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2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA has attractive styling and athletic driving dynamics. It ranks toward the bottom of the extremely competitive luxury small car class. However, most competitors have larger cabins, smoother rides, and less complicated infotainment systems.

Pros & Cons

  • Agile handling
  • Good fuel economy
  • Stiff ride
  • Tight rear seats
  • Frustrating available infotainment system




Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 6.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.2
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Overview

Is the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA is a decent used option if you’re looking for a relatively affordable luxury small car with sleek styling and agile handling. However, it doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by competing luxury cars. Many rivals have smoother rides and higher-quality cabins with more space.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our used car rankings and reviews are based on our analysis of professional automotive reviews, as well as data like crash test scores, reliability ratings, and ownership expenses. We researched 17 Mercedes CLA reviews to help you decide if it’s the right used car for you.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, our staff never takes expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA?

The average price for a used 2016 Mercedes CLA is $27,200, based on our site’s 200-plus listings for this sedan. The CLA’s price can range from $22,100 to $41,800, depending on the model you choose and its condition, mileage, location, and features.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA Cost to Own?

Over five years, expect to pay a little more than $27,500 for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA. That amounts to $5,500 per year. In comparison, estimated ongoing costs for comparable rivals are a little lower. For example, these costs in the Acura ILX, Audi A3, and Volvo S60 are less than $25,000 for each car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New CLA?

A new 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA has a base price of $32,700. That’s about $5,500 higher than the average list price for a used 2016 model. The 2018 model has a few upgrades, including a standard rearview camera, exterior and interior styling changes, an upgraded 8-inch touch screen, and new options and packages. Unless you find its design unappealing, the used 2016 model is the smarter buy.

Read about the new Mercedes-Benz CLA »

If you’re looking for a new luxury car for the price of a used 2016 Mercedes CLA, you won’t find many. However, a range of options opens up for those willing to consider non-luxury models. Most new midsize cars start well under the average price of a 2016 CLA. The 2018 Toyota Camry (starting price $23,495), 2018 Honda Accord ($23,570), and 2018 Hyundai Sonata ($22,050) are excellent vehicles. You can even buy higher trims and still keep your price in line with the average price of a used 2016 CLA.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA?

The 2016 CLA has an above-average reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about CLA reliability »

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA has four reported safety recalls. Two recalls involve potential air bag deployment malfunctioning. Another recall addresses a cracked clutch disk weld that can increase the risk of an accident. The fourth recall addresses an overheating  current limiter, which could increase the risk of a fire. Be sure these are taken care of before purchasing the 2016 CLA.

See more information on Mercedes-Benz CLA safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Mercedes-Benz CLA Is Best?

The 2016 CLA is part of a generation that began with the 2014 model year. The 2015 model added several standard features, including keyless ignition, dual-zone climate control, and a 7-inch display screen. Additionally, it features an improved forward collision system and a revised suspension for a softer ride in the base model (CLA250). For 2016, the CLA gained an adaptive suspension (Dynamic Select), and AMG CLA 45 models gained 20 horsepower and a retooled automatic transmission. For 2017, the CLA added a standard rearview camera, updated styling, and made some changes to features and packages. You’re likely to get the best value by finding a 2016 model equipped with the features you desire.   

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 CLA »

Which Used Mercedes-Benz CLA Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA comes in three trims: CLA250, CLA250 4Matic, and the AMG CLA 45. The base Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is a suitable choice for most shoppers, as it comes with many popular features. If you want all-wheel drive, opt for the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic or the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45. For more technology or safety features, look for a model equipped with one of several available packages. The Interior package includes leather upholstery and ambient lighting. The Driver Assistance package gives you adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, and lane keeping assist.

See 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA trims and specs »

What Does Mercedes-Benz's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Mercedes-Benz offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Mercedes-Benz certified pre-owned vehicles come with the balance of the original four-year/50,000-mile new-car warranty, plus an additional one-year/unlimited-mileage warranty. This warranty can be renewed for a fee. If the new-car warranty has expired, you’ll receive the one-year warranty with unlimited mileage. Every Mercedes-Benz CPO vehicle must pass a 165-point inspection.

If you’re unsatisfied with your CPO vehicle, Mercedes’ Exchange Privilege program allows you to exchange it for another CPO vehicle of equal or lesser value within seven days or 500 miles. Additional benefits like towing and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Mercedes-Benz warranty page carefully.

Among luxury car manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz’s CPO program is about average. It’s better than BMW’s but not as robust as Jaguar’s or Lexus’, according to our analysis.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the CLA?

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA did not undergo crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The CLA comes with forward collision warning, a driver drowsiness monitor, and rain-sensing windshield wipers, which are rare standard features for the class. Available driver assistance features include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and park assist with front and rear parking sensors.

See CLA safety scores »

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA or 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Between these two luxury small cars from Mercedes-Benz, the C-Class has a richer interior that’s more in line with luxury standards. While both cars have tight back seats, the C-Class has a bit more head- and legroom. If you want luxury, ride comfort, and maximum power output from available engines, the 2016 C-Class is the way to go. Still, the CLA offers a better reliability rating and livelier handling. It also likely costs less.

Which Is Better: 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA or 2016 Audi A3?

Like the CLA, the Audi A3 offers strong engines and agile handling, but it has cramped back seats. However, the A3 comes out ahead with a more straightforward infotainment system, a top-quality cabin, a smoother ride, and a longer list of standard features than the CLA. While the CLA uses less fuel and has a higher reliability rating, the Audi A3 is a better value. It also earned our 2016 Best Upscale Small Car for the Money award.

Compare the CLA, C-Class, and A3 »

2016 CLA Performance

How Does the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA Drive?

A 208-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes standard. It provides the CLA250 with brisk acceleration, as long as it’s not in Eco mode. The Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 ups the output to 375 horses, which moves the car quickly from a stop. Both turbo engines come with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. The 4Matic and AMG models come with all-wheel drive. The CLA has agile handling, but it also has an unforgiving ride and sensitive brakes.

Does the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA Get Good Gas Mileage?

The front-wheel-drive CLA250 achieves 26 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, which is above average for the class.

Read more about CLA performance »

2016 CLA Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 CLA Seat?

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA seats five. Up front, there’s plenty of space. However, the CLA’s sloping roofline cuts into rear-seat passenger space and hampers rearward visibility. Leatherette upholstery and a power-adjustable driver’s seat are standard. Despite having decent-quality cabin materials, the CLA’s interior surfaces feel subpar compared to those of other luxury sedans.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA?

There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the CLA’s rear outboard seats and a tether-only connection in the middle seat.

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA Features

Mercedes-Benz equipped the base 2016 CLA with dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 7-inch display that works in tandem with a console-mounted knob. Available features include a panoramic moonroof, a Harman Kardon audio system, a DVD player, satellite radio, and a COMAND infotainment system that comes with an 8-inch display and a navigation system. The COMAND system's menu structure is confusing, which makes it distracting to use while driving.

See 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA specs »

Read more about CLA interior »

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA Dimensions

Mercedes-Benz CLA Cargo Space

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA has 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space, which is a little more than most rivals have. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold down.

2016 CLA Length and Weight

The Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Coupe is nearly 15.2 feet long. Front-wheel-drive models have a curb weight of 3,252 pounds, while all-wheel-drive models weigh 3,384 pounds. The AMG CLA45 Coupe measures almost 15.4 feet long and has a 3,450-pound curb weight.  

Where Was the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA Built?

Mercedes-Benz produced the 2016 CLA in Hungary.


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