Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG
- Luxury-car quality and status for a relatively low price
- commendable power and handling
- premium interior materials
- fiery performance from AMG model.
- Cramped rear seat
- overly firm ride quality
- dash-top navigation display looks down-market.
Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class distills the posh trappings of a proper Benz into a competitive entry-level luxury sedan.
The all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class exists for one simple reason: A great many consumers desire the elegance and prestige associated with the Mercedes brand, but simply can't afford the high price of admission. The C-Class sedan has long been the company's entry-level model in the United States, but these days, a nicely equipped one runs well past $40,000. The 2014 CLA-Class marks a departure for the German automaker: It's a front-wheel-drive sedan infused with the premium furnishings of a traditional Mercedes-Benz, but priced far lower than the rear-drive C-Class.
The CLA is actually longer and wider than the current C-Class sedan (which is due for a redesign). Its sleek, aerodynamic shape brings to mind the larger CLS four-door "coupe" and Mercedes says that the CLA is more aerodynamic than a Toyota Prius, which should benefit fuel economy. The CLA-Class sedan's curvy roof line does impede on passenger space, however. Anyone over 6 feet tall shouldn't bother trying to get comfortable in the backseat.
Of course, the big question surrounding the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan is whether you'll see it as a genuine Mercedes-Benz or a half-hearted budget alternative. The CLA certainly feels like the real thing from the cockpit, as premium materials and a suite of safety and multimedia features check all the boxes for Benzness. With a strong turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a quick-shifting transmission and sure-footed handling, the CLA drives like a proper Mercedes, too. Meanwhile, the rip-snorting CLA45 AMG should right most of the base CLA250's wrongs with its incredibly swift straight-line performance.
With the launch of the 2014 CLA-Class, Mercedes brings an early offense to a budding class of compact luxury sedans. The 2015 Audi A3 is its closest rival in terms of price and design. The A3 offers more rear seat space and a more polished and comfortable ride quality. We ranked it ahead of the CLA in a comparison test, but you'll definitely want to cross-shop these two.
The CLA is also an interesting alternative to a wide range of competitors. The 2014 Acura ILX and 2014 Buick Verano cost considerably less, but unless it's equipped with a manual gearbox, the Acura can't keep up with the CLA250 in any contest of speed, while the Buick lacks the Benz's overall interior refinement. The 355-horsepower CLA45, on the other hand, has few peers. The new two-door BMW M235i comes close, but if you want something with four doors, you'll have to look at disparate models like the Chrysler 300C SRT8 or Subaru WRX STI.
Given the selection in this price range, you're wise to do some research before making a decision, but there's no doubt the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a compelling choice for a compact entry-level luxury sedan.
trim levels & features
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is available in CLA250, CLA250 4Matic and CLA45 AMG trim levels.
The CLA250 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic wipers, cruise control, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. Electronics features include a 5.8-inch central display, the COMAND interface, mbrace2 telematics/smartphone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a sound system with a CD player.
The CLA250 4Matic is the same but has all-wheel drive. The CLA45 AMG is also equipped similarly. It has all-wheel drive as standard along with 18-inch wheels, a more powerful engine, larger brakes and firmer suspension tuning.
All CLAs are eligible for the optional Premium 1 package, which provides auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats and a Harman Kardon audio system with satellite radio and an iPod interface. The Multimedia package adds a larger 7-inch central infotainment screen with Mercedes' COMAND interface, a rearview camera, a 10-gigabyte music server, a six-disc CD changer and a navigation system with voice commands. Additional safety aids including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, and blind spot warning are available via the Driver Assistance package.
The Sport package for the CLA250 adds 18-inch wheels, a more aggressive-looking front fascia and grille, and upgraded brakes. Stand-alone options for both models include summer performance tires, bi-xenon headlamps, a rear spoiler, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated seats, wood interior trim, a lower-cost navigation system for cars with the standard 5.8-inch display, and parking sensors combined with an automated parking system. Exclusive options for the CLA45 include 19-inch wheels, interior and exterior carbon fiber trim, sport seats, an AMG steering wheel and red-painted brake calipers.
performance & mpg
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 208 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated manual transmission (with shift paddles) routes power to the front wheels, but all-wheel drive is available on the CLA250 4Matic. In Edmunds testing, a CLA250 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a brisk 6.4 seconds. EPA estimates for fuel economy are 30 mpg combined (26 mpg city/38 mpg highway) for the front-wheel drive version and 27 mpg combined (24 mpg city/32 mpg highway) for all-wheel drive.
The CLA45 AMG has an upgraded version of this 2.0-liter engine that features a twin-scroll turbocharger and fortified internal components. The result is an amazing 355 hp and 332 lb-ft. A quicker-shifting version of the seven-speed transmission drives all four wheels. Launch control is also included. At the Edmunds test track, the CLA45 AMG accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a scant 4.7 seconds, making it one of the quickest compact sedans available. EPA fuel estimates are 26 mpg combined (23 mpg city/31 mpg highway).
Both the CLA250 and CLA45 AMG feature an automatic stop-start function that, if engaged, turns off the engine when the car stops to save fuel.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, front seat side thorax airbags, front seat side pelvic airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The CLA45 AMG has a three-mode stability control system that allows drivers to tailor the level of intervention.
In Edmunds.com's simulated panic stop from 60 mph, the CLA250 required 121 feet, while the CLA45 needed just 111 feet, both about average for their respective segments.
Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 emergency telematics is standard, as are Collision Prevention Assist, which uses radar to identify potential collision situations and intervenes with braking as necessary, and Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness and inattention. Rear seat side airbags are optional. Other safety-oriented options include a rearview camera, parking sensors bundled with an automated parking system and the Lane Tracking package, which adds a blind-spot warning system and a lane-departure warning system.
Most consumers will find the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 quite agreeable to drive on their daily commutes. Even if you've owned rear-wheel-drive Mercedes sedans in the past, you'll be hard-pressed to tell that the CLA250 is front-wheel drive, as it accelerates and steers with the precision of more elite Benz models. Part of the CLA's athletic character comes from the quick-shifting automated manual transmission, which offers driver-adjustable shift patterns and a manual shift mode via its steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
There are other aspects to the CLA, however, that serve as unfortunate reminders that you're driving an entry-level Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes has effectively equipped its U.S.-sold cars with a standard sport-tuned suspension, and while that choice does contribute to the car's sporty handling, it also results in a rather firm ride quality. We suspect drivers expecting typical levels of luxury comfort when driving over broken pavement will be dismayed by the harsh and occasionally noisy impacts transmitted into the cabin. Other drivers might be put off by the workaday sounds of the base CLA's four-cylinder engine and the slow responses of the transmission when shifting in and out of Drive and Reverse.
Meanwhile, the 355-hp CLA45 AMG is far from a base Benz. In addition to its sizzling acceleration, the CLA45 has plenty of personality. Select Sport mode and you'll hear crackles and pops from the exhaust during both up- and downshifts. Around turns, the CLA45 offers tenacious grip and guided-missile determination. But the cost of this handling prowess is an even firmer ride quality that might be too much for even dedicated drivers. Also, its performance-oriented brakes are very sensitive and grab with the slightest touch of the pedal, and the transmission's shift quality can be overly aggressive for daily driving.
Even though this is the bargain Benz, the CLA-Class sedan's interior largely escapes the cost-cutting knife. Quite simply, the cabin looks and feels like a traditional Mercedes. Big analog gauges, a clean center stack design, and tight fit and finish impart the same classic, premium feel shared across the Mercedes lineup.
One of the few exceptions is the optional navigation system's display, which looks like an aftermarket addition as it's perched high on the dash. On the upside, the screen is easy to read. It also takes some time to get used to selecting gears with a column-mounted stalk rather than a traditional console shifter. Various trim options, including walnut, ash, aluminum and carbon fiber (CLA45 only) allow you to create a cabin aesthetic that's either cool and modern, or classic and refined.
Unfortunately, the CLA's rear quarters aren't nearly as luxurious. Although the rear seats are well-shaped and supportive, the sloping roof line that gives the CLA its distinctive character also translates to tight headroom for 6-footers, and the knee room situation isn't much better. The CLA is also ill-equipped for small children; the rear seat's non-removable headrests can make safety seat fitment tricky, and those small rear doors make it tough to get little ones in and out, too.
You might assume the CLA sedan also has a small trunk, but in reality it offers a respectable 13.1 cubic feet of trunk capacity.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Cars that are designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency rarely end up looking like the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. That's because wind tunnels typically produce fragile-looking, teardrop-shaped things with three wheels. Or worse yet, they make everything look like a Prius.
It's surprising, then, that the engineers behind the CLA250 told us that class-leading aerodynamics was one of their top priorities during the car's development. The goal not only led to the CLA's unique styling, it also resulted in a final drag coefficient of 0.23, which in English means that the CLA slices through the wind more easily than the Prius (0.25 Cd).
That alone is not enough to allow the CLA250 to get better mileage than Toyota's superstar hybrid, but it does help the new Mercedes sedan make the most out of its standard four-cylinder engine. Figure around 30 miles per gallon on the highway and a 0-60-mph time of 6.7 seconds. So the CLA250 is not only efficient, it's still reasonably quick, too.
The New Face of Mercedes
Apart from its impressive aerodynamic efficiency, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is also notable for what it isn't, namely rear-wheel drive. Yes, unlike virtually every other Mercedes-Benz that came to the United States before it, the CLA puts power down through the front wheels.
It's a setup that has been used for Mercedes' smaller A- and B-Class cars in Europe, but the CLA is considerably bigger than those cars. In fact, the CLA is actually longer and wider than the current C-Class sedan. The size overlap is an odd circumstance that will be resolved when a new, slightly larger C-Class arrives in 2014.
Until then, the CLA will be differentiated by its styling, its four-cylinder-only power plant and a base price that starts just under $30K. That's roughly $5 grand less than the base C-Class sedan. An all-wheel-drive version of the CLA250 will be added early next year.
Will Anybody Notice the Difference?
The biggest hurdle facing the CLA is whether it feels like a Mercedes-Benz, or at least what Americans think a Mercedes-Benz should feel like anyway. After driving a CLA250 on a combination of tight back roads, crowded city streets and fast highways, we doubt many people will notice that the front wheels are doing all the work.
Much of the credit goes to the fact that there's very little tugging at the steering wheel during acceleration. So-called torque steer is typically a dead giveaway that a car is having trouble steering and propelling itself with the same wheels. We tried to get the CLA to squirm with big doses of throttle, but the steering wheel barely quivered, even when pulling away from a stop.
Mercedes says this is a result of its Direct Steer system, which is the company's name for its latest electric power steering setup. It not only helps to control torque steer, it makes the CLA more efficient by not drawing power when it's driving in a straight line. More importantly, the engineers were able to tune the feel of the CLA's steering to the point where it provides solid road feel and precise control without the artificial lightness that often comes with electric assistance.
All U.S.-bound CLA250s will have a standard sport suspension that yields a lower ride height and firmer ride quality than the "luxury" model that will be standard in Europe. The ride quality isn't overly stiff and tire noise isn't bad, especially considering how little wind noise there is because of the sleek body.
What You Will Notice About the CLA250
Keeping the price down on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA means there's no six-cylinder engine option as with the C-Class sedan. The only power plant available is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder. Sounds meager, but with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, it's hardly a meek little fuel sipper.
It gets considerable help from the standard seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and its three driver-adjustable shift programs. With all those gears, and the ability to swap between them quickly using paddle shifters, the CLA's engine stays squarely in the meat of its power band. It has a firm push from a stop and spins smoothly to its redline, too. Catch it between gears and it'll suddenly feel weak, but it doesn't happen often.
If there's any disappointment from under the hood, it's the engine's sound. There are times when the direct-injection fuel system clatters like a diesel and others when the exhaust is just plain wheezy, mostly at high rpm. Neither of the sounds is particularly refined, and both are occasional reminders that you're behind the wheel of the base-model Benz.
No Cost Cutting in the Cabin
If the noises from under the hood don't bother you, then the cabin isn't likely to either. Nothing about the design or materials inside the CLA looks the least bit cheap. From the big analog gauges to the clean center stack design, it all looks tidy, well built and about what you would expect in a Mercedes.
At first glance the navigation system looks a bit like an aftermarket unit the way it's perched high on the dash, but it blends in after awhile and the positioning makes it easy to read. It takes some time to get used to shifting with the small stalk on the steering wheel column, too, but the space that's opened up in the center console makes the CLA that much more livable.
Livable isn't the best word to describe the backseat, though, as the sloping roof line that makes the CLA so distinctive-looking on the outside makes the rear seats claustrophobic on the inside. Head- and knee room are both tight for anyone over 6 feet, although toe room is plentiful and the seats themselves have a nice shape to them. Add in the small rear doors and the CLA won't make a very good baby hauler.
Who Is the Mercedes CLA for, Then?
Mercedes thinks the $30K barrier is where the luxury line can be drawn. Below that and you're competing with too many mainstream models. At $35K, the C-Class is a bit out of reach for anyone who isn't willing to consider at least $40K for the options they want.
With the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, $32K will get you a nicely equipped sedan with a couple options. There are some packages, of course, along with a nice list of stand-alone features like a panorama sunroof, blind spot assist and 18-inch wheels. And most importantly, at least to some, the Mercedes name.
Brand recognition aside, the CLA is a uniquely styled sedan that attracts attention even before people know what it is. Not many of the competitors in this price range can do the same. Add in the sharp interior and solid performance and the CLA is an interesting option at its price point. About the only thing missing is a real backseat, something the young people Mercedes is hoping to attract might want to think twice about.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG Overview
The Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG is offered in the following styles: , and CLA45 AMG 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM).
What's a good price on a Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG?
Save up to $300 on one of 6 Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $29,337 as of08/18/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from3 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG trim styles:
- The Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG CLA45 AMG is priced between $29,337 and$33,995 with odometer readings between 35458 and48381 miles.
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Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class CLA45 AMG Listings and Inventory
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