifting provision. Acceleration to 60 mph takes just 6.7 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz, a quick performance.
The CLA250 offers a choice of 4MATIC all-wheel drive or standard all-wheel drive.
Also available is the expensive, low-volume CLA45 AMG, with a similar 2.0-liter powertrain that's been strengthened and uprated in every way to generates 350 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque. That's slightly more power than what the 2015 model offered, helped by higher turbo boost, yielding 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.1 seconds, which is very quick. All-wheel drive is standard on the CLA45 AMG, and its reprogrammed transmission responds far quicker, downshifting less often than previously.
Every CLA250 has a couple of safety features that aren't typical in mainstream compact models. Collision Prevention Assist warns of obstacles ahead. Attention Assist monitors possible driver fatigue. Options include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, parking sensors, and parking assist. Crash-testing has not yet taken place.
Mercedes-Benz wisely decided touchscreens are too distracting, so there's no touch interface. Smartphones may be connected via a 5.8-inch screen and Mercedes-Benz mBrace2. Three navigation systems are available. One of them includes voice commands, real-time traffic data, and a rearview camera.
The CLA comes in CLA250 and super-performance CLA45 AMG versions.
CLA250 ($32,050) comes with a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch run-flat tires, a power driver's seat, MB-Tex vinyl upholstery, Bluetooth, and cruise control. CLA250 4MATIC ($34,050) adds all-wheel drive. A Premium package groups surround-sound, satellite radio, dual-zone climate control, an iPod interface, and heated front seats. Individual options include leather seats and a panoramic sunroof. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
CLA45 AMG 4MATIC ($49,500) adds the highly modified 375-horsepower engine and a host of chassis and suspension upgrades aimed at intense performance. The CLA45 AMG can add such features as Recaro seats, uprated tires, carbon-fiber components, and black-out exterior trim.