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The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class serves as the most affordable luxury model from the brand and also as a statement for what entry luxury cars can be nowadays. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a striking design and was a milestone for the automaker when it was introduced.
Its sleek silhouette, frameless door glass, and grille details have aged well, but others in the Mercedes portfolio have adapted their designs with better effect—namely the C-Class and E-Class. The CLA borrows liberally from the outgoing CLS design that dramatically changed luxury sedans more than a decade ago, especially the daring roofline, yet the smaller CLA improves with some of its own details. The CLA drops the long nose, and last year added new front-end details to carve its own shape. Big rear taillights may seem counterintuitive for the small sedan, but it helps bring the CLA in line with the rest of Mercedes’ sedans.
The most popular version of the CLA class is the CLA250, which comes equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 208 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. It’s a peaky power delivery that comes in fits and spurts, which can be fun when reaching for another corner to carve and also somewhat jarring on day-to-day drives. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic does what it can to calm the excitable engine, takeoff is relatively smooth and upshifts come fast. It’s possible to catch the 7-speed flat-footed; opting to shift your own gears with the transmission’s manual mode might be preferred for hotshoe drivers. Paddle shifters can make the journey a little more exciting, although we wish the posts were a little more substantial than the small handles on the steering wheel.
The CLA250 feels like most other Mercedes, which is to say that its steering builds effort into the wheel and feels planted and surefooted. The ride is somewhat softer now than it was initially, although it’s still raw without the optional adjustable suspension.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA250 fits alongside other compact sedans in overall footprint, yet it has significantly less room than others such as the Ford Focus and Honda Civic. That’s mostly due to the dramatic coupe-like lines that the CLA250 makes famous.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.