The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 is a mini CLS-Class
2020 is turning out to be a busy year for the German automaker. There are a lot of updated models in the lineup and the most recent vehicle to receive an update is the 2nd generation 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4MATIC.
Engine – Just like its A-class brothers, the CLA 250 receives the same 2.0L turbocharged engine. In this CLA 250, it produces 221 hp at 5,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque from a low 1,800 rpm. There are also a couple of AMG models with 302 hp and 382 hp respectively but the 221 hp in this 250 model is actually more than enough for the average driver. Mercedes-Benz claim a 0-100 km/h sprint of 6.3 seconds which it feels so behind the steering wheel. Let the engine rev to the redline and it produces some nice, rumbly sounds when in Sport mode. I’m sure some of it is piped through the audio system but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the sensations that this engine delivers.
Fuel economy is …. well I don’t know the exact figures at the time of writing this review. Neither EnerGuide nor Mercedes-Benz Canada provide fuel economy figure for the 2020 CLA 250. But this same engine is rated at 9.9 L/100km (23.8 mpg) in a city and 7.0 L/100km (33.6 mpg) on a highway in the 2019 A250 Hatchback. So expect the official figures of the CLA250 to be broadly the same.
Transmission – The 7-speed dual clutch transmission that is offered in the A-class is also the only transmission that is available with this CLA-class. Like the 7G-DCT in the A250 and A220, this one is smooth and quick to change gears once you get moving. It’s only when setting off from a stop that it can sometimes feel like a novice driver is learning to use a manual transmission. It could be smoother from a stop but it’s not an exaggerated feeling of being jerky.
Braking – Like all other Mercedes-Benz models, the CLA 250’s brakes help it stop very quickly. Brake pedal is firm and requires very little input during normal conditions to bring the car to a stop. Forward collision alert and emergency braking are standard features on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250.
Handling – Because the CLA-class shares the same modular platform as the all-new A-class, it exhibits the same playful handling characteristics. Driving on twisty mountain roads around the Vancouver area is a joyous experience in the CLA250. The steering is precise and quick to respond to driver inputs. Steering effort does change depending on whether you’re in Comfort or Sport mode. However, in Sport mode it does just feel artificially heavier. Thankfully there is an Individual mode where you can keep the engine and transmission in Sport but have Comfort steering.
Ride Comfort – Mercedes’ engineers have done a terrific job of making sure that the ride of the CLA-class is smooth but that the handling is on the sporty side. The suspension absorbs all road imperfections and doesn’t translate them into the cabin. You can comfortably drive on rough city roads and not feel tired at the end of your journey.
Interior Space – While this is a compact car, interior space is fairly generous… for front occupants. I’m 6’4” and I had no problem finding a comfortable driving position. Unfortunately that was at the sacrifice of legroom for the rear occupants. Worse still, the sloping roofline means that headroom is less than it’s A220 sedan cousin. Interestingly though, the trunk has 460 L (16.2 cu-ft) of cargo which is more than the A250 hatch and A220 sedan.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Overall the 2020 Mercedes CLA 250 is a quiet car in most situations. Daily city driving and highway driving are relatively quiet. The only time you really notice outside noises, is when driving on a highway. There is a noticeable amount of road noise coming from the tires.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – The 2nd generation CLA 250 receives the same MBUX infotainment system that is found on the recently redesigned A-class. It can be controlled via the touchscreen, the center console touchpad, or via Blackberry style touchpads mounted on the steering wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are available with the Premium Package but I found that Android Auto doesn’t fully utilize the beautiful 10.25” screen.
In addition to the new infotainment, the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 can be equipped with a host of safety and convenience features such as blind spot sensors, LED headlamps, Active Lane Keeping assist, Active Distance assist, heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, wireless charging, and so on. But be prepared to pay the extra money.
Interior Design – The interior design is very similar to that of other Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The dual information screens span from the driver’s side to the center console with LED accented vents underneath. The panoramic roof allows for a lot of natural light to bathe the cabin during the day with an ambient lighting system doing the same at night. I particularly like the choice of materials for the seats as they are not full or faux leather. The “DINAMICA”, basically suede, inserts on the seats prevent you from sliding around the seat in fast corners and it doesn’t feel as cold or hot to the touch in the winter or summer.
Exterior Design – Like the A-class, the CLA 250 looks like a slightly scaled down version of its bigger brother; in this case it’s the CLS 450. From a distance, you could almost mistake this CLA for a CLS. The overall coupe-like shape is retained from the previous generation but with new style headlights, taillights, bumpers, and grille. It looks elegant and from certain angles at night, it looks almost menacing.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4MATIC has a starting price of $43,000 CAD ($38,650 USD). In Canada it is only available with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive but if you’re reading this in America, a front-wheel-drive version is available for $2,000 USD less. Not a bad price for an elegant compact luxury car. However, you can go all the way and spend well over $10,000 in options. As equipped, this CLA 250 costs $55,340 CAD ($51,575 USD). Is it worth it? Not at $55,000. If it were my money, I’d just opt for the Premium Package making the total cost $46,000 CAD. Then the CLA 250 would be at the top of my list of compact luxury cars.