2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

Change Year or Vehicle
$32,400–$34,400 MSRP range

Key Specs

of the 2017 Mercedes‑Benz CLA 250 base trim shown

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    27-29 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    208-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    7-speed auto-shift manual w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Standard automatic emergency braking
  • Straightforward center controls
  • Relative affordability
  • Improved styling
  • Backup camera now standard
  • Decent list of standard features

The Bad

  • Poor visibility
  • Turbulent ride
  • Accelerator, transmission lag
  • Cramped cabin
  • Hit-and-miss cabin quality
  • Gets expensive with options
2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

  • Entry-luxury sedan with coupelike design
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Updated styling, more features for 2017
  • Standard turbo four-cylinder
  • Available high-performance AMG CLA45
  • Available Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Road Test

https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/64x64/14/-74959434-1425053042814.jpg
Kelsey Mays
The Verdict:

The 2017 CLA250 is affordable for a Mercedes-Benz, but a host of drawbacks test how appropriate the Benz badge is.

Versus The Competition:

All entry-level luxury cars are fraught with compromises, and the CLA250, despite some much-needed improvements for 2017, does little to change that.

Front-wheel drive is standard on the CLA250, and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive is optional. We cover the high-performance version of this car, the AMG CLA45, separately on Cars.com; compare the two cars here. Mercedes refreshed the CLA250 for 2017 with updated styling, an upgraded multimedia system and a few more important standard features. Stack the car up versus the 2016 CLA250 here. We tested an all-wheel-drive CLA250.

Exterior & Styling

Mercedes markets the CLA250 as a four-door coupe, but don't be fooled. It's a sedan, however swoopy. The styling remains a shrunken take on the larger CLS-Class, Mercedes-Benz's other coupe-like sedan, but I still find the results too gumdrop-shaped. Decide for yourself.

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard; 18s are optional. Mercedes-Benz restyled the CLA250's bumpers for 2017, and you can alter them even more with sportier cosmetic packages. Outfitted as such, the bumpers have new, continuous framework that emulates the styling on Mercedes' AMG models. It's far better than last year's CLA250, whose sport packages festooned the car's nose with comically gaping portals.

How It Drives

Despite the turbocharged four-cylinder engine's stout 208 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque, excessive drivetrain lag sullies the Mercedes-Benz CLA250. A sustained toe on the gas can induce gratifying low-end punch, where the little Benz surges ahead even at 2,000 rpm. The problem, ho...

Front-wheel drive is standard on the CLA250, and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive is optional. We cover the high-performance version of this car, the AMG CLA45, separately on Cars.com; compare the two cars here. Mercedes refreshed the CLA250 for 2017 with updated styling, an upgraded multimedia system and a few more important standard features. Stack the car up versus the 2016 CLA250 here. We tested an all-wheel-drive CLA250.

Exterior & Styling

Mercedes markets the CLA250 as a four-door coupe, but don't be fooled. It's a sedan, however swoopy. The styling remains a shrunken take on the larger CLS-Class, Mercedes-Benz's other coupe-like sedan, but I still find the results too gumdrop-shaped. Decide for yourself.

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard; 18s are optional. Mercedes-Benz restyled the CLA250's bumpers for 2017, and you can alter them even more with sportier cosmetic packages. Outfitted as such, the bumpers have new, continuous framework that emulates the styling on Mercedes' AMG models. It's far better than last year's CLA250, whose sport packages festooned the car's nose with comically gaping portals.

How It Drives

Despite the turbocharged four-cylinder engine's stout 208 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque, excessive drivetrain lag sullies the Mercedes-Benz CLA250. A sustained toe on the gas can induce gratifying low-end punch, where the little Benz surges ahead even at 2,000 rpm. The problem, however, is getting to all that.

The CLA 250 delays accelerator response to begin with, and the engine adds a degree of old-school turbo lag that others have largely banished. In its normal driving modes, the seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission resists kickdown with all the stubbornness of a toddler in a vegetable standoff, and it occasionally bogs down mid-shift, as well. Sportier driving modes mitigate this by holding lower gears, but they don't address the accelerator or turbo lag. The Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is eventually quick, but calling up that power is an exercise in patience.

To drive the CLA is also an exercise in tolerance. Wind noise is low, but road noise is a constant, low din at highway speeds. And even with the optional adaptive suspension in our test vehicle set to its comfort-oriented modes, the CLA 250 encountered bumps with a degree of chop unbecoming of a luxury car at any price. One caveat: Our test car had 18-inch wheels with low-profile tires; the higher-profile tires on the standard 17-inch wheels might improve ride quality.

At any rate, the handling payoff is mixed. Understeer is as controlled as you can expect for any front-drive-based chassis, and overall body roll is limited. But steering feedback is vague on initial immediacy, with an overall ratio that's too slow for nimble direction changes. Our test car lacked Mercedes-Benz's optional Sport Package Plus, however, which adds a performance suspension, retuned steering and new logic for the transmission's Sport mode — changes that affect ride, handling and acceleration, no doubt.

Interior

The Mercedes-Benz CLA's cabin is narrow, with a prominent center console that limits knee space. Headroom is tight with the optional panoramic moonroof, which sacrifices 1.2 inches of front headroom; taller shoppers need not apply. The front seats have long adjustment range, at least, but it's moot if you have adults in back. With a low seating position and modest legroom at best, the backseat will have them begging you to move forward.

Visibility is another strike. The CLA's low windshield, squat A-pillars and tiny rear window (significantly obstructed by the rear head restraints) limit the view in all directions.

Cabin quality is a step above the non-luxury fray, but inconsistency abounds. Materials are rich in certain places only to drop off a cliff elsewhere, from expanses of economy-car plastic to cheap-feeling door-lock stems and rickety climate vents. The same is characteristic of the Mercedes-Benz CLA's competitors: Entry-luxury sedans like the Audi A3 and Acura ILX likewise sacrifice quality to meet price levels. But similar money to the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 can buy an entry-level sedan higher up the luxury ladder — think BMW 320i, Acura TLX or Volvo S60 — where interiors stand head and shoulders above the Mercedes-Benz CLA and its ilk.

Ergonomics & Electronics

An 8-inch multimedia screen is standard for 2017 (it was optional before), with a center-console knob to control the action. Some editors dislike Mercedes' menu structure, called Comand, but I find the three-tiered layout intuitive. The controller doubles as a tuning knob and a separate volume knob sits prominently among the center controls. Best of all, the CLA250 still has plenty of physical buttons, including stereo presets. Amid many automakers' flight to capacitive touch-sensitive controls, or even just a lot fewer physical buttons, Mercedes-Benz remains a holdout. Stay the course, Stuttgart.

Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, HD radio and a USB port are standard. Options include a navigation system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Harman Kardon premium audio and subscription-based in-car 4G LTE Wi-Fi.

Cargo & Storage

The Mercedes-Benz CLA250's trunk measures a reasonable 13.1 cubic feet; a 60/40-split folding backseat with a center pass-through is standard. A powered trunk lid with foot activation is optional.

Safety

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 has not been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Mercedes' Attention Assist drowsy-driver detection system is standard, as are rain-sensing wipers and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. A backup camera is newly standard (finally) for 2017, too. Full-speed adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning are optional.

Value in Its Class

The front-drive Mercedes-Benz CLA250 starts at just over $33,000 including destination charge. It comes reasonably equipped at that, with the 8-inch multimedia display, automatic emergency braking and power front seats with memory settings all standard. At the other end, an all-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz CLA250 tops out around $53,000 if you load it to the hilt with performance, luxury and cosmetic upgrades.

That's a big spread, and the alternative choices depend upon where in that range your budget lands. But entry-level luxury sedans are a niche group on the whole and mainstream brands like BMW, Cadillac, Lexus and Volvo have avoided the class altogether, instead opting for stripped-down versions of their larger, mainstream sport sedans to compete for your $350-a-month lease payment. Bargain alternatives like the Acura ILX and Buick Verano, meanwhile, can save you thousands at the other end.

Such is the position of the CLA-Class, an entry-level Mercedes with significant improvements for 2017 but still too many drawbacks to justify its cost versus other vehicles that $35,000 can buy. The styling and brand cachet will win some fans, as will the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45's raucous performance. But for many shoppers, better vehicle options exist.


Latest 2017 CLA 250 Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Great car.

by Lmulls from Boston, MA on May 10, 2018

Test drove the vehicle , very comfortable and beautiful. Very affordable for the type of class it is. I would recommend is to anyone. Great pick. Read full review

(5.0)

Love this car

by RTpura vida from Costa Mesa on April 13, 2018

I purchased this same model in 2015 and traded in to get all of the updated features. I really like the design of the CLA Class more than the C300 that I previously owned. I've owned Mercedes cars for ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / 50,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Mercedes-Benz

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, trip-interruption services, trip-planning services and Carfax vehicle history report

  • Limited Warranty

    5 years / Unlimited Miles*

    Up to 5 years/Unlimited miles from original in-service date if purchased while under original warranty, or 1 year/Unlimited miles if purchased outside of new-vehicle warranty; no deductible, transferable to subsequent owners
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a Rigorous inspection by factory-certified technicians.

Change Year or Vehicle

All Model Years for the Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The CLA 250 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

C

Infant seat

D

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

F

Rear-facing convertible

C

Booster

(second row)

B
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker