Smart Key, Dumb Locks - 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Smart Key, Dumb Locks

May 20, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

When a car costs $35,000 and has the "Premium Package," it isn't unreasonable to expect certain things. For example, I grabbed on the door handle on our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 and the door didn't open. The car was locked, but I expected it to have keyless entry since it had a smart key. Our CLA didn't have that feature, but I wondered what it would cost to add it.

I figured that keyless entry was available in another package or that it was a standalone option. It isn't. You can't get keyless entry on the 2014 CLA 250. The less expensive Acura ILX has it standard on all trim levels. The Audi A3 is a more closely matched competitor to the CLA, and offers keyless entry as part of the $2,900 Premium Plus package. The A3 has a few other standard features that the CLA doesn't and that is partly why it won our recent comparison test.

If I were to buy a luxury car, there would be certain things I'd expect that would be deal breakers if missing. Keyless entry, sunroof, and Xenon lights are at the top of my list. Our CLA doesn't have any of these. I can rectify the latter two with option packages, but I'd need to look elsewhere for keyless entry.

Is the lack of keyless entry a deal breaker for you?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 8,964 miles


  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    My (admittedly more plebeian) Focus has keyless entry. Sometimes rain or extreme cold (or my forgetting that I left the fob in the house) foil the process. But I too have gotten used to it, so when it's missing, it's an obvious oversight.

  • miata52 miata52 Posts:

    I never thought I would, but yes, it's a must have now. I hate walking up to a car and having to dig around my pocket to get the keys out.

  • jeepsrt jeepsrt Posts:

    I had it on my '11 Jeep Overland and don't have it on my '12 F-150. I don't miss it since on my 2 minute walk out from work I have plenty of time to get my key out and unlock the door.

  • 330i_zhp 330i_zhp Posts:

    Considering how cheap you can get some of those aftermarket Key Entry packages (albeit at the sacrifice of quality), I'm shocked that it isn't standard on any car over $20k. Every "luxury" car should have this, IMO.

  • gloss gloss Posts:

    My Fiesta ST has keyless entry.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    i don't like sunroofs so that is not a dealbreaker for me and keyless entry i guess it depends on the price for 35k i guess not but considering that it is such an expensive car for a sub compact ( or is it just a compact?) it does seem like an oversight considering the numbers of cars that cost similer money (or much less) that have it. It wouldent be a dealbreaker for me because i'm not lazy but i can understand why somone would consider it a must have feature. one of my only dealbreakers for me as far as cars are considered is heated side mirrors it is amazing the number of cars that don't have this simple feature! or how many cars bundle this simple feature in a very expensive all inclusive package that bundles it with a bunch of crap i don't want/need. i must be one of the only persons who enjoy a relatively spartan interior as long as the seats are comfy and i have a nice radio (again something that is usually bundled with junk) im pretty much set as far as technology/creature comforts are concerned.

  • gloss, does the Focus ST have just regular keyless entry where you push a button on the fob to unlock the doors or is the advanced or (smart) setup where you just walk up with the fob in your pocket and the door unlocks when you grab the handle?

  • @zimtheinvader: I don't know about the Focus, but my Dodge Journey has "Keyless enter & go", where you touch the handle to unlock, and push the button to start. So yeah, I would just naturally expect a Mercedes to have it (then again, Detr

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I also don't like sunroofs, so that is a non-issue for me. Keyless entry is nice, but lack thereof is not a deal breaker. I'll even take halogen lights with a decent beam pattern.

  • natt_ natt_ Posts:

    I do miss having Keyless Entry feature and the push start button, but I gotta say Mercedes has the best looking key remote that I ever owned (from Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, BMW, and VW). It's like a jewelry to me.

  • ek900 ek900 Posts:

    This is probably just my experience with it (on a rental Ford), but I didn't really enjoy keyless entry, as it got triggered when I was near the car but didn't want to enter (sitting outside at a restaurant). Which set me about to digging around for the key anyway. I'm pretty sure that it was working "as designed" but then the design wasn't great. At another time, I found the unlocking didn't activate until just a hair AFTER I'd grabbed the handle and hit the lock resistance....which was its own annoyance. So (for now), none of these items would be must haves for me in a 30K car. But this Mercedes probably wouldn't make the list anyway, as in my neck of the woods they are becoming the new Prius (you see them everywhere you look), and the styling is getting worse every time I look at it.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    I'll keep my steel keys please.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    @zimtheinvader - The Focus ST has the type with sensors in the handle, so it's able to detect the presence of your hand and unlock (if you're not too quick on the draw). It works fine in most circumstances, but can give me trouble in the rain/snow/ice, o

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    @gloss - How do you like the Fiesta ST?

  • nagant nagant Posts:

    The CLA is a luxury car? Says who? Just because it has a star on the grill does not mean its a luxury car.

  • autoboy16 autoboy16 Posts:

    You would think it would be a standard feature in most cars now. Its been around long enough thats for sure. Plus most fobs are electronic to the point where you no longer have to even hold a key anymore to start.

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