2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

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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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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Decoding the Rearview Camera

March 31, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

These are the distance lines on the rearview camera display in our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Initially, I had no idea what they meant. White lines, red dots, yellow hash marks and full width yellow lines create an image that looks more like a football field than a parking grid. But once I decided to stop being lazy and read the manual, they became pretty helpful.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Hold Feature

March 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Here's a feature that I bet most Mercedes owners aren't even aware is included on their car. There isn't even a button to indicate its presence. When you come to a stop, simply push the brake pedal unnecessarily forward in its travel. The word "HOLD" will appear in the trip computer and the car will automatically apply the brakes to keep you in place. This allows you to rest your foot/ankle or prime it above the accelerator.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: The Case for MBTex

March 26, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

My mother was recently shopping for a new compact crossover and briefly considered the Mercedes-Benz GLK350. When finding out that leather was not standard, she was dismayed. Even when I presented the argument for the standard MBTex premium vinyl upholstery I'm about to share with you, there was simply no way around the notion that luxury cars must have leather and it must be standard. It's a notion that's certainly prevalent, but not one to which I adhere.

Nevertheless, here is my case for MBTex found in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 long-term car and many other Mercedes models.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: It Is Possible To Beat EPA Estimates, But Only for a Little While

March 13, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Granted, we've yet to validate the onboard fuel economy calculator in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, but for now, we're going to say it works. Why? Because we've been struggling even to meet the EPA's city estimate of 26 mpg, so seeing the display report 39.8 mpg was a cause for celebration. The EPA says we should be able to earn 38 mpg on the highway.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Is This Acceptable Cost Savings?

March 12, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

As we all know, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 doesn't really roll out the dealership doors at that often-quoted "$29,900." Still, there must be signs that this Mercedes-Benz has been built to a price rather than a standard. Do you see it?

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