2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
January 14, 2022

Buying tip

Definitely plan to add accident-avoidance tech and wide-screen displays when configuring a new CLA-Class.

features & specs

CLA 250 4MATIC Coupe
21 city / 29 hwy
20 city / 28 hwy
24 city / 33 hwy

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class prioritizes style above rationality, and that’s just fine with us.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class? What does it compare to?

The CLA sedan dresses up the Mercedes-Benz lineup’s small car family with dramatic styling and at least a hint of luxury. It’s worth shopping against the BMW 2-Series, Audi A3, and Mercedes-Benz A-Class. 

Is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class a good car?

Review continues below

The CLA lineup stretches from lease-special CLA 250 all the way up to ferocious AMG-massaged CLA 45. It’s not especially practical, but it’s pretty and loaded with personality. We rate it at 6.6 on the TCC scale. (Read more abouthow we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?

The CLA lineup largely carries into 2022, aside from a few small tweaks. 

All versions share the same coupe-like profile (which is why Mercedes chooses to refer to these four-door vehicles as “coupes”). They’re pretty in any form, though AMG versions can look menacing with their larger wheels and intakes. 

A 2.0-liter turbo-4 is standard across the line, but each version definitely has its own personality. CLA 250s send 221 hp to either the front or all four wheels, while the automaker’s AMG performance division steps in to massage the CLA 35 to 302 hp and the CLA 45 to a borderline manic 382 hp. Automatic gearboxes are standard across the line, and all-wheel drive is almost universal aside from the base model. 

AMG versions are downright rapid, with handling to match. But don’t discount the base CLA 250, which has the kind of refined feel totally lost on its predecessor. 

The CLA is best for two passengers, and even they won’t have a ton of stretch-out space. Still, the interior boasts imaginative lines and, for a price, can be loaded up with a beautiful wide-screen display. Materials are mostly in line with somewhat hefty pricing. 

Automatic emergency braking is standard, though other driver-assistance tech costs considerably more. 

How much does the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class cost?

You won’t find much of a CLA for less than $40,000, though adding a few options to a base CLA 250 will net you a nicely equipped car for around $45,000.

The CLA 35 strikes a great balance between show and go at around $49,000.

Where is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class made?

In Hungary. 


2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class


The 2022 CLA-Class is a stylish choice.

Is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class a good-looking car?

We’re still smitten with the coupe-ish profile that Mercedes bestows upon the CLA. Its low roof and sweeping arch of a greenhouse give it a dramatic flair that makes it look more costly than it is—even though it’s an expensive small car. It’s just as nice inside.

AMG versions have bolt-on bits that give them less-than-subtle performance styling that neither adds nor detracts from the overall look. 

The CLA cockpit bristles with wide expanses of digital displays and better materials than those found in the first-generation model. The screens mount on a low-set dash that’s studded by finned round air vents and framed with wood or metallic trim, then lit with 64-color ambient LED lighting. The cabin doesn’t look cheap anymore, and that’s big progress for this small car. 

In our eyes, the combination is good for an 8 out of 10. 

Review continues below

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class


Base CLAs are competent handlers, while AMG versions are ready for a day of canyon carving.

Is the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 4WD?

You’ll find all-wheel drive as standard on all but the base front-drive CLA 250. 

How fast is the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?

That depends on who you ask. Base CLA 250s furnish good scoot from their 221-hp turbo-4, with a 0-60 mph time of about 6.3 seconds. A 7-speed automatic transmission with various drive modes furnishes power to the wheels with far better response than the last-generation CLA, which tended to fumble at low speeds in town. 

Handling is great across the line, with good steering heft and sharp moves. Adaptive dampers take the edge off of the last-generation CLA’s stiff, clunky ride, turning this small car into one that rides like a much larger and heavier sedan. It’s still taut and firm in the German tradition, but not uncomfortable, even with 18-inch or larger wheels. 

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 and CLA 45

The CLA 35 uses a version of the engine that has been modified to 302 hp. It’s plenty quick and makes good use of its all-wheel drive system.

By the numbers, the CLA 35 sprints to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, but this is more than just a numbers car. Acceleration is quicker from any speed, allowing drivers to better explore this balanced chassis. Upsized brakes and a unique all-wheel-drive system that can shuffle more power rearward when needed only add to its appeal on a winding road. 

The real racer of the group is the CLA 45 AMG, a model that is almost comically fast from any speed. Its 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is, curiously, more likely to stumble around town, but once the engine is ready to go—hang on. Mercedes quotes a 60-mph sprint of just 4.0 seconds, but in practice the lightweight CLA 45 feels much quicker. 

CLA 45s have even more uprated brakes and they work best with the optional adaptive dampers to help mostly cancel out the bumps that would otherwise be transmitted by their 19-inch wheels and low-profile tires.

Review continues below

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class

Comfort & Quality

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is anything but spacious inside.

The sloping roof that gives the CLA-Class its “coupe” moniker results in limited head room, especially for rear-seat passengers. Even trunk space is a shrimpy 11.6 cubic feet, putting it on par with many two-door coupes.

Swanky design aside, the CLA-Class rates just 5 out of 10 for its comfort and quality. 

Front-seat passengers will find plenty of adjustment but not a lot of space, and the bolsters fitted to AMG versions make for a tight squeeze. 

Loaded up, the CLA can cost $70,000 or more, and its interior doesn’t quite match that price tag with high-end materials.

Review continues below

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class


We’re still waiting on crash-test results for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.

How safe is the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?

We’re not quite sure yet, but expectations are high. We’ll update this review if the IIHS or the NHTSA crashes this little Benz.

Standard crash-avoidance tech is what we consider bare minimum at this point: automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and LED headlights. You’ll pay extra for adaptive cruise control and automatic lane-change, both of which require buying additional items first.

Review continues below

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class


The 2022 Mercedes CLA can get wickedly expensive.

Mercedes is justifiably proud of the 2022 CLA-Class. These are nice small cars with prices to match.

We score the lineup at 8 out of 10 thanks to decent standard features, a wide array of optional features, and quality infotainment system. A 4-year/50,000-mile warranty adds to the appeal, but unlike rivals Benz doesn’t include free maintenance. 

Which Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class should I buy?

Your budget will probably tell you all you need to know. The base CLA 250 starts a bit under $40,000, though you’ll likely spend around $45,000 with active safety tech and twin 10.3-inch touchscreen displays housed under a single pane of glass. All-wheel drive adds $2,000.

But once you’ve built up a CLA 250, you may be within striking distance of a CLA 35 AMG, which comes with a good deal of additional standard equipment for about $49,000.  Even then, we’d add the Driver Assistance Package Lite, which includes adaptive cruise control and particularly impressive driver-assistance features. Adaptive dampers, real leather upholstery rather than the synthetic hides standard across the line, and a few other niceties can still keep the price below $55,000. 

Less appealing are the costly AMG Night and Aerodynamics packages, which add a bit more fuss than this pretty design deserves. 

How much is a fully loaded 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?

The Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 starts at about $57,000 and can climb north of $80,000 if you choose to exhibit no constraint when it comes to adding options.

Review continues below

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class

Fuel Economy

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class delivers decent fuel economy given its performance.

Is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class good on gas?

It’s actually not bad. Mercedes demands premium fuel, but even then the base car is rated at 25 mpg city, 35 highway, 29 combined. We call that a 5 out of 10.

All-wheel drive dings those figures to 24/33/27 mpg.

AMG models aren’t terrible given their power. The EPA says to expect 22/29/25 mpg for the CLA 35 and 20/29/23 mpg for the CLA 45.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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MSRP based on CLA 250 Coupe
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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 5
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class Pricing Insights

  • 2022 CLA-Class is here
  • Lease: From $489/month
  • Rebates: No cash rebates
  • Finance: No financing offers
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