2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

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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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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: We Found a Semi-Useful Display

March 11, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that the fuel economy of our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is a hot topic. We're continually striving to improve it. Well, some of us are. I've been driving it for a few days in the default Eco mode, both the transmission setting as well as the auto stop-start functions.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Does this Climate Control Button Mean Anything?

March 10, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I wonder why nobody has said anything yet about the recirculation button in our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Do you see it? Click to the next page to see what I mean.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Is It a Good Value?

March 7, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Janis Joplin sang, "Oh lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?" Well, if Janis were alive today she might not even need the good lord's help. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 starts at $30,825 (with destination). And our car, with its well-chosen extras, still checked in at a seemingly quite reasonable $35,495. That's not much scratch for a luxury-branded car these days.

But I was curious to learn more on whether this represented a solid value for an entry-level luxury sedan or if you're paying a price premium to get that three-pointed star in the grille. Here are my thoughts.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 5, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Despite somebody's best efforts to do the opposite (with a 16-mpg fill-up), the average fuel economy of our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 inched ever closer to the official EPA city estimate in February.

We added a commendable 1,200 miles since the last update, yet our car is still struggling to make the hoped-for numbers.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Coupe Styling Makes for Limited Rearward Visibility

February 26, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Do you see that? That's the rearward view from the driver's seat of the Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Credit the lack of scenery to the sloping roofline and gargantuan C-pillars. It's the price you pay for the CLA's exterior style.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Long-Distance Driving Impressions

February 25, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

We've yet to take our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 on any really long road trips, like we have with our Corvette Stingray. But I have done a couple of 250-mile trips in the CLA250. Here are some thoughts on the CLA250 as a long-distance companion.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: I Like Its Four-Cylinder Engine

February 24, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

When you think of Mercedes-Benz engines, the first ones to come to mind are likely the monster AMG V8s and V12s gracing flagship cars like the S-Class or SLS AMG. So how about fuel-economy-minded, small-displacement four-cylinders from Mercedes? Yeah, not so much.

And sure enough, the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine found in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 will never achieve anything close to legendary status. This is an engine that's like your dishwasher: It's there to simply get the job done. But it's still a Mercedes engine, and it gets the job done quite well, thank you.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Booster and Child Safety Seats

February 21, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

If you're thinking about purchasing a small entry-level luxury sedan like a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, I'd guess that a family-friendly back seat isn't one of your priorities. Still, there are times when a CLA might have to be used to transport young children. Here are some observations about installing child safety seats in our long-term CLA250's back seat.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Not Much Headroom in Back

February 19, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

You didn't think Mercedes could get away with a roofline like the 2014 CLA250's and not have a downside did ya? Well, here's what you have to live with in the back seat. Not much headroom and a tight squeeze to get in thanks to the small door openings.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: It's Worth Stretching for the Sport Package

February 17, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

As base models go, the 2014 Mercedes CLA250's wheels aren't bad. They have a sturdy, chiseled appearance that makes them look expensive, and the two-tone coloring helps, too.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Tight Pedal Box

February 13, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Generally speaking, there are two types of drivers: those who pick their foot up to transfer from gas to brake, and those who pivot off of their heel to get from pedal to pedal.

I fall into the latter category and happen to wear a size 12. This isn't ideal with the CLA.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Perfect Steering Wheel

February 7, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

You can't underestimate the importance of a car's steering wheel. After all, you're in constant contact with this vital piece of equipment. And the wheel in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 looks and feels just right for me.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Nice Space Saving Trick

February 6, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

This is the transmission lever in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. It's a small stalk on the right side of the steering wheel and it does take some getting used to. Various cars from different manufacturers have tried such a setup over the years, but not many have stuck with it.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

In November's fuel-economy update for the 2014 Mercedes CLA250, Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds wrote that he was concerned about the CLA's ability to hit its EPA ratings during real-world testing.

Two thousand miles later, it seems Dan's theory may be holding true. Although our CLA250 achieved 36.7 mpg for one fill-up, it's still holding below 25 mpg for its life-time average.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Standard Memory Front Seats

January 30, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Although we bought our 2014 Mercedes CLA with the Premium and Multimedia packages, it certainly wasn't necessary. Despite what you might expect, the base CLA250 comes reasonably well-equipped. One of the highlights is the standard eight-way power front seats with three memory settings.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: No Rear Center Armrest

January 29, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

You do not buy the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA for its back seat. The legroom is acceptable, but the sloped roofline will leave you slouching. Frankly, that's OK. For many, including myself, a back seat is an occasional-use feature. The fact that it exists, and that its rear doors gain access to it, are sufficient. If you need more, buy something with headroom and the blockier styling that goes with it.

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