2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Part 2
April 22, 2014
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.
California Highway 128 between the 101 in Cloverdale and CA-1 near Mendocino is easily one of my favorite roads. There are tight, twisting mountain bits that meander down into the Anderson Valley and long sweepers through groves of towering redwoods as you approach the coast. To be honest, I was enjoying myself too much to pause for a photo, as the CLA's responsive steering, compact dimensions and punchy turbo-4 kept me happily engaged and moving along at a brisk pace. The same dual-clutch transmission that causes headaches in traffic is more in its zone on such roads, as its paddle shifters quickly engage and hold lower gears when going up and down hills.
As I sit here in the charming Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino (pictured) pondering our drive thus far, I must say that I'm really enjoying the CLA. It's the perfect size for a couple to take on a road trip, it has power, it's getting decent fuel economy, and it isn't flummoxed when I present it roads that aren't straight. The seats are quite simply fantastic and the menu of media options have kept us entertained.
I'm looking forward to the coming days driving further up the coast and through much bigger redwood forests.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor in Mendocino, Calif. @ 6,715 miles