2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwood Road Trip Part 1
April 21, 2014
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.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor in Santa Rosa, Calif. @ 6,592 miles