The Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 may be one of the German automaker’s entry-level models, but the 2020 version of the coupe is definitely not what one pictures when you imagine an entry-level vehicle.
Redesigned for the 2020 model year, the CLA 250 is now more upscale than the model it replaces as well as larger and more spacious.
The new exterior look is accompanied by a revised cabin and new features such as the MBUX infotainment system, all that for a starting price of $43,000.
Our tester was a little pricier thanks to some optional equipment, some of which typically makes me shake my head, such as the need to add the $3,000 Premium Package to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The flipside is the package does include some nice 10.25-inch display screens for the gauge cluster and infotainment system that are fabulous.
Other add-ons include the Technology Package $1,600, Intelligent Drive Package $1,900, Navigation ($1,000), Head up Display $1,500, Active Parking Assist $900, 360 Camera $650, Sirius XM Satellite radio $475, heated leather steering wheel $250 and 18-inch AMG Twin 5-Spoke wheels $1,000 for a grand total of $55,275.
Under the hood of the CLA 250 is a very nice powerplant that delivers 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged inline 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine is near flawless and is paired to an equally excellent 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The only hiccup for me with the transmission was the fact that you shift gears using a lever on the steering column which just felt flimsy and out of place.
Fuel efficiency for the CLA 250 is estimated to be a combined average of 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres, but the best I could achieve as 11.1 L/100 km.
As mentioned, the CLA 250 has been redesigned for 2020 with changes including a new front grille, thinned out headlights and smoother character lines on the side of the coupe that streamline the sheet metal.
The rear also gets some modifications to the trunk lid and bumper, which does have two peculiar humps that protrude from the bumper. It’s a case of one of these things just doesn’t belong in my view as they break up an otherwise smooth and sleek exterior.
Inside the cabin, occupants are welcomed by a gorgeous interior for the price point of this Mercedes.
The first thing you notice – and it’s hard to miss – is the pair of 10.25-inch widescreens that are front and centre on the dash. One acts as the gauge cluster and the other is the infotainment screen. You almost think they are one screen and it’s an excellent look.
I also love the trio of circular air vents in the centre of the dash – even more so when they are lit up with the accent lighting at night. It’s a classy look, especially when you factor in the piano black accents.
Other materials throughout the cabin are top notch, as is the fit and finish. The front seating is extremely comfortable and rear passengers are similarly coddled – although headroom can be tight for taller occupants.
The infotainment system is Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX system and it is excellent once you get used to its features. The crystal clear display mentioned above also helps as it clearly displays information such as navigation, your drive mode, vehicle information and more.
You can control the system either through touchscreen functionality or a rather large touchpad in the centre console that has great tactile feedback as you scroll through features.
Out on the road, the CLA 250 is quite competent and can be plenty fun when you consider a zero to 100 kilometre per hour time of 6.3 seconds.
The engine can be tamed a little with the drive mode selector in Comfort mode, but when you want to have a little more fun, simply switch to Sport mode. That changes the engine/transmission dynamics to deliver performance a driving fan is sure to enjoy.
While in Sport mode, the engine emits a nice rumble from the exhaust during acceleration. For the most part the CLA delivers a fairly quiet cabin out on the road, with little road and wind noise intrusion.
While some rougher roads definitely made the CLA shudder, it still delivers a good ride.
With lots of style and substance, the 2020 CLA 250 Coupe is a good entry point into the Mercedes-Benz brand.
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4MATIC Coupe
Price as tested: $55,275.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: Turbocharged inline 2.0-litre 4-cylinder/ 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power/torque: 221 horsepower/ 258 ft-lb of torque
Fuel (capacity): Premium (51 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 8.7 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.1 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A3, Volvo S60, Acura ILX, BMW 3 Series