Sedans & Coupes

The Mazda 3 Rivals the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class on Luxury

You might have noticed that luxurious features are becoming more available on nonluxury cars. The realm of affordable luxury in the car industry is growing rapidly and has even prompted actual luxury brands to rethink their lineups as well by introducing more appealing  “entry-level” options. Because of this, it’s getting easier to find both value and lavishness. So if you had your eye on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA for example, you might be surprised that the 2020 Mazda 3 can be considered as a sharp alternative. 

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA is a letdown

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA is what Consumer Reports calls a “luxury letdown.” You do get the classic Mercedes name badge with this sedan but there actually isn’t much luxury beneath the surface. This four-door coupe offers a variety of performance options as well as style inside and out. However, it’s not as comfortable of a ride as it should be.

CR notes that the CLA’s acceleration feels too pokey at times and it’s also a rather harsh ride. Its backseat is also pretty narrow. And with the CLA’s pricing ranging from $36,650 to 54,800, we would hope its predicted owner satisfaction ratings would be higher. With that being said, it still might seem crazy to suggest a Mazda over a Mercedes, but hear us out.

Get more affordable luxury with the 2020 Mazda 3

The 2020 Mazda 3 is a standout in its class because of its performance agility and its upscale interior. In general, Mazda is becoming known specifically for offering luxury at a more affordable price. The carmaker’s newfound focus on swankiness makes models like the Mazda 3 more compelling.

Now, we aren’t saying the base Mazda 3 model is right up there with the CLA. To get the most comparable luxury features available on the Mazda 3, you’ll have to go up to Premium, the highest trim level. The Premium trim is available with all-wheel-drive and features an upscale cabin, making it far from an ordinary compact sedan.

There’s only one engine option available on the Mazda 3, but at least it’s a satisfying one. The sedan gets its power from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 186 horsepower. This four-cylinder is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission that compliments each other well. The Mazda 3 also has a great fuel efficiency rating. 

A look at the features on the Premium Mazda 3

The Premium Mazda 3 has a laundry list of exceptional features. This trim adds beautiful leather seats, LED lighting, and a power sunroof. But perhaps the most notable benefit is the Active Driving Display, which projects need-to-know information through the windshield. This information includes navigation directions, current speed, and advanced safety feature alerts.

And speaking of advanced safety features, the Premium model offers some of the same ones available on the CLA such as automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning.

The Mazda 3 also offers a very user-friendly infotainment system. Standard infotainment features on the Premium trim include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as well as 12-speaker Bose stereo. 

The final verdict

While the Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a full lineup of punchy engines as the Mercedes CLA-Class does, it delivers on other luxurious aspects.  The Mazda 3 Premium trim offers an upscale cabin and plenty of tech features and is also more comfortable than the CLA-Class models. Also, the Premium trim’s price is hard to beat at $28,900.