Mercedes-Benz CLA 250e review


The plug-in hybrid CLA is an interesting proposition. The four-door coupe looks smart and purposeful yet it has impressive green credentials that will surprise many. The 250e’s CO2 emissions are rated at just 23g/km. The 250e PHEV is capable of driving in zero emissions ‘electric only’ mode for up to 50km… that’s the school run and trip to the shops sorted at the very least!

Like all PHEVs the CLA 250e offers the assurance getting you there – even when the battery is depleted thanks to its petrol engine. PHEVs in theory are brilliant but in order to produce minimal emissions while achieving the really low fuel consumption figures they promise, 200km in the 250e’s case, users must actively keep the battery charged up whenever possible… sadly not all drivers are that diligent.

It is a given that the CLA is a great looking four-door coupe. Next to its closest rival the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe the CLA is the more imposing and impressive design. The CLA 250e’s front end looks striking in any rearview mirror and with 18 inch wheels the arches are filled out enough to deliver the mini CLS look. The styling delivered is far greater than the humble A Class underpinnings the CLA is built on. The four-door coupe is reasonably practical but its worth noting the boot is quite shallow. There is a handy under floor area where you can stow your charging cables.

Inside, the cabin is really well appointed but back seat passengers will find it quite cramped. Front seat occupants will have no complaints with a spacious premium experience on offer. The dash layout features the current Mercedes user interface (MBUX) – so you get a big widescreen dash display that houses two separate displays for the driver’s instruments and other for the car’s secondary controls. The driver can adjust loads of setting with their hands on the steering wheel or via a touch pad or via the touch screen. “Hey Mercedes” voice activation is fitted and you can also access the Mercedes App Store via the main centre display. CarPlay and Android Auto feature and there is a host of driving safety aids as standard too.

The 250e is powered by a 1.3 litre, four cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor. The electric motor gets its power from a 15.6kWh rechargeable battery. The engine on its own produces 160hp but when combined with the motor the 250e delivers 218hp to the front wheels. This is very healthy amount of power in a car this size. The 0-100km sprint takes a brisk 6.8 seconds and top speed is 240km/h. Mercedes-Benz quotes an average fuel consumption figure of between 1.3-1.5L/100km (circa 200mpg)… that’s astonishing.

On the road the 250e is a relaxing drive. pull the gear selector stalk down to ‘D’ and off you go in silence (once the the battery has a bit of charge). The only time you might regret buying a coupe and not a crossover/SUV might be when driving in heavy rain or urban traffic where you will wish to be higher up for better all round visibility. The CLA is a confident car to drive and its front wheel drive layout is reassuring in wet weather too as it delivers good grip. 

Mercedes-Benz CLA pricing starts from €42,520 and petrol and diesel versions are available. The CLA 250e automatic has a starting price of €47,430. Our Polar White car comes with the AMG-Line styling pack (€2,570) that neatly rounds the price up to €50,000. AMG Line adds: 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, AMG front and rear aprons with front splitter in chrome, tailpipe trims, AMG side sill panels, diamond radiator grille with chrome pins, sport brakes, 3-spoke nappa leather multifunction sports steering wheel, AMG brushed sports pedals, ‘ARTICO’ two tone leather, AMG floor mats, black fabric roof liner and sports seats.

The CLA 250e plug-in hybrid is the right CLA for now and the coming years. The fact it is a PHEV that you can use as an EV for daily short trips yet need never worry about finding public charging for longer runs as you would with a full electric car is a bonus. We like the CLA 250e a lot.


About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 20 years (& more recently a Van of the Year judge). Michael has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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