I have to say, that as someone right smack dab in the middle of the target demographic for the CLA, the car makes all kinds of sense. I've been around a lot of cars. I've owned more than my fair share - something that my generation seems to do is change cars like clothing. From my perspective, the CLA is attacking the change in the market, more than some defined "lower segment". Cars overall are just better than they were 10 or even 15 years ago. Engines are faster and more fuel efficient. Materials are better. Overall build quality across the spectrum is better. Fords and Chevy's are competing handily against Honda's and Toyota's in every segment for this reason. Mercedes will always be Mercedes and I don't think there is any serious fear that the marque is getting scuffed up by trying to appeal to buyers of pimped out Fords and Acuras. Yes, there are a lot of ways to spend $35K on a fuel efficient four door car. Its all over the map, really. The big question is 'does it appeal to buyers for the price?'. as a new owner and self-described car buff, I have to say it is very appealing for the $. It ticks off all of the major boxes on my personal checklist for a reasonably priced car: Beautiful, fast, comfortable, ample technology to integrate in today's world, and fun. Nitpicks are easy to find on any car in this segment, and higher segments to boot. There are enough obvious similarities to high-end Mercedes in the CLA to remind me why I like the brand. Everything else is as good as or better than comparably priced cars. If you want a Ford, buy one. I own one. Its very nice. For those who appreciate German engineering and European cars in general. The CLA is a fantastic step forward. It really is that great of a car. SLS competitor? No. Kick the pants off of the Acura ILX and any similarly sized/priced Ford, Chevy, Toyota, etc.? Absolutely.