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2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA earns a good predicted reliability rating, but a cramped rear seat, frustrating infotainment controls, and some cheap plastics in its cabin all keep it in the bottom third of the luxury small car class.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Agile, energetic performance
  • Generous amount of standard features
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Complicated infotainment system

New for 2017

  • Minor exterior styling updates
  • Upgraded 8-inch display screen
  • Rearview camera became standard
  • Various options and packages added




Critics' Rating: 6.9
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 5.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.1
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Overview

Is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA a Good Used Car?

Despite its ranking, the 2017 CLA250 is a good luxury car, and the same is true of its all-wheel-drive twin, the CLA250 4Matic. A robust list of standard features – including a few advanced safety systems – and superb fuel economy makes this Mercedes a good value. It's also easier on your wallet than many other luxury small cars. On top of all that, the CLA is expected to be one of the most dependable cars in its segment. Still, many of its competitors post higher overall scores, and there are certainly better picks if you need an adult-friendly back seat.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our Mercedes-Benz CLA review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 20 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA?

According to more than 130 listings on our used car site, the average price of a 2017 CLA250 is $28,700. In comparison, the average prices for the 2017 Audi A3 and 2017 Volvo S60 are about $1,000 less. Factors such as a vehicle’s optional features, condition, and mileage affect list prices. Prices for used 2017 CLA models range from $24,500 and $33,400. The 2017 AMG CLA45 hovers close to $50,000.   

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Cost to Own?

Over the course of five years, you’ll likely pay around $28,500 to insure, fuel, maintain, and repair a 2017 CLA. In contrast, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is estimated to cost around $4,600 more, mostly because its fuel and maintenance cost projections are significantly higher.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New CLA?

Most shoppers should skip the new CLA and buy a used model, considering there are no major changes to the CLA for 2018. You'll save around $4,000 with this option – that's the difference between the starting price of a new 2018 CLA and the average listing price of a used 2017 model.

Read about the new Mercedes-Benz CLA »

The CLA has one of the lowest prices in its class, and few new luxury small cars can match the price of a 2017 CLA250. Of these, the 2018 Acura ILX – with a base MSRP of $28,100 – comes the closest. The ILX presents a pretty good value, but you'll have to make a few concessions, as it doesn't match the CLA's level of performance, interior refinement, or standard features.

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

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

There are only a few model years to choose from, as the Mercedes CLA debuted for the 2014 model year. Its overall scores in our rankings have changed little since then, but there are a few minor updates you should be aware of. The 2015 CLA received a retuned suspension and standard dual-zone climate control. For 2017, Mercedes added a larger infotainment display and a standard rearview camera, along with styling enhancements and various new options. If these updates aren't vital to you, consider saving money with a 2015 or 2016 model.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 CLA »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA?

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA earns an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of four from J.D. Power.

Read more about CLA reliability »

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Recalls

Two of the three recalls issued for the 2017 CLA fix problems with the front air bags. The third recall installs an additional fuse for the starter motor. Before buying a used CLA, make sure a Mercedes-Benz dealer has addressed any applicable recalls.

See more information on Mercedes-Benz CLA safety recalls »

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

The 2017 CLA comes in two main configurations: CLA250 and AMG CLA45. Don’t be fooled by the "coupe” label – every CLA is actually a four-door sedan. The AMG CLA45 is the performance edition of the lineup. Spirited drivers will perk up over its 375-horsepower engine, sport-tuned exhaust, and sleek styling, but its $50,000 price puts this sporty sedan out of reach for most shoppers.

The CLA250 and its turbocharged 208-horspower engine still have a satisfying amount of get-up-and-go for most folks. Plus, its $28,700 average price tag is a much easier pill to swallow. This car comes in one trim level, though there are a number of options like upgraded interior materials – aluminum trim and natural grain black ash are just two examples from the menu. The Multimedia package adds navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Premium package gives you blind spot monitoring, heated front seats, and a Harman Kardon surround sound system. All-wheel drive (4Matic) is available.  

See 2017 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?

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published complete crash test results for the 2017 CLA. However, the IIHS gave the CLA the lowest rating of Poor for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead.

Every CLA comes with a rearview camera, a driver drowsiness monitor, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and Active Brake Assist (a combination of forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking). This last system earned the CLA the highest IIHS rating of Superior for front crash prevention. Upgraded CLAs may also have blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and active park assist.

See CLA safety scores »

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA or 2017 Audi A3?

The 2017 Audi A3 makes a strong case for itself over the Mercedes CLA. Both cars have polished powertrains, but driving enthusiasts will likely prefer the sportier tuning of the A3. The Audi also boasts a smoother ride and standard leather upholstery, while the base CLA comes with synthetic leather. Lastly, the A3 tends to be less expensive to buy and own than a CLA. The Mercedes does have a significantly better predicted reliability rating than the A3, but that’s not enough for us to recommend it over the Audi.

Which Is Better: 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA or 2017 Acura ILX?

If you’re in the market for a luxury small car that hits all the basics, but can't afford a Mercedes-Benz CLA, the 2017 Acura ILX is a good runner-up. It typically costs about $6,000 less to buy, and we estimate that the ILX's lower fuel costs and repair bills can save you almost $1,000 a year. Although the ILX can't match the CLA’s level of refinement and luxury, this Acura is a respectable alternative that can save you money.

Compare the CLA, A3, and ILX »

2017 CLA Performance

How Does the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Drive?

You get snappy acceleration and agile handling with the CLA250, especially when you change its drive mode to Sport (additional modes include Comfort, Eco, and Individual). As a front-wheel-drive car, the CLA doesn't handle the same as rear-wheel-drive rivals like the 2017 BMW 3 Series. The all-wheel drive CLA250 4Matic and AMG CLA45 come with all-wheel drive for improved road grip. The AMG variant also boasts a more potent engine, a high-performance braking system, and torque vectoring (for enhanced stability when cornering).

Does the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Get Good Gas Mileage?

The CLA has one of the highest fuel economy ratings among its peers. It gets 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, and overall gas mileage drops by 2 mpg when outfitted with all-wheel drive.

Read more about CLA performance »

2017 CLA Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 CLA Seat?

Passenger space is stunted inside the five-person CLA, even for a small car. This isn't too much of a problem if you keep to the front row, where the seats are superbly comfortable and include ample adjustments. The back row is quite cramped, though, so this car isn't a good option for the office carpool.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA?

The CLA comes with three top tether anchors (one for each rear seat) and a set of lower anchors in each of the rear outboard seats.

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Features

The CLA's infotainment system contains an 8-inch display, HD Radio, and two USB ports. Opinions are mixed on the interface, which does not feature a touch screen. Some critics find the system easy enough to control with the central knob and redundant buttons. However, others call the interface overly complicated. We recommend thoroughly testing out this infotainment system before you buy.

See 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA specs »

Read more about CLA interior »

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Dimensions

Mercedes-Benz CLA Cargo Space

At 13.1 cubic feet, the CLA's trunk is about average for a luxury small sedan, and it offers more storage space than you get in rivals such as the 2017 Audi A3 or 2017 Lexus IS.

Mercedes-Benz CLA Length and Weight

The CLA is 15.2 feet long. The CLA250 curb weight ranges from 3,274 pounds for front-wheel-drive models to 3,395 pounds for the all-wheel drive 4Matic models. The AMG CLA45 is 2.4 inches longer and has a 3,450-pound curb weight.

Where Was the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Built?

Mercedes built the 2017 CLA in Hungary.

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