2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: First Impressions

September 12, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

We've had our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 for nearly 10 months, but for a variety of reasons — including some lackluster reviews from colleagues and commenters — I haven't driven it for myself.

Last night I decided I'd be sorry if I didn't take it out for a night before it's too late.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Trunk

September 9, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

A few staffers have discovered how useful the Mercedes-Benz CLA250's trunk can be when needed. I found out for myself when I was drafted to help a relative transport some things to her new apartment.

Looking at the somewhat stubby trunk of the junior Benz, I was a bit worried we wouldn't get everything in. In addition to bags of spoils from Target, we had a rolled-up 5-foot x 8-foot area rug, a 32-inch tall tower fan and two very yellow bed rest pillows for lounging around.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for August

September 5, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

During the month of August, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 spun a hefty 2,233 miles under its tires including a few weeks away in central California where it was often able to cruise efficiently on open highways.

It was also recruited by Mike Magrath for a quick road trip to Las Vegas via Death Valley. Mike admitted that trip was by no means a fuel-economy-oriented run, as he enjoyed the drive by using the transmission's Manual and Sport modes. A high temp of around 110 degrees didn't help fuel economy matters either, requiring max A/C use.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: 15,000 Miles

August 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

After 9 months in our long-term fleet, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 hit 15,000 miles and with three months to go in our test, we're exactly on target to hit our goal of 20,000 miles.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Alternative, Cheaper Navigation

August 27, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

We bought our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 with the $2,370 Multimedia package, which adds a larger COMAND display, rearview camera, six-CD/DVD changer, 10GB of digital music storage, real-time traffic and weather, and most notably, a Mercedes navigation system.

However, if all you want is the latter item without all the other stuff and the hefty price tag, there is an alternative.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Limited COMAND Audio Presets

August 22, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

In general, I like Mercedes' COMAND interface in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. I find it pretty easy to use, navigate and find what I want. But I've also realized that what's available for audio preset selection isn't so great.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Upgrade From a Hot Hatch?

August 21, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The owner of the dry cleaner shop I frequent owns the VW GTI in the above photo. He was pretty interested in Edmunds' 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 after I had stopped to pick up some clothes. Specifically, his lease for the GTI ends in the fall. That got me wondering: If you own a "hot hatch" like a GTI, is the CLA250 a viable step up?

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Intimate or Cramped Interior?

August 20, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is pretty small compared to most other cars on the road. For the interior, that translates into a seating environment that could be described as either cramped or intimate depending on your viewpoint.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: A Car You Could Be Proud To Bring Home

August 15, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I've had the opportunity to drive our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 a respectable amount recently, and that's given me added perspective on what it would be like to own. Beyond the various observations we've written about so far, I think the CLA lives up to its promise of being a car that's more prestigious than your typical workaday sedans.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Low Tire Pressure. Or Not?

August 14, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Not soon after I left our Edmunds editorial offices for the day in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class the car's tire pressure warning light illuminated. "Oh great," I thought. "I probably drove over a nail or something, so one of the tires has a leak. There goes my afternoon."

Thankfully, the CLA's gauge cluster display also has a readout for individual tire pressures. That's considerably more useful than just having the one "exclamation point in a tire" warning light, which is all you get in a lot of cars. I brought that tire display on the screen to see what was going on. Oddly, the display indicated that both the rear tires were low.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: City-Sized Benz

August 12, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Being a compact sedan, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is a good fit for L.A.'s cramped shopping center parking spots and older, private home garages. I was curious as to just how compact it is, so I used Edmunds' "Compare New Cars" feature. Turns out that at 182.3 inches in length the Benz is just two inches longer than a Mazda 3 sedan. At 70.0 inches wide, it is 0.7 inch skinnier than the 3. In terms of curb weight, the CLA is about 260 pounds heavier than a 3 Grand Touring automatic.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for July

August 8, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

For the month of July, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 travelled 1,773 miles. Much of those odometer clicks came via a camping trip taken by Video Producer John Calderwood.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Quick Trunk Release

August 1, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Mercedes, it seems, has an affinity for fast-acting trunk lids. The power-operated trunk on our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG closes fast, like really fast. Less than two seconds after pressing the button and it's shut. The trunk-lid on our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 however, needs to be closed manually. A power-closing trunk lid isn't even available. But when you press the remote to open it, the trunk springs open like a wound-up jack-in-the-box. Take the jump for the video.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Child Seat Won't Fit

July 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Our child safety seat will not fit in the back of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. This is a rare problem. In fact, our Cadillac ATS was the only other long-term vehicle that shared this flaw. Here's why it doesn't work...

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: A Lawnmower Fits

July 22, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

But just barely. It's just a smallish electric mower, not a bulky gas cutter. It should fit, I thought, in the smallish 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.

And it did, but not without some creative wiggling, shimmying and a swift kick.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Getting Gas, the Long Way

July 21, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I neglected to refuel the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 before embarking on the final leg of our road trip, mostly because I wanted to see how long I could go before the fuel warning light turned on.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Misaligned Trim Piece

July 18, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

This misaligned trim piece on the exterior door of our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is the only build quality hiccup we've encountered so far.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Cramped Pedal Box

July 16, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Other than perhaps the itty-bitty Lotus Elise, I can't remember I car that has given me the kind of trouble I'm having with our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.

My feet don't fit.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Small Car, Big Trunk

July 10, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is an incredibly small car for people, but amazingly spacious for luggage.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for June

July 07, 2014

2014 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

For the month of June we drove our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 942 miles of mixed city and highway driving. Our average fuel economy was 25.3 mpg for the month, which lowered our lifetime average by .1 mpg.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Accommodating Center Console

June 25, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

To those used to older Benzes with their floor-mounted gear selectors, Mercedes' new age column-mounted shifter as seen on our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 may seem really weird. And indeed, with its push-the-end-button to engage park operation, it can seem even more so at first. But it doesn't take long to get used to it and there is a benefit that most folks will likely appreciate on a daily basis.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Service A at 10,000 Miles

June 24, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Recently, the Service A light lit up in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. So we dropped it off at our neighborhood dealership, W.I. Simonson Mercedes-Benz. It was a gamble, showing up without an appointment, but we did. Here's how it went.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Engine Feels Better Than Ever

June 23, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I've had an extra dose of seat time in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 lately and the one thing that keeps jumping out at me is how strong its four-cylinder engine feels. In town, it launches the car away from lights effortlessly while highway passes barely seem to tax it at all. And all this with only 208 horsepower.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Needs Transmission and Ride Quality Improvements

June 17, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is the automaker's attempt at entering a new segment in North America.

It's my contention that they have more work to do.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: First Scheduled Maintenance

June 12, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

As I put the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250  in reverse, I thought I saw a flash of light out of the corner of my left eye. It was so fast, I wasn't sure, so I put the Benz back in Park and turned off the engine.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for May

June 6, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The month of May saw our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 cover more than 2,000 miles (2,197 miles, if you're scoring at home) and fractionally raising its average MPG along the way.

Do you want to know the details? Yeah you do. You want to know. 

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: 10,000 Miles

June 2, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

On the way home from super sunny San Bernardino this weekend, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 long-term test car crossed the 10,000-mile mark.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: CLA or BMW 3 Series?

May 29, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Several times during the past week I've heard a BMW radio commercial touting the benefits of the 3 Series over the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Carpool Savvy Nav

May 23, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

When our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 sedan's navigation system suggested that I enter the carpool lane, I was surprised. Granted it did so with a warning about knowing whether or not I met the current local restrictions, but still. It was the first time I've ever heard a nav specifically direct me to the carpool lane.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Post Road Trip Notes

May 22, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

You would have to be driving a real crap wagon to not enjoy scenery list this. Throw our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 into the mix and it gets pleasant to the extreme.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Smart Key, Dumb Locks

May 20, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

When a car costs $35,000 and has the "Premium Package," it isn't unreasonable to expect certain things. For example, I grabbed on the door handle on our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 and the door didn't open. The car was locked, but I expected it to have keyless entry since it had a smart key. Our CLA didn't have that feature, but I wondered what it would cost to add it.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Drivetrain Electronic Gremlins

May 16, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The day after our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 insisted its nav screen was being stolen, I discovered another (and certainly more alarming) quirk.

Here's what it did.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Anti-Theft Protection Gremlins

May 15, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I started up our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 the other day, plugged in my phone to charge it, and when I looked up I saw on the car's central screen: "Anti-theft protection activated. Service required."

Oh, really?

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Aftermarket Looks, Mercedes Performance

May 9, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

There's been quite a bit of talk about the navigation screen in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Some say it looks tacked on, like something you would get when you order up a rental car with a Garmin setup.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for April

May 7, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

We added 2,719 miles to our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 odometer in the month of April.

Most of those miles were put on by James Riswick, whose road trip to the Redwoods significantly improved our lifetime fuel economy number, raising it from 24.9 to 27.2. And this is despite the technical difficulties he experienced during his trip.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Wiring Harness Repair

April 30, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is back from the dealership following the ESC warning light that threatened to strand James in the boonies. So what happened?

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Wrap-Up

April 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

After 10 hours driving from Eureka home to Los Angeles, my 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 road trip to the Redwoods has come to an end. Along the way, I added 1,561 miles to the CLA's odometer and found that it's a far more enjoyable and comfortable car outside the congested confines of greater Los Angeles.

Here are some final notes from the trip.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Part 5

April 25, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Uh oh. Just as the Avenue of the Giants was coming to an end, the above warning illuminated in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250's instrument panel. Initially, I wasn't terribly concerned since it wasn't as if I really needed stability control.

However, as I started up and around the cloverleaf on-ramp from the Avenue of the Giants onto CA-101, I knew something more serious was going on.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Part 4

April 24, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

After reaching Eureka, my wife and I spent a day here doing some work before embarking on an evening at the Lost Coast Brewery. Seriously, if you're a beer fan, California's north coast is definitely a place to visit, and stops are far enough apart to allow you to spend a night staying close by to the respective brew pubs and tap rooms.

Anyway, my wife and I set out once again in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 to explore the Avenue of the Giants. This 31.5-mile stretch of two-lane road runs parallel to CA-101 and the Eel River, but does so through multiple groves of majestic redwood trees. Many are mere centimeters from the pavement, which often twists and turns to go around the 1,000-plus-year-old behemoths. There are multiple stopping opportunities for light hiking and countless photo ops.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwood Road Trip Part 3

April 23, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

My road trip up California's North Coast continued in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 as I headed north from Mendocino up to Eureka along some of the best and most spectacularly scenic roads in the country. It is here where California 1 (a.k.a. Pacific Coast Highway) comes to its northern end, meandering along the coast before turning inland and becoming a serious mountain road. In other cars, this surprisingly lengthy strip of serpentine road could be a tiresome chore, but the CLA's nimble handling, compact dimensions and punchy engine made it a wonderful way to spend a morning.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Part 2

April 22, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 behaved commendably in Part 1 of my journey up to California's North Coast a.k.a. the boring bit up Interstate 5. Now, it was time to take it on roads more conducive to its nimble nature and admittedly firm ride.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwood Road Trip Part 1

April 21, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I've been growing weary of the city. I'm tired of the traffic, the noise and the rude people. At the same time, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 hasn't exactly been at its best in Los Angeles — ceaseless complaints about its clunky transmission in traffic, its rough ride on the city's horrific roads and sub-EPA fuel economy.

It was time for both of us to get the heck out of Dodge, or rather, escape to the towering trees, fresh air and majestic views of California's North Coast.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Stop the Auto Stop-Start

April 18, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Automatic stop-start technology in cars is a divisive issue. On the one hand, it's a not-unpleasant experience to sit at a long red light with the engine off, enjoying a bit of quiet time. On the other hand, we've strived for years to make sure we DON'T stall out in traffic and having a car do that intentionally is really, really annoying.

Especially on my commute.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Arizona Road Trip

April 17, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I needed wheels to get to Arizona for a Hyundai press event drive, so Edmunds' Car Czar, Mike Schmidt, assigned me our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.

No problem, I had barely driven the new Mercedes and wanted to spend some quality behind-the-wheel time in it anyway.

Here are some thoughts from the 800-mile, almost-all-highway road trip:

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: 5,000-Mile Update

April 16, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

We hit the 5,000-mile mark in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 just before heading out on a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona to drive the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan.

So far the little Mercedes has been running pretty well, aside from two weird, very-early-on issues: a check-engine light and a squeaky Comand screen, both of which occurred when the car had less than 1,000 miles on the odometer.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Rearview Camera Blackout

April 15, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Rearview (or backup, if you prefer) cameras are great. Though I still use the mirrors as well, especially when parallel parking, the camera takes away a lot of the stress and allows you to park with uncanny precision. This is especially valuable here in L.A., where many parking spaces seem to be of substandard width. The system in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is a fine example of the breed, with a sharp image and handy guide lines. Travis recently did a post highlighting all of its handy features.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 3, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

During the month of March we covered 1,172 miles in our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. We averaged 25.7 mpg for the month, which upped the Merc's lifetime average fuel economy to 24.9, from the previous 24.7.

But we continue to struggle to meet the EPA's ratings for the car of 30 mpg combined (26 city/38 highway).

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