There’s a new Mercedes-Benz CLA coming soon, which prompted Mercedes to release this heavily shadowed teaser ahead of the release. The company has provided no other official information about the car, so all I can do is sit here and hope that the new one will be better than the old one.
The Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor Sports Coupe was this weird, hatchback thing that was once everywhere and is now nowhere, and in a way, it was the spiritual predecessor to the CLA. Remember, we Americans never got the A-Class (until recently) or B-Class, so that hatch-coupe thing was the car positioned for cheapness while still wearing the Mercedes three-pointed star.
Despite its stylish looks, reviews of the outgoing CLA complained about its harsh ride quality and and heavy steering (Car and Driver) and how, regardless of its price, it was a “really nice Civic” (Consumer Reports). Ouch. Even the CLA 45 AMG was a car we praised for having a bonkers engine and dinged for pretty much everything else.
But, as Mercedes’ then-cheapest offering, that criticism was to be expected. And I say “cheapest” with heavy quotation marks because, at a starting price of $33,100, it wasn’t actually that cheap. The CLA 45 AMG certainly isn’t. But my overall impression of the CLA was that it cost a lot but it felt shoddy inside—that it was for people who wanted to pay the least amount of money possible just to have a Mercedes.
Now that the A-Class has been confirmed to come stateside, however, the CLA will likely no longer be the gateway Benz. That will probably inevitably mean a price hike, but also, more hopefully, a leap in quality. It won’t be the base model anymore, so maybe it’ll get some better features.