I recently had the opportunity to drive the 2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 for review. When I think of the Mercedes brand, words like luxury, high performance, and prestige come to the forefront of my mind. With the CLA250, Mercedes has brought an affordable compact luxury sedan to the masses without sacrificing the beauty and elegance of the Mercedes brand. It is modestly priced at around $31,500, making it affordable and still packed with style. It comes in the FWD or the AWD package.

The sleek styling makes this sedan look somewhat aggressive, which I like. But that’s ok because the front wheel drive engine will go from 0 to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. And, personally, I couldn’t tell which wheels were doing the work when I tested the acceleration. More to the point, I loved zooming around when I found an open roadway.

The driver side interior is very comfortable with a large gauge cluster behind the steering wheel and a substantial navigation screen. This made for an enjoyable upscale driving experience.

Now, this Mercedes isn’t for everyone. In fact, I would consider it the starter of the brand. When I mentioned the word compact earlier, I wasn’t just talking about the price tag. I’ve read a lot of complaints about the tightness of the cabin, specifically the back seat. I’m a small person, and the little people I’ve got riding along with me don’t seem to mind the leg room. Then again, they don’t need much leg room yet. I can see how a taller driver or a larger family might not appreciate this car as much as we do.
One of my favorite features of this Mercedes was the panoramic sun roof. Closed, it gave us the feeling of more head room. Fully opened, even the littles in the backseat felt like we were in a convertible without the messy hair.
Under the hood, this car gives the driver a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 producing 208 horsepower engine at 5,500 rpms. You’ll get 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,250-4,000 rpms. The EPA city/highway fuel economy is 26/38 mpg. Even the fuel bill will be affordable with this car.

I loved every second of being in this car … every single second. From the sophisticated interior design to the commanding exterior profile, this car made me feel powerful and graceful racing through the road. I had to remind myself a few times to slow down and appreciate the experience. The sunroof helped.

By comparison, the 2015 Audi A3 comes in at a base of around $30,000. While the 2015 Lexus CT 200h is the industry’s only small luxury hatchback, it does come in at a comparable base of $32,200. That being said, the Lexus RC would be comparable in style, but the base price is more like $39,700. The 2015 BMW 3-Series might be closer in styling, but tops the comparison base price list at $40,700.

It’s no wonder Mercedes Benz C-Class won the “World Car of the Year 2015 Award”. The editors at Edmunds confirmed my own observation, “The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class offers all the trimmings of a proper Benz for a relatively modest price. Although its driving character and compact cabin dimensions won’t please everyone, shoppers interested in a small European entry-level luxury sedan will certainly want to take a look.”

Pros:

  • Premium luxury for an affordable and attainable price
  • Super fun to drive on an open roadway
  • Panoramic sun roof
  • Excellent fuel economy

Cons:

  • Rear seat cabin space may not be enough for some