2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Sold to CarMax

December 10, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

There's a car-buying strategy that says if you go to the dealership on a rainy day, you'll have the place to yourself and can drive a sweet deal. Everyone else will be at home, so the theory goes, trying to stay dry.

I asked a salesman about this once and he said it wasn't true at his store: Rainy days were some of the busiest days in the showroom, since everyone believes they're they only ones willing to brave the elements. But that was at a new car dealership. Would the lonely-rainy-day phenomenon prove true at CarMax? I took the long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 there to find out.

But before I myth-bust the rainy day theory, let's talk about the offer we got from CarMax (on a sunny day). The CLA was year old and a couple hundred miles shy of 20,000. The Edmunds trade-in value was estimated at $26,060. I had a feeling the CLA would get a strong offer from CarMax. In general, luxury vehicles tend to have high resale value. We didn't go crazy with the options when we bought the car and white is a fairly popular color (for better or worse).

Plus, CarMax always parks its luxury cars in the front row and they are the first things you see when you step out onto the car lot. Our CLA would make an excellent, reasonably priced addition to the front line.

Take a guess on the CarMax offer before moving onto the next paragraph.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: A Disappointing Year

November 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I did not put the key to our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 back on the car board this morning. Rather, it went into the hand of Ron Montoya, consumer advice editor and car buying/selling extraordinaire, signifying the end of the CLA's year in our fleet. To put it simply, it's been a disappointing year.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Defaults to Weak-O

November 24, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

You might love start-stop, you might hate it, but it's here to stay as long as the EPA incentivizes it. At least you can turn it off. But the bigger annoyance is that our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 defaults to Eco mode every time you start up. First you tap the Eco button to disable start-stop, then the E/S/M button to get Sport mode. Weak.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: The Worst Option. Ever.

September 30, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The illuminated star. It's one of many options available to the potential buyer of a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, and is thankfully one that our own long-termer lacks. I don't have the vocabulary to sufficiently describe what I think about this $480 option without getting unprofessional, so I'll just say I don't like it and leave it at that.

But don't take my word for it, here's what Mercedes-Benz has to say.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Difficult Child Seat Install

September 26, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Last weekend I installed two Britax child seats in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. The car's lower (LATCH, ISOFIX) anchors are exposed so that part was easy and secure. However, the top tether, which is located behind the rear headrests, was more difficult.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Road Tripping and Fuel Economy

September 25, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I drove our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 almost 900 miles round trip this week from Southern California to Palo Alto and back. Took the long way up the 101 instead of tolerating the inane behavior on the 5 freeway.

The CLA is a solid road trip companion. Mostly.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Good at Finding Gas Stations

September 24, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Possibly you remember that I like to push my luck when it comes to refueling. Our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 doesn't, however. Its distance-to-empty readout told me I had about 30 miles remaining before it switched to the less-precise "Low Fuel Level" warning.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Is It a Luxury Bargain or a Cut-Rate Compromise?

September 23, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I can't decide whether or not I like our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Sometimes I get in and I feel like a proud 20/30-something working my way up the corporate ladder. If this were my first luxury purchase, I'd be happy to tell my friends all about it. I'd get it washed and waxed on the weekends, and take it on road trips for no reason. Other times, I look closer and notice compromises in materials quality, seemingly made to keep the starting price of this Merc under $30,000.  

Here's a few things I notice almost every time I drive the CLA250 that make it feel common, as well as a list of things that make it feel pretty snazzy.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: First Aid Kit

September 17, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 has a first aid kit that resides in its trunk. Though you'll not be setting up a roadside triage center with this kit, it's reasonably comprehensive and includes 10 normal-sized band aids, four extra-large band aids, 8 gauze pads and a whole lot more, including scissors.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: 15,000 Miles

August 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

After 9 months in our long-term fleet, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 hit 15,000 miles and with three months to go in our test, we're exactly on target to hit our goal of 20,000 miles.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Upgrade From a Hot Hatch?

August 21, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The owner of the dry cleaner shop I frequent owns the VW GTI in the above photo. He was pretty interested in Edmunds' 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 after I had stopped to pick up some clothes. Specifically, his lease for the GTI ends in the fall. That got me wondering: If you own a "hot hatch" like a GTI, is the CLA250 a viable step up?

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: A Car You Could Be Proud To Bring Home

August 15, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I've had the opportunity to drive our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 a respectable amount recently, and that's given me added perspective on what it would be like to own. Beyond the various observations we've written about so far, I think the CLA lives up to its promise of being a car that's more prestigious than your typical workaday sedans.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Low Tire Pressure. Or Not?

August 14, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Not soon after I left our Edmunds editorial offices for the day in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class the car's tire pressure warning light illuminated. "Oh great," I thought. "I probably drove over a nail or something, so one of the tires has a leak. There goes my afternoon."

Thankfully, the CLA's gauge cluster display also has a readout for individual tire pressures. That's considerably more useful than just having the one "exclamation point in a tire" warning light, which is all you get in a lot of cars. I brought that tire display on the screen to see what was going on. Oddly, the display indicated that both the rear tires were low.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: City-Sized Benz

August 12, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Being a compact sedan, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is a good fit for L.A.'s cramped shopping center parking spots and older, private home garages. I was curious as to just how compact it is, so I used Edmunds' "Compare New Cars" feature. Turns out that at 182.3 inches in length the Benz is just two inches longer than a Mazda 3 sedan. At 70.0 inches wide, it is 0.7 inch skinnier than the 3. In terms of curb weight, the CLA is about 260 pounds heavier than a 3 Grand Touring automatic.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fuel Economy Update for July

August 8, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

For the month of July, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 travelled 1,773 miles. Much of those odometer clicks came via a camping trip taken by Video Producer John Calderwood.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Quick Trunk Release

August 1, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Mercedes, it seems, has an affinity for fast-acting trunk lids. The power-operated trunk on our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG closes fast, like really fast. Less than two seconds after pressing the button and it's shut. The trunk-lid on our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 however, needs to be closed manually. A power-closing trunk lid isn't even available. But when you press the remote to open it, the trunk springs open like a wound-up jack-in-the-box. Take the jump for the video.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Misaligned Trim Piece

July 18, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

This misaligned trim piece on the exterior door of our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is the only build quality hiccup we've encountered so far.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Accommodating Center Console

June 25, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

To those used to older Benzes with their floor-mounted gear selectors, Mercedes' new age column-mounted shifter as seen on our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 may seem really weird. And indeed, with its push-the-end-button to engage park operation, it can seem even more so at first. But it doesn't take long to get used to it and there is a benefit that most folks will likely appreciate on a daily basis.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Needs Transmission and Ride Quality Improvements

June 17, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is the automaker's attempt at entering a new segment in North America.

It's my contention that they have more work to do.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: 10,000 Miles

June 2, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

On the way home from super sunny San Bernardino this weekend, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 long-term test car crossed the 10,000-mile mark.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: CLA or BMW 3 Series?

May 29, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Several times during the past week I've heard a BMW radio commercial touting the benefits of the 3 Series over the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Carpool Savvy Nav

May 23, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

When our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 sedan's navigation system suggested that I enter the carpool lane, I was surprised. Granted it did so with a warning about knowing whether or not I met the current local restrictions, but still. It was the first time I've ever heard a nav specifically direct me to the carpool lane.

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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.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Drivetrain Electronic Gremlins

May 16, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The day after our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 insisted its nav screen was being stolen, I discovered another (and certainly more alarming) quirk.

Here's what it did.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Anti-Theft Protection Gremlins

May 15, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I started up our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 the other day, plugged in my phone to charge it, and when I looked up I saw on the car's central screen: "Anti-theft protection activated. Service required."

Oh, really?

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Aftermarket Looks, Mercedes Performance

May 9, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

There's been quite a bit of talk about the navigation screen in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Some say it looks tacked on, like something you would get when you order up a rental car with a Garmin setup.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Wrap-Up

April 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

After 10 hours driving from Eureka home to Los Angeles, my 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 road trip to the Redwoods has come to an end. Along the way, I added 1,561 miles to the CLA's odometer and found that it's a far more enjoyable and comfortable car outside the congested confines of greater Los Angeles.

Here are some final notes from the trip.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Part 5

April 25, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Uh oh. Just as the Avenue of the Giants was coming to an end, the above warning illuminated in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250's instrument panel. Initially, I wasn't terribly concerned since it wasn't as if I really needed stability control.

However, as I started up and around the cloverleaf on-ramp from the Avenue of the Giants onto CA-101, I knew something more serious was going on.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Part 4

April 24, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

After reaching Eureka, my wife and I spent a day here doing some work before embarking on an evening at the Lost Coast Brewery. Seriously, if you're a beer fan, California's north coast is definitely a place to visit, and stops are far enough apart to allow you to spend a night staying close by to the respective brew pubs and tap rooms.

Anyway, my wife and I set out once again in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 to explore the Avenue of the Giants. This 31.5-mile stretch of two-lane road runs parallel to CA-101 and the Eel River, but does so through multiple groves of majestic redwood trees. Many are mere centimeters from the pavement, which often twists and turns to go around the 1,000-plus-year-old behemoths. There are multiple stopping opportunities for light hiking and countless photo ops.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwood Road Trip Part 3

April 23, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

My road trip up California's North Coast continued in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 as I headed north from Mendocino up to Eureka along some of the best and most spectacularly scenic roads in the country. It is here where California 1 (a.k.a. Pacific Coast Highway) comes to its northern end, meandering along the coast before turning inland and becoming a serious mountain road. In other cars, this surprisingly lengthy strip of serpentine road could be a tiresome chore, but the CLA's nimble handling, compact dimensions and punchy engine made it a wonderful way to spend a morning.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Redwoods Road Trip Part 2

April 22, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

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.

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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.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Arizona Road Trip

April 17, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I needed wheels to get to Arizona for a Hyundai press event drive, so Edmunds' Car Czar, Mike Schmidt, assigned me our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.

No problem, I had barely driven the new Mercedes and wanted to spend some quality behind-the-wheel time in it anyway.

Here are some thoughts from the 800-mile, almost-all-highway road trip:

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: 5,000-Mile Update

April 16, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

We hit the 5,000-mile mark in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 just before heading out on a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona to drive the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan.

So far the little Mercedes has been running pretty well, aside from two weird, very-early-on issues: a check-engine light and a squeaky Comand screen, both of which occurred when the car had less than 1,000 miles on the odometer.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Rearview Camera Blackout

April 15, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Rearview (or backup, if you prefer) cameras are great. Though I still use the mirrors as well, especially when parallel parking, the camera takes away a lot of the stress and allows you to park with uncanny precision. This is especially valuable here in L.A., where many parking spaces seem to be of substandard width. The system in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is a fine example of the breed, with a sharp image and handy guide lines. Travis recently did a post highlighting all of its handy features.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Hold Feature

March 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Here's a feature that I bet most Mercedes owners aren't even aware is included on their car. There isn't even a button to indicate its presence. When you come to a stop, simply push the brake pedal unnecessarily forward in its travel. The word "HOLD" will appear in the trip computer and the car will automatically apply the brakes to keep you in place. This allows you to rest your foot/ankle or prime it above the accelerator.

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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?

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: We Found a Semi-Useful Display

March 11, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that the fuel economy of our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is a hot topic. We're continually striving to improve it. Well, some of us are. I've been driving it for a few days in the default Eco mode, both the transmission setting as well as the auto stop-start functions.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Does this Climate Control Button Mean Anything?

March 10, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I wonder why nobody has said anything yet about the recirculation button in our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Do you see it? Click to the next page to see what I mean.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Is It a Good Value?

March 7, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Janis Joplin sang, "Oh lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?" Well, if Janis were alive today she might not even need the good lord's help. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 starts at $30,825 (with destination). And our car, with its well-chosen extras, still checked in at a seemingly quite reasonable $35,495. That's not much scratch for a luxury-branded car these days.

But I was curious to learn more on whether this represented a solid value for an entry-level luxury sedan or if you're paying a price premium to get that three-pointed star in the grille. Here are my thoughts.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Coupe Styling Makes for Limited Rearward Visibility

February 26, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Do you see that? That's the rearward view from the driver's seat of the Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Credit the lack of scenery to the sloping roofline and gargantuan C-pillars. It's the price you pay for the CLA's exterior style.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: It's Worth Stretching for the Sport Package

February 17, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

As base models go, the 2014 Mercedes CLA250's wheels aren't bad. They have a sturdy, chiseled appearance that makes them look expensive, and the two-tone coloring helps, too.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Perfect Steering Wheel

February 7, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

You can't underestimate the importance of a car's steering wheel. After all, you're in constant contact with this vital piece of equipment. And the wheel in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 looks and feels just right for me.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Nice Space Saving Trick

February 6, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

This is the transmission lever in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. It's a small stalk on the right side of the steering wheel and it does take some getting used to. Various cars from different manufacturers have tried such a setup over the years, but not many have stuck with it.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Exterior Styling Inspired by the CLS550

January 28, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The window line on our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is one of my favorite parts of its design. The long sloping rear window and the pillar-less doors make for a smooth character line along the rear of the car and it looks quite a bit like a baby CLS-Class.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: New Mercedes Cruise Control

January 20, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Back in June, I praised the cruise controls in our departed Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster. I appreciated the stalk's location above the turn signal, but clearly I was in the minority since this long-standing Mercedes set-up has been changed from the M-Class onward. This includes our long-term 2014 Mercedes CLA250.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Transmission Error

December 19, 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I might be in the minority here, but I am not a fan of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in our 2014 Mercedes CLA250.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Small Luxury Alternatives

December 18, 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I have a senior friend who currently drives a Nissan Murano. When she took her Murano is for repairs recently, she received a Volkswagen Jetta as a loaner. She loved how much easier it was for her to drive and park.

She asked me to help her find a car that would be similar in size to the Jetta but more luxurious.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Handsome or Not?

November 21, 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

When I was driving our long-term 2013 Mercedes CLA250, I had several people tell me they think the car is handsome.

But I've seen a couple of you commenting otherwise.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: The Buying Landscape

November 15, 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is one of the most researched models on Edmunds.com. This meant that it was a no-brainer for us to add it to the long-term fleet. My marching orders were simple: "Buy a CLA and keep it under $35,000."

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