Performance - 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

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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: Likes to Go Fast

November 21, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

My first time behind the wheel of the controversial 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 found me driving up to Willow Springs International Raceway, a distance of about 100 miles. It's mainly freeway driving and I was lucky to be going against traffic. Not only did I get to pass miles of stopped traffic going the other way, but I was free to pick my speed — carefully. This car likes to go fast. And in such a well-insulated car, you don't want the first indication of your speed to be flashing lights in your rearview mirror.

As I drove, I thought of the mixed bag of comments this Mercedes has received. I agree with those who love this engine. It's hard to believe it's just a four-cylinder. And being front-wheel drive, while it flies in the face of Mercedes tradition, doesn't detract from the fun factor. But then I began to consider what I had read about the ride quality.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Rough Rider

November 18, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I imagine this is the view that Mercedes marketers want many of its new customers to see: a downtown cityscape from behind the wheel of a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Notes for Seniors

October 22, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I went to dinner with a friend of mine who is in her 70s. She's a very fashionable French lady and is interested in getting a new car. She currently drives a Nissan Murano that she used for her business, but she doesn't need something that large anymore. She would like something smaller and easier to park.

I thought she would like the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 so I picked her up in our long-termer. I find getting in and out of our Mercedes very easy for me as a short person. She is about my height but found it too low and a little difficult, especially compared to her Murano.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Fun to Throw Around

October 14, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

It has been said before, but I don't think it has been said enough: Our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is a blast to drive. This little sedan is quick, light on its feet, and it loves to be tossed around.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: First Impressions

September 12, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

We've had our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 for nearly 10 months, but for a variety of reasons — including some lackluster reviews from colleagues and commenters — I haven't driven it for myself.

Last night I decided I'd be sorry if I didn't take it out for a night before it's too late.

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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: Engine Feels Better Than Ever

June 23, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I've had an extra dose of seat time in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 lately and the one thing that keeps jumping out at me is how strong its four-cylinder engine feels. In town, it launches the car away from lights effortlessly while highway passes barely seem to tax it at all. And all this with only 208 horsepower.

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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: Post Road Trip Notes

May 22, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

You would have to be driving a real crap wagon to not enjoy scenery list this. Throw our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 into the mix and it gets pleasant to the extreme.

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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: 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: It Is Possible To Beat EPA Estimates, But Only for a Little While

March 13, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Granted, we've yet to validate the onboard fuel economy calculator in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, but for now, we're going to say it works. Why? Because we've been struggling even to meet the EPA's city estimate of 26 mpg, so seeing the display report 39.8 mpg was a cause for celebration. The EPA says we should be able to earn 38 mpg on the highway.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: I Like Its Four-Cylinder Engine

February 24, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

When you think of Mercedes-Benz engines, the first ones to come to mind are likely the monster AMG V8s and V12s gracing flagship cars like the S-Class or SLS AMG. So how about fuel-economy-minded, small-displacement four-cylinders from Mercedes? Yeah, not so much.

And sure enough, the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine found in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 will never achieve anything close to legendary status. This is an engine that's like your dishwasher: It's there to simply get the job done. But it's still a Mercedes engine, and it gets the job done quite well, thank you.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Don't Love the Ride

January 27, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Every time I get into the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, I'm struck by its entertainment value in normal commuter traffic.

It's not a sport sedan. Yet, its steering feels quick, and the CLA has enough grip to feel fun as you're jockeying for better position on highway entrance ramps. And the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is certainly potent enough to accommodate decisive maneuvers (258 pound-feet of torque will do that for you).

After 30 minutes in our 2014 CLA250, though, I start to get tired of it.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Performance Testing

December 31, 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is one of the hottest cars on the road right now. Dealers can't keep them in stock, and we can't go 15 feet in LA without seeing one. They're everywhere.

It's also very, very interesting as the CLA250 is, insofar as Mercedes go, an oddity. Turbocharged four-cylinders are old-hat for automakers these days, what really makes the CLA special is that it's the first front-wheel-drive car Mercedes has sold in America.

As Riswick said when we first got it, the CLA250 is nimble, easy to drive quickly and the turbo-4 and dual-clutch transmission work well when pushed.

So, let's for a moment take a break from opinions (we've got a whole year for that) and look at the cold, hard numbers from our 208-horsepower, entry-level, front-drive Mercedes.

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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: Tuned for Performance

December 12, 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

As the entry-level model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the CLA250 has to satisfy a wide variety of buyers. This is especially true given its price point. All too often, catering to such a broad swath of buyers leads to suspension setups that are tuned for comfort over performance. This isn't the case with the CLA.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Surprisingly Fun to Drive

December 02, 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The CLA-Class is an entirely different type of Mercedes-Benz. It's front-wheel drive. It has a dual-clutch automated gearbox. It has a turbocharged four-cylinder. It costs about $30,000.

It's also surprisingly nimble. While driving the mountain roads selected for its photo shoot, the CLA250 demonstrated the sort of darty, light-on-its-toes feel I expect from the best compact front drivers. That turbo-4 has plenty of right-now, low-end power and its gearbox is quick-acting. I frankly wasn't expecting the CLA to be that much fun, but it absolutely was. An agile, torquey small car with good looks to boot? That, my friends, is my kind of car.

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