2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test


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.

The journey thus far has taken the CLA, my wife and I to an overnight stop in Santa Rosa in the Sonoma Valley, with two nights in the Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino and four nights in Eureka coming up. Amongst these stops are some of my favorite roads in the world: twisting, meandering, lined in Redwoods and/or within view of pristine coast.

To get there, however, I decided to take the express route up Interstate 5. For those of you who haven't been treated to this thoroughfare, it's more or less arrow straight, lined in seemingly endless farm fields and/or within view of miserable cattle. Also, the pavement can be truly awful at times. Although much has been recently repaved, much of the right lane remains nearly undriveable, as is pulverized daily by an endless train of semi-tractor trailers. It pains me, but I spend a great deal of these stretches parked in the passing lane.

Frankly, I was concerned that I'd be cursing the CLA and its firm ride on I-5. Thankfully, though, it wasn't as bad as I feared. Once again, I found myself comparing the CLA to a hot hatch like the GTI or a more softly tuned Focus ST. It's far from punishing, but you do feel more jiggles or shakes than you would in a more luxuriously sprung luxury car. I didn't really mind it.

I'll have more updates on trunk space, seat comfort, and entertainment options as my journey in the CLA continues. Also, I'm hoping its fuel economy improves, as I only managed 33.7 mpg from Los Angeles to about Oakland. Now, it was a bit windy and I was moving at an appropriately high speed on I-5's 70-mph zone, so perhaps my current tank and subsequent ones in the slower coastal stretches will get me closer to that 37 mpg EPA highway number.

Stay tuned.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor in Santa Rosa, Calif. @ 6,592 miles

Comments

  • banhugh banhugh Posts:

    37 mpg EPA highway for a 200 hp, 3400 lbs non hubrid sedan was (is?) crazy a few years ago. A 2008 Accord with 190 hp and similar weight would barely make 32 mpg. I consider 33.7 a really good number regardless of the EPA rating.

  • I guess I can't fault car companies for 'gaming' the EPA mileage system. It is a bit like being angry at big companies for using the tax loopholes that are in the system. It would seem odd if MB said in their ads "expect around 34 on the highway" rather than "rated at 37" But at the same time it really does seem like too many companies tune and program their cars specifically to do well on the treadmill and so they don't hold up in real life.

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