The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV offers premium safety, performance, and styling for a competitive sticker price and total cost of ownership.  - Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV offers premium safety, performance, and styling for a competitive sticker price and total cost of ownership. 

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz is making a strong case for upgrading to premium fleet vehicles with the CLA Coupe and GLA compact SUV. The German automaker is offering pricing and total cost of ownership (TCO) competitive with and comparable to mainstream models. 

The CLA and GLA deserve a look from even the most fiscally conservative fleet managers and business owners, as they offer superior resale value and a long list of standard and available safety and convenience features few vehicles in any category can match.

Safety Isn’t Just Optional 

The need to protect drivers and minimize collisions and claims remains top-of-mind for fleets, whatever their makeup or application. Mercedes-Benz continues to position itself as an industry leader in safety. In addition to 24-hour Roadside Assistance,the latest advancements in passenger restraint,  and standard rearview camera, every new vehicle in its lineup can be equipped with a full suite of cutting-edge active safety systems, including: 

  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP®): An array of sensors monitor the vehicle’s response to driver inputs and can regulate power at the wheels to help execute emergency maneuvers. 
  • ATTENTION ASSIST®: This system can detect driver drowsiness by creating a driver baseline during the first few minutes of each trip and recognizing variances from this behavior. 

The purchase of a 2018 CLA and GLA includes a six-month free trial of “mbrace Secure,” the factory’s proprietary driver security package. Among other features, the system includes: 

  • Automatic Alarm and Collision 
  • Notification 
  • SOS/Emergency Call
  • Stolen-Vehicle Location Assistance
  • Safe Ride, and more


Finally, for the ultimate safe-driving experience, the GLA and CLA boast available 4MATIC® permanent all-wheel drive. Mercedes-Benz’s venerable 4MATIC system is highly dynamic and responsive, powering and stopping all four wheels individually to maximize grip and torque. 

Premium Power and Performance

The CLA and GLA models are powered by a 2.0L turbocharged inline-four engine that delivers 208 horsepower (hp) and 258 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque and is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Two-wheel drive is standard; opting for 4MATIC adds only $2,000 to each vehicle’s base price. 

Also standard is “DYNAMIC SELECT,” a multimode, dash-mounted drive program selector that includes settings for “ECO,” “Comfort,” and “Sport,” all with unique throttle response, shift points, and steering feel. An “Individual” mode allows drivers to create their own setting. 

“AMG” models of the CLA and GLA get an upgraded engine that produces 375 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a performance-grade seven-speed DCT. The Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 and CLA 45  can also come equipped with LED headlamps, a special aerodynamics package, and an AMG Night Package. 

The CLA and GLA and ride atop a four-wheel independent suspension. Standard electromechanical steering was designed to optimize on-center feel and straight-line stability, reduce response time in corners, and better accommodate low-speed maneuvers. 

The Four-Door Coupe

The 2018 CLA is a compact, four-door coupe, which features a two-door-like stance and modest rear bench, which can accommodate three passengers. 

Whether equipped with front-wheel drive or available 4MATIC® permanent all-wheel drive, the CLA250 covers 24 mpg in traffic and 36 mpg on the open road. Remarkably, the base CLA can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in a hair under seven seconds. The vehicle owes its rapid acceleration in part to its seven-speed automatic transmission’s dual clutches, which can shift faster than any human driver. 

GLA and CLA buyers can opt for the “AMG” edition of either vehicle. The performance models deliver 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.  - Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

GLA and CLA buyers can opt for the “AMG” edition of either vehicle. The performance models deliver 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. 

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

Every CLA comes equipped with the aforementioned standard equipment, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel, optional multicolor ambient lighting, and optional Garmin Map Pilot navigation. Upgrading to the AMG adds a similar suite of performance and styling cues as does the GLA. 

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA is available now for prices starting at $32,700 for the base model, $34,700 with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive, and $50,400 for the top-of-the line AMG CLA 45. 

An SUV Apart

The 2018 GLA offers high ground clearance and added cargo capacity without the weight and diminished fuel economy of a full-size SUV. Equipped with the base 2.0L engine and front- or permanent all-wheel drive, the 2018 GLA gets 24 miles per gallon (mpg) in city driving and 33 mpg on the highway. 

The GLA seats four or five; two rear passengers can utilize a fold-down rear-seat center console that also acts as a pass-through for long items. The SUV’s cargo capacity maxes out at 41.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The SUV’s 14-cubic-foot cargo hold can be accessed with the help of a standard power liftgate. 

In addition to the features listed above, every GLA features optional heated front seats, Smartphone Integration, a Harman/Kardon stereo system, and more. AMG editions add performance seats, as found on the 250, and steering wheel and illuminated door sill panels. 

The GLA 250 starts at $33,400. Adding 4MATIC® permanent all-wheel drive increases the MSRP to $35,400; opting for the AMG model (which includes 4MATIC) pushes the sticker price to $50,600. 

The Lap of Luxury

Partnering with a premium automaker essentially means hiring a support team for your fleet and your drivers. Few vehicles can claim to bridge the gap between luxury and economy as the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA. 

Every Mercedes-Benz comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, unmatched customer service, and “Mercedes me,” a mobile device-enabled platform that keeps drivers and fleet managers connected with their vehicles. Fleet buyers can opt for an extended limited warranty and a prepaid maintenance program. 

The 2018 editions of both vehicles are eligible for a $1,000 fleet incentive. And when the time comes to cycle vehicles out, fleet managers who partner with Mercedes-Benz can expect a significant return on their investment. As of this writing, resale values for the 2016 model of the CLA four-door coupe and GLA SUV stand at $23,000-plus and $24,000-plus, respectively, according to Kelley Blue Book. 

The numbers are compelling, but they don’t tell the entire story. Premium vehicles project an image and tell a story. Customers and clients know they are dealing with a company that takes pride in its appearance and takes every possible step to protect its drivers and the motorists with whom they share the road. Employees enjoy the “perk” of a sophisticated vehicle, feel rewarded for their efforts, and will be unswayed by competitors who offer premium company cars as a recruiting tool. 

Fleet buyers need not make the journey toward a premium selector alone. There is no obligation to speak with a Mercedes-Benz fleet expert. Visit Mercedes-Benz Fleet at fleet.mbusa.com or call 1-866-628-7323


Related: Vehicle Safety: The Premium Fleet Feature