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2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Performance


MSRP
$36,650
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.4

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA is a fun-to-drive vehicle with poised handling and a solid lineup of lively engines. Its ride is on the firmer side, however.

  • "It's a quiet and comfortable car, and one that feels pretty settled in urban driving. It contributes to an overall feeling of refinement and smoothness for the whole car." -- CNET
  • "Steering stays weighty and responsive, and body control is spot-on." -- Autoweek
  • "You won't get oodles of sensory information through the steering wheel, but the chassis is communicative enough to encourage driving this four-door like it's a sporty, ahem, coupe." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The CLA 250 comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 221 horsepower. This engine is fine for most driving situations. It's mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that gets mixed reviews. Some critics say it provides smooth shifts, while others complain that it hesitates in slow moving traffic. Models with this powertrain get an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, which is respectable for a luxury small car.

Two performance-enhanced AMG models are available. The AMG CLA 35 comes with a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that makes 302 horsepower. It’s paired with the same seven-speed transmission that’s in the base model. The CLA 35 gets 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

The top-of-the-line AMG CLA 45 comes with a 2.0-liter turbo-four that puts out 382 horsepower. It's mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Official EPA estimates for this trim are unavailable at the time of writing.

  • "The U.S. version's 221-hp turbo 2.0-liter inline-for [sic] delivers steady, linear power with 258 lb-ft of torque that peaks between 1,800 and 4,000 rpm. Paired with a smooth-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch, the gearbox avoids jerky low-speed engagements that have plagued some other dual-clutches." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Later on, there will also be an AMG model rated for 302 hp. The 2.0T is a potent powertrain, with lots of torque and supremely smooth power delivery all the way to redline." -- CNET
  • "In around-town and stop-and-go driving, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission can be hesitant to downshift, which can cause a lurching feeling or a momentary hesitation." -- Consumer Reports

Handling and Braking

The CLA is stable through turns and has agile handling, but its ride is harsh over bumpy roads. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The CLA moves with greater precision and refinement from behind the wheel, thanks to a firm brake pedal, nicely weighted steering, and well-managed body motions when tackling corners." -- Car and Driver
  • "[The redesigned CLA’s] track width increases by 2.2 inches at the rear axle and 2.5 inches in front and gives the CLA a much wider, more stable stance. That works with a fatter rear antiroll bar, among other changes, to increase the feeling of agility." -- Autoweek
  • "Like the A-Class, the CLA's ride is noticeably stiff, and passengers will feel every bump in the road." -- Consumer Reports
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

MSRP: $36,650 - $54,800

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