Mercedes CLA 2019 LHD boot open

Mercedes-Benz CLA review

Costs & verdict

Manufacturer price from:£30,630
What Car? Target Price£28,553
Review continues below...

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Unlike the A-Class, which is available in more affordable SE and Sport trims; the CLA comes only in AMG Line trim, and this naturally pushes its price up. That means that even the lowest-powered CLA 180 costs more than £30,000, or more if you upgrade with the Premium or Premium Plus packages. The introduction of a manual gearbox will bring the price down, but the A3 Saloon is still likely to undercut it.

The CLA’s CO2 emissions may not be spectacularly low, but are competitive the 1.3-litre engine found in the CLA 180 and 200 produces 123g/km and 124g/km respectively as measured under the WLTP regime. Jump up to the 2.0-litre 220 or 250 and this increases to 139g/km, with the four-wheel drive system that’s optional on the 220 adding another 10g/km – company car users take note.

Every CLA is well equipped, with at least 18in alloy wheels, a sporty body kit, LED headlights, a 7.0in digital instrument cluster, a 10.3in infotainment screen with DAB radio and sat-nav, heated front seats and wireless charging. Paying extra for AMG Line Premium is worth considering for its larger instrument display, keyless entry and upgraded stereo, but we’d avoid the range-topping Premium Plus, because its panoramic sunroof eats into valuable head room.

The safety experts at Euro NCAP have yet to test the CLA, but the A-Class on which it’s based received five stars and proved to be one of the safest cars in its class. Standard safety kit includes automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assistance, so the CLA should score just as highly, if not better.

Mercedes CLA 2019 LHD dash cluster
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Verdict

Like the related A-Class, the CLA is much improved over its predecessor. With tidy handling and a largely comfortable ride, it’s a classy alternative to the Audi A3 Saloon. But although its styling might appeal, it's pricier and less practical than its German rival.

  • Tidy handling
  • Smart interior
  • Excellent infotainment
  • Expensive to buy
  • Tight rear headroom
  • Coarse 1.3-litre petrol engine