Is This Acceptable Cost Savings? - 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test
ADVERTISEMENT

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

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?

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

There it is. Would you care if the CLA250 has a prop-rod instead of a strut? Do you think most Mercedes drivers would know what that means? Honestly, we imagine most owners of this car will never, ever pop the hood, much less reach for the thingy that keeps it from hitting them in the head. No harm, no foul.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor


Comments

  • se_riously se_riously Posts:

    I care more about a strut supporting the trunk lid than I do about a strut supporting the hood, since the goosenecks always take away useful trunk space. My Toyota Camry uses struts for the hood, but goosenecks for the trunk lid.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    I'm guessing this isn't going to matter one bit. The CLA is a huge success and they're going to sell a ton of them. The biggest problem posed by the comprimises made to the CLA in the name of packaging, efficiency, price, etc. will not be for the CLA but for the brand. When you look at the CLA you might say it's worth $10K more than a Focus or Mazda3 or Impreza or Cruze, etc. But when your volume seller is a FWD compact sedan, how do you maintain brand's reputation for exclusivity, luxury and refinement? You need that reputation to sell things like the S Class, etc.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    If I recall correctly didn't the LFA have a prop-rod for the hood? A carbon fiber prop-rod, but a prop-rod none the less.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @legacygt, The CLA is nowhere near MB's volume seller and is never expected to be. Currently, it's sales totals are far behind the C-Class, E-Class, and M-Class and not that much higher than the S-Class. A car this small is designed for a single niche in

  • jli585 jli585 Posts:

    It was one of the many cost-cutting measures I noticed when I test drove the car. Top-hinged accelerator pedal was another. You really pay a premium for the looks on this car though, because it's still not that cheap. With the negotiating room and incentives on the 320i, you can get a similarly-equipped car for almost the same price. You'd get a similar level of brand prestige, better driving dynamics, and less obvious cost-cutting.

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    All the tech in the world, and nothing is better a than a stick (rod) to keep your engine hood up.

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    Yeah, I would have a problem with that. Hell, I think it is inappropriate on my Passat. I am used to European cars and this is one of the reasons I keep buying them -- not to have to deal with a hood prop. Pathetic.

  • yellowbal yellowbal Posts:

    Hood struts will fail over time. The stick will almost never fail.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    This strikes me as one of those "how much money can they really have saved" things. I totally agree that most buyers will never open the hood anyway (does this car have an oil dipstick?). But still it's small details like struts for the hood and trunk lid that justify the cost of an 'entry level' Mercedes or BMW over the more pedestrian VW.

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    I think this thing is ghastly ugly and wouldn't buy one anyway but if I were in the market, the prop rod wouldn't bother me for a number of reasons including: 1) a prop-rod doesn't wear out and always works. Struts fail. 2) I would hope that on a brand new car I'd only actually prop the hood every once in a blue moon. 3) I'd rather the automaker spend the incremental $ on more important facets of the car and/or pass along the savings to me the buyer.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    since you don't need to open the hood to check the oil, only add washer fluid, this is no big deal. But funny how many comments such a simple post brought!

  • bobinsepa bobinsepa Posts:

    I agree with vvk. We replaced the hood strut on our 2003 Passat wagon after ten years and 110K miles. The new strut cost us $18 and my wife and I installed the new one in less than 15 minutes. About a week later I was checking out a $37K Acura TSX Sportwagen (Euro Honda) when I noticed it used a hood prop. I asked the salesman why not a strut and he said it was to eliminate the labor and material costs involved in replacing a strut. I laughed and told him of my recent maintenance costs. The bottom line is I think a prop looks cheesy. So between the prop and lack of a spare tire I crossed the TSX off my list of possible Passat replacements.

  • Doesn't bother me in the least. And, I'd bet MB charges more than $18 for a new hood strut...

  • linard76_ linard76_ Posts:

    Unfortunately, this would annoy me as Mercedes previously used counter balanced springs to hold up the hood which never wore out like struts would. And I still don't understand the fascination with struts for the trunk lid. Mercedes gooseneck hinges allow for the trunk to smoothly and completely open with the keyless remote and are tucked into the side of the trunk and retract into openings so that cargo cannot be crushed. The CL and S from two generations ago used struts which kept them from completely opening wirelessly without the power assistance.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I reject the assertion that most owners of these cars won't ever raise the hood, Chris Walton - you need to get out of Southern California every so often, sounds to me, and go somewhere the customer base for this car is not restricted to spoiled female college freshmen. My $30,000 GTI has a strut, but the base $25,000 model also has a strut. My wife's $39,000 Sienna Limited has a prop rod. Go figure. And I just a couple of months ago replaced the hatch struts on my 2003 SVT Focus - I didn't get too worked up about the $25 and 20 minutes it cost me to do it, after 10.5 years and 110,000 miles of use, so this speculation that the struts are a notorious wear point and failure "risk"...please.

  • 10 years and 100k miles is pretty good. Never replacing it is nice as well. Apparently the hood prop is a major deal breaker for some people, so obviously this is not a simple, mundane, irrelevant topic.

  • cwc1 cwc1 Posts:

    A prop rod instead of struts says cheapo to me, especially on a supposed luxury car. A self supporting hood is just plain easier and also seems classier, compared to the number of cars which now use prop rods. Also, before struts, most American cars used springs, which would last the life if the vehicle, whether that life was 10, 20, or more years. Modern spring designs aren't even that much heavier. I doubt that the manufacturer even saves that much, but this is a case of a little extra money spent going a long way toward conveying a sense of quality.

  • Who cares if a car has a prop rod rather than struts? The hood is probably the least frequently opened part of any car. A prop rod, struts, or counter-balanced springs are almost never seen by anybody. I open the hood on my car to change my oil and add washer fluid. Considering how infrequently a hood is open every year, I don't care if it's propped open by twigs...

  • on a logical level I agree with cjasis, but I do think they risk something by cutting corners. The goal, I'd think, with the CLA is to get people hooked on Mercedes so that they want one for their next car. For that to happen the little things that you don't notice have to add up to an impressive package that says "I'm worth the money" and "don't you want to step up to an even more expensive model". If people are mostly buying for the name it is probably fine and they won't notice but if they are buying for the MB experience then it might hit them on a subconscious level that they are missing out a bit.

  • ocramidajzj ocramidajzj Posts:

    I'm in the camp that it's one of those "intangibles" that adds to the pride of ownership and attention to detail. If European cars start "underbuilding" to compete with the Japanese, then they will be no more than badge engineered cars. Why put up with the additional service costs of European cars if you can't have these small delightful features? Every time I check the oil on my Golf R I enjoy not having to fumble for the damned prop. It's really no different than the positive feeling I get opening and closing the doors or changing a tire. Some people call it over engineering, I call it attention to detail. BTW, in previous cars I've owned the retention clip for the prop would break after a few years, causing the rod to rattle around. I'd rather replace the pistons and know the hood was going to stay up than deal with a cheapo piece of plastic. IMO.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    considering how short and light the hood is no harm no fowl

Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Past Long-Term Road Tests

ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411