2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class

What's new for 2015? Just a year after its introduction, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class gets some significant changes. Last year's standard sport suspension has been replaced by a softer comfort suspension on the CLA250 (the sport suspension is now optional). In addition, dual-zone automatic climate control and a keyless ignition are now standard, while full keyless access to your CLA is available as an option. Also, a larger 7-inch center display screen is now standard, and an 8-inch screen is optional. Finally, the standard frontal collision warning system has been upgraded to provide earlier brake support in potential collision situations.

An entry-level luxury sedan promising the allure of Mercedes-Benz ownership at prices more attainable to the masses, the CLA-Class was introduced with great fanfare. A memorable Super Bowl commercial featured a man ready to sell his soul to the devil for a Mercedes until he realized the CLA250 was so inexpensive he wouldn't need to negotiate with Lucifer. Just a scant year later, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 gets a small price bump. It no longer sneaks in below $30,000, but it comes with some additional standard equipment to help offset that. More importantly, it's still significantly less expensive than the Mercedes C-Class, so even though it makes some compromises here and there, it's worth a look if you're shopping for an entry-level luxury car.

Although it's Mercedes-Benz's least expensive model, the Edmunds "B"-rated CLA-Class feels like an authentic luxury sedan. In our yearlong test of a CLA250 we found the front seats quite comfortable for road trips and daily commuting alike. Moreover, most of the interior surfaces you come in contact with are high-quality, and the build quality is outstanding. The COMAND electronics interface is easy to use, and functionally, it's one of our favorites on the market. Additional standard equipment for 2015 includes keyless ignition, dual-zone climate control and a 7-inch infotainment screen (a new 8-inch screen is optional). All these upgrades also apply to the CLA45 AMG (which also earns an Edmunds "B" rating), which offers 355 horsepower, standard all-wheel drive and stunning straight-line performance.

Exterior Highlights
Available in CLA250, CLA250 4Matic and CLA45 AMG trim levels

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is available in three trim levels: CLA250, CLA250 4Matic and CLA45 AMG.

The CLA250 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, keyless ignition, eight-way power driver seats, driver memory settings, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, ambient interior lighting and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. Electronics features include a 7-inch central display, the COMAND interface, mbrace2 telematics/smartphone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, USB and auxiliary audio jacks, and a CD player.

The CLA250 4Matic has the same standard equipment but has all-wheel drive. The CLA45 AMG is also equipped similarly. It has all-wheel drive as standard along with a more powerful engine, a sport exhaust, 18-inch wheels, larger brakes, firmer suspension tuning and some aluminum interior trim.

All CLAs are eligible for the optional Premium package, which provides keyless access (Keyless Go in Mercedes-Benz parlance), auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with satellite radio. The Multimedia package adds to the Premium package with a larger 8-inch central infotainment screen with Mercedes' COMAND interface, a rearview camera and a navigation system with voice commands. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring systems.

The Sport package for the CLA250 adds 18-inch wheels, a more aggressive-looking front fascia and grille, and drilled front brake rotors with painted calipers. The Sport Package Plus gets sport-tuned suspension, aerodynamic bodywork, wider high-performance tires, a sport exhaust, aluminum pedals and upgraded seat upholstery. Among the stand-alone options for both models you'll find bi-xenon headlamps, LED taillights, a rear spoiler, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated seats, wood interior trim, the rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and an automated parking system. Exclusive options for the CLA45 include 19-inch wheels, interior and exterior carbon-fiber trim, sport seats, an AMG steering wheel and red-painted brake calipers.

Analog gauges, clean center stack design, classic ambience, larger standard screen, comfortable front seats, significant trunk space

Although this is the bargain Benz, for the most part the CLA's interior looks and feels like a traditional Mercedes. Big analog gauges, a clean center stack design and tight fit and finish impart the classic, premium ambience shared across the Mercedes-Benz lineup.

The standard screen is larger this year (it's now 7 inches versus 5.8 in 2014) and easy to read. Various trim options, including walnut, ash, aluminum and carbon fiber (CLA45 only) allow you to create a cabin aesthetic that's either cool and modern, or classic and refined.

The front seats are quite comfortable on longer drives, and the seats themselves are well-shaped and supportive. the CLA has a significant amount of trunk space for the class with 13.1 cubic feet.

Standard safety equipment on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class includes stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, front seat side thorax airbags, front seat side pelvic airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear seat side airbags are optional. The CLA45 AMG has a three-mode stability control system that allows drivers to tailor the level of intervention.

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