The CLA is the affordable Mercedes, but it is a value?
First a quick review of what a consumer will spend on a worthwhile CLA, with the assumption that the consumer will get a well-equipped though not loaded example. Selecting options it would seem pointless to purchase Mercedes vs. a Honda without; a Panorama roof, LED headlamps, interior package, premium package, the convenience package, driver assistance package, harman/kardon, driver assistance and the service and care package, with the listed options a CLA's MSRP is around $43k coincidentally truecar listed an nearly identical MSRP with actual price in my area being $39k.
As a comparison I'll review what the same final price-tag will buy in the ever present and seemingly under appreciated Acura TLX. While I know some would say the Acura ILX is a truer competitor to the CLA, this is an article about value and the ILX is $10k less than the CLA. Building out an Acura TLX to about the same price point ends up with remarkably better optioned out vehicle, four wheel steering, a V6, heated and ventilated seats, basically you name it it's there short of AWD which would add another $2k to the price tag.
Reviews from owners on the GLA are mixed, what most like is the styling of the car a point I agree on. Also in agreement the interior if a bit small is true to the car's namesake, the motivation provided by 2.0 turbo gets mixed reviews while the CLA's EPA rating of 38 mpg is well verified. The reality is any car with a 2.0L turbo under the hood is meant by it's manufacturer to improve their fleet's mpg rating, in fact this alone may be Mercedes motivation for creating the CLA so expecting anything else is perhaps the wrong expectation.
The most prevalent praise the Mercedes CLA gets from owners is they like the attention they receive. The consistent gripes about the CLA that aren't subjective are a small gas tank, poor rear seating accommodations and, a harsh ride, and regrets of not purchasing the pre-paid maintenance.
In comparison to the CLA the Acura TLX receives praise for a roomy, quiet interior, surprisingly the four cylinder, despite being the less powerful receives driving accolades in fwd trim while apparently in fwd trim Acura choose to soften the response of the V6 AWD. The Acura for the same price of a Mercedes CLA has numerous technological goodies not present on the CLA The lows of the Acura seem center around what it has been for quite some time; it's not quite a luxury car, yet a step up from an accord. While the Acura's pricing undercuts true luxury brands such as Lexus, many would welcome an increase if the content matched a true luxury car. I did review resale value comparison of 2015 models and found the TLX and CLA depreciation on the CLA is about the same.
The verdict for the CLA when compared to an Acura TLX of the price you're paying for the CLA a substantial portion is for the name of the car, however the Mercedes name is what draws a significant number of buyers and the attention of being seen in a Mercedes is well worth it to some. If you're a younger buyer, perhaps looking for a first car and you want to show off a bit you're most likely to be happy with the CLA.
On the other hand if a buyer will be transporting adults in the rear seat, has previously owned well-equipped if not luxury cars the TLX is more likely to appeal to you. All in-all, while from a feature perspective the TLX is a clear choice, Acura's unwillingness to push the TLX or even it's line into full luxury really make the CLA a compelling competitor depending on the motivation of the buyer. I believe that is an objective verdict, if you feel differently feel free to post why, thank you.