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2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos

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The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a compact luxury car with finesse. Its low price is justified in its small footprint and interior, but it still looks great.

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a four-door sedan that’s entry-level luxury, if that’s a thing. With an aging but striking design, the CLA is an eye-catcher from every angle. The reasonable $30,000 starting price doesn’t stay that way for very long, as the CLA rolls out of the factory without much of the luxury kit that buyers will want. We rate it 5.8 out of 10 overall, noting its strong performance—especially the CLA45, but the fact that it can’t comfortably seat four adults holds it back from being truly great. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Aside from a new color in the CLA250 and a couple of new packages in the CLA45, the CLA-Class is the same car we’ve seen since 2017. The attractive exterior styling is a major selling point and makes the CLA’s rivals from BMW and Audi look tame in comparison.

A 2.0-liter turbo-4 is the powerplant of choice for the CLA line, with most models getting 208 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. Power is delivered through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. In standard guise, the CLA250 will run up to 60 mph in about seven seconds, all while managing 30 mpg.

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The CLA45 bumps power output to a bonkers 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and can hit 60 mph in just over four seconds. Power is brutal and immediate and makes the CLA 45 a rocket ship of a sedan.

The CLA-Class is a decent performer overall with respectable handling. The ride could be better, though the addition of adjustable suspension helps quite a bit.

Standard features on the 2019 CLA-Class include 17-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth connectivity, power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, and synthetic leather.

Spend up and Mercedes throws at the CLA-Class up to 19-inch wheels, grippy synthetic suede, premium audio, adjustable suspension, or a high-horsepower engine.

Both the 2019 CLA250 and 2019 CLA45 feature the sweeping, dramatic design that made them revolutionary so many years ago.

The 2019 CLA250 still carries the same arresting design that made the car a standout for Mercedes-Benz when it premiered. With a swept-back, sleek silhouette, the design has weathered the years well. Mercedes has translated this design to other models like the C-Class and E-Class with better results since. We rate the 2019 CLA 7 out of 10 for its well-aged design that still looks revolutionary. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The CLA is almost a mirror image of the now-gone CLS that was a striking design when it came to market over a decade ago. Slight refreshes like updated front-end styling have kept the CLA’s look fresh over the years. Large taillights complete the look, swooping in from either side to accent the dramatic roofline and silhouette.

Of course, all of this glorious vanity can’t come without some pain. Like a fine pair of Louboutins, there have to be some sacrifices made to accommodate the curves, and in this case it’s the ability to seat four adults.

The CLA’s interior carries much of the same attitude that makes the exterior so striking, but robs much-needed passenger space to pay the piper. Back-seat head room is compromised, and leg room leaves much to be desired.

The “floating” infotainment screen feels slightly out of place in our eyes, but the CLA isn’t the only offender in its class.

The CLA250 looks sportier than it is—even more so with the larger optional wheels installed. The CLA45 looks downright aggressive, with large front air intakes and sharper aero all around.

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The 2019 CLA250 is good enough for a Mercedes badge and the CLA45 is a true enthusiasts’ car.

The CLA offers crisp steering and capable braking but suffers from a harsh ride and only average powertrain. With that in mind, we rate the 2019 CLA 6 out of 10 for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The CLA250 is the volume-seller of the line and is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that produces 208 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. It’s a busy engine with power that comes on somewhat erratically, which is fun during sporty driving but can be stressful in daily driving.

The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic does an admirable job taming the engine, with a smooth start off the line and quick shifts. Spirited driving can cause some stutters, so manual-shifting may be preferable in those situations.

Road feel is stable and planted, though the optional adjustable suspension reigns in some of the stray bumps and wobbles.

Mercedes’ “4Matic” all-wheel drive system is optional on the CLA250 for $2,000. The system is front-drive oriented and able to shift up to 50 percent of the power to the rear.

The CLA45 is an upgrade that brings 375 hp and an almost four-second 0-60 mph run. The CLA45 has reconfigured steering, suspension, braking, and ride height, which significantly improves performance. The suspension goes from unforgiving to unmercifully stiff in the CLA45, although it’s more suited for high-speed stability than low-speed cruising, admittedly. The CLA45 features standard 18-inch wheels and thicker anti-roll bars. The stability system controls each brake individually, which helps provide simulated torque vectoring on corners. That all adds up to a car that is very capable on a track and not at all CLA250-like.

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The 2019 CLA does its best Mercedes-Benz impression and mostly succeeds.

The CLA250 has four doors, but any similarity to a traditional sedan stops there. Back seat comfort for any normal-sized adult is sacrificed in the small Mercedes for the vanity of a sweeping roofline. We’d rather road trip in the back of a Ford Focus than hunch over in the CLA—well, maybe. We’ve rated it a 4 out of 10, almost dropping another point for a poor backseat overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Entry and exit are difficult no matter the door, thanks to the small openings. If shuttling seniors is your primary goal, we’d suggest opting for a different vehicle.

Once you’re inside, the front seats are comfortable and supportive with decent adjustability. Mercedes-Benz has given the CLA plenty of small storage bins up front, perfect for mobile phones and wallets.

The CLA hides its price tag well, with only a few sub-luxury touches immediately apparent. There’s a bit more plastic than we’d like in a Mercedes-Benz, but the interior isn’t bad at all.

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The 2019 CLA hasn’t been crash-tested, ever. Optional safety equipment helped it earn a solid collision-avoidance score.

Even after several years on sale, the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class lacks any official crash data from federal or independent testers. We’re not sure why, but we’ll update this space if that changes anytime soon. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

IIHS did assign a “Superior” rating for the CLA’s front-collision avoidance abilities with optional equipment but gave its headlights a “Poor” designation.

The CLA comes with a standard rearview camera, driver attention monitor, and forward collision warning. Available features include automatic emergency braking, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and parking sensors.

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The 2019 CLA becomes more interesting— and more expensive with options added in.

The 2019 CLA can be a very affordable car in base trim, but Mercedes won’t be selling many of those. The features that people want and expect out of a German luxury sedan can drive that price north of $40,000 without much effort. We’ve awarded it 7 out of 10 for its interesting options list and good infotainment system—once Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have been optioned-in. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The CLA’s standard kit includes power driver’s seat, 17-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, 8.0-inch infotainment, Bluetooth connectivity, and vinyl upholstery.

New in 2019, the CLA gets a Denim Blue paint color and the CLA45 gets two new equipment packages: Premium and Convenience, along with 19-inch AMG Multi-Spoke Wheels.

Drivers in colder climates will want to opt for all-wheel drive in the CLA250, which adds $2,000 and a generous amount of grip.

Mercedes holds back Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a $350 option, but the added usability it brings to the infotainment system is worth the change. It’s $2,000 less than Mercedes’ own COMAND system and far better in most cases.

The CLA250’s option list includes adaptable suspension (worth the upgrade), panoramic sunroof (not worth it), Harman Kardon audio, and parking sensors. The available 18-inch wheels look great and don’t kill the ride quality.

Recaro sport seats are available in the CLA45 and are well worth the added cost. They’re supportive and kept our backsides where they belong on curvy roads.

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The 2019 CLA offers decent fuel economy across the board, especially when driven gingerly.

The 2019 CLA hasn’t been rated yet, but based on its similarities to last year’s mode, we expect it to perform the same. Based on that, we can rate the 2019 CLA 5 out of 10 for fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Fuel consumption clocks in at 24 mpg city, 37 highway, 29 combined for the front-wheel-drive models, while all-wheel-drive models rate 24/32/27 mpg. Opt for the hotrod CLA45 and those numbers drop slightly to 23/30/26 mpg, though many people will find less than that while driving it the way it begs to be driven.

The standard stop-start tech helps but does suffer some awkward stutters when shutting off and may restart at longer stoplights.

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Car2Go becomes Chicago’s first park anywhere car-share

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Car2Go said Friday that it’s coming to Chicago, meaning that one of America’s densest cities will finally have a car-share that lets members stash vehicles on city streets.

While Zipcar, Getaround, and GM’s Maven all operate in Chicago, those services require members to park cars in designated parking spots. The Chicago City Council voted in March to allow what’s known as “free-flow” car-sharing to operate in certain parts of the city’s North and Near South sides.

MORE: Car2Go car-share planning for a self-driving future

Car2Go is the first car-share to be granted a permit to operate “free-flow” services in Chicago, although its trial permit is only good through the end of 2018.

Austin, Texas-based Car2Go, which is owned by Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, will launch in Chicago on July 25 with 400 cars. Its pay-by-the-minute service uses a cellphone app to let subscribers reserve, access, and rent vehicles for 29 to 39 cents per minute. Unlike in some of the cities where Car2Go operates, Chicago users won’t be able to leave the service’s vehicles at parking meters after they’re done with their rental.

In Chicago, Car2Go’s fleet will include the Smart Fortwo city car, the Mercedes-Benz GLA250 subcompact crossover SUV, and the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 sedan.

Chicago will become Car2Go’s seventh city in the U.S. and 24th globally when services start in late July.

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2019 Mercedes-Benz C Class Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos

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Choice can get confusing with the 2019 Mercedes C-Class. Engines, drivelines, suspensions, it’s all up for grabs.

Let us reassure you: any way you reach out of the C-Class bag, you’ll draw out winning ride and handling. Just prepare to be flattened if it’s the AMG card you draw.

We base our ratings on the most common versions of wide-ranging car lines such as the 2019 C-Class, so here it’s a 7, based on the C300 sedan, coupe, and convertible. Feel free to add a couple of points for either the C43 or C63. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Mercedes says it’s replaced as much as 50 percent of the C-Class in the 2019 model year. A lot of it’s invisible, but one of the more important changes is a new base engine. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 mirrors last year’s displacement, but with a more effective twin-scroll turbocharger, the new inline-4 develops 14 more horsepower, for a total of 241 hp. Torque stays at 273 pound-feet, and acceleration should remain the same at about 6.0 seconds to 60 mph.

Grunty and a little forward in its noise, the turbo-4 spools up to hit peak torque at low engine speeds in a way that’s completely familiar from last year’s model. It’s a lot to ask for the turbo-4 to clip off passes at 120 mph on the Autobahn, but ask we did-and it delivered. Top speed, we found out, arrives at 130 mph.

Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available. All C300s sport a 9-speed automatic with a knack for making the most of the turbo-4’s output. Paddle-shifted in sport mode or left to its own patterns in normal, the C300 has plenty of low-end boost and instant-on acceleration. It lacks the crackly AMG exhaust note and the high-revving frenzy, but pulls with a decent head of luxury-car steam.

We’ll have to wait for EPA official ratings to determine if the promised fuel-economy gains materialize.

Mercedes-AMG C43 and C63

Performance gains announce themselves on the uprated C43 AMG. Its replumbed twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine has stronger forced induction, for a total of 385 hp, up from 362 hp; torque stands still at 384 lb-ft. With typical V-6 grotty undertones and a lovely froth of AMG exhaust sounds up top, the C43 drops 0-60 mph times of about 4.5 seconds, but still stops at the 130-mph limit.

The C43 makes a convincing back-road weapon, with willing acceleration in nearly every one of its nine forward gears. It offsets its V-6 engine noise with the AMG whuffle, and splits its copious power to the rear with a 33/67 torque bias, then damps it across the rear wheels with electronic torque vectoring.

Any more, and you’re asking for the C63 AMG, due for a retune and a later model-year arrival (stay tuned for those impressions). In 469-hp or better yet, 503- C63 S trim, it’s a snarling, slightly bonkers offshoot of the C-Class that smokes tires like Jimmy Dean does sausages.

2019 C-Class ride and handling

The latest C-Class has nothing to fear from great-handling cars like the BMW 3-Series and Cadillac ATS. In peak form the AMG C-Class drives with brio and confidence that Mercedes has only channeled best in this latest generation of sedans.

Every C-Class has electric power steering. Even the C300 has quick programming and a precise feel that delivers real road feedback, whether the car’s driver-selectable modes default to comfort, or are tweaked into either of its sport modes.

Base cars come with steel coils and standard shocks, but the C-Class can be upfitted with adaptive dampers and air springs. It’s the ideal setup, one that gives the C300 a comfortable and smooth ride, and all but filters off body lean. The C300 can stay flat through very tight corners, even while it soaks up dints and dings or otherwise blemish-free roads. In generations past, the C-Class has let the base 3er outpoint it in road manners; this one gives up no ground.

AMG-fitted cars inhabit an entirely different world. The C43 AMG skips the air springs, mandates the adaptive shocks, and tells the all-wheel-drive system to send 33 percent of its power always to the front, 67 percent to the rear. If you think it’s formulatic, tap the start button and send the C43 on a lane-and-a-half-wide mission to sniff out the fastest route. With its upsized brakes, and sticky 19-inch wheels and tires, the C43 AMG crackles with most of the thrilling, power-down cornering baked into the C63 S. It’s a three-quarter step in the AMG direction, not a tentative half-step up from the C300.

Mercedes-Benz C350e

In the 2018 model year Mercedes added a C350e plug-in hybrid to the C-Class family. It placed a a 60-kilowatt (80-horsepower) electric motor between the former 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine and an older 7-speed automatic transmission. Net power reached 275 hp. Mercedes will update this model sometime in the 2019 model year, and will likely add more battery capacity to boost the plug-in’s 9 miles of electric drive range, and with any luck, the combined 30-mpg fuel economy that barely nudged out the gas-engined C300.

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