December 10, 2014
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.
December 4, 2014
It was a light duty month for our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. We only drove it for about 963 miles and filled it up with 91-octane gas four times. Those miles were fairly consistent with our driving style, since the needle didn't move in terms of our fuel economy data. Our lifetime fuel economy still stands at 28.4 mpg, which is about 5 percent under the EPA combined 30 mpg estimate.
We'll be selling this car soon, so I don't anticipate these numbers will change much in December.
November 28, 2014
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.
November 24, 2014
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.
November 21, 2014
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.
November 18, 2014
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.
November 7, 2014
Our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 wasn't quite as busy during October as it had been in previous months, but we still managed to roll another 1,215 miles under its wheels.
October 27, 2014
I like the seats in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. They're snug, supportive, very comfortable, and the leather is holding up well (as you'd hope with just less than 18,000 miles). They've performed well on road trips. They boost the luxury quotient in this bargain Benz.
October 23, 2014
Mood lighting is becoming increasingly ubiquitous throughout the car world. From little blue lights that shine down in Acuras to the infinite palette sampled by the 2015 Ford Mustang's gauges, lighting has become an easy way to add some distinction and/or a classy touch to a car's cabin.
October 22, 2014
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.
October 17, 2014
I hadn't driven our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 since my Redwoods Road Trip back in April, so I was interested to see if my impressions of the car had changed. Frankly, I haven't driven the CLA that much since then, as its well-documented transmission, throttle and ride issues make driving around Los Angeles a rather tiresome experience.
On the open road, however, they don't manifest themselves to the same degree. Though the drive to Palm Springs is about a sixth of what I did back in April, the CLA once again proved to be an agreeable road trip companion.
October 14, 2014
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.
October 7, 2014
Last week I walked down to our office parking garage and jumped in our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 only to be greeted by a low tire pressure warning light.
That little illuminated yellow "U" with the exclamation point in its center is not exactly what you want to see after a long hard day. After a few curse words, questions started running through my mind.
"Does this car really have a flat tire?"
"Which tire is it?"
"Do I have a tire gauge?"
"Who invented liquid soap and why?"
October 3, 2014
Our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 continues to be a staff favorite. We've got about five weeks left on our long-term test and we're closing in on 20,000 miles. Will we make it?
We put nearly 2,100 miles on the odometer in September. About half of those came during Josh Jacquot's round-trip to northern California, when he coaxed the CLA250 to its best fill of the test so far: 37.2 mpg over 405 miles. I asked Josh about it. He said he drove the speed limit. Then he added that he's old.
September 30, 2014
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.
September 26, 2014
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.
September 25, 2014
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.
September 24, 2014
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.
September 23, 2014
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.
September 17, 2014
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.
September 12, 2014
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.
September 9, 2014
A few staffers have discovered how useful the Mercedes-Benz CLA250's trunk can be when needed. I found out for myself when I was drafted to help a relative transport some things to her new apartment.
Looking at the somewhat stubby trunk of the junior Benz, I was a bit worried we wouldn't get everything in. In addition to bags of spoils from Target, we had a rolled-up 5-foot x 8-foot area rug, a 32-inch tall tower fan and two very yellow bed rest pillows for lounging around.
September 5, 2014
During the month of August, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 spun a hefty 2,233 miles under its tires including a few weeks away in central California where it was often able to cruise efficiently on open highways.
It was also recruited by Mike Magrath for a quick road trip to Las Vegas via Death Valley. Mike admitted that trip was by no means a fuel-economy-oriented run, as he enjoyed the drive by using the transmission's Manual and Sport modes. A high temp of around 110 degrees didn't help fuel economy matters either, requiring max A/C use.
August 28, 2014
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.
August 27, 2014
We bought our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 with the $2,370 Multimedia package, which adds a larger COMAND display, rearview camera, six-CD/DVD changer, 10GB of digital music storage, real-time traffic and weather, and most notably, a Mercedes navigation system.
However, if all you want is the latter item without all the other stuff and the hefty price tag, there is an alternative.
August 22, 2014
In general, I like Mercedes' COMAND interface in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. I find it pretty easy to use, navigate and find what I want. But I've also realized that what's available for audio preset selection isn't so great.
August 21, 2014
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?
August 20, 2014
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is pretty small compared to most other cars on the road. For the interior, that translates into a seating environment that could be described as either cramped or intimate depending on your viewpoint.
August 15, 2014
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.
August 14, 2014
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.
August 12, 2014
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.
August 8, 2014
August 1, 2014
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.
July 28, 2014
Our child safety seat will not fit in the back of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. This is a rare problem. In fact, our Cadillac ATS was the only other long-term vehicle that shared this flaw. Here's why it doesn't work...
July 22, 2014
But just barely. It's just a smallish electric mower, not a bulky gas cutter. It should fit, I thought, in the smallish 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.
And it did, but not without some creative wiggling, shimmying and a swift kick.
July 21, 2014
July 18, 2014
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.
July 16, 2014
Other than perhaps the itty-bitty Lotus Elise, I can't remember I car that has given me the kind of trouble I'm having with our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.
My feet don't fit.
July 10, 2014
Our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is an incredibly small car for people, but amazingly spacious for luggage.
July 07, 2014
For the month of June we drove our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 942 miles of mixed city and highway driving. Our average fuel economy was 25.3 mpg for the month, which lowered our lifetime average by .1 mpg.
June 25, 2014
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.
June 24, 2014
Recently, the Service A light lit up in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. So we dropped it off at our neighborhood dealership, W.I. Simonson Mercedes-Benz. It was a gamble, showing up without an appointment, but we did. Here's how it went.
June 23, 2014
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.
June 17, 2014
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.
June 12, 2014
As I put the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 in reverse, I thought I saw a flash of light out of the corner of my left eye. It was so fast, I wasn't sure, so I put the Benz back in Park and turned off the engine.
June 6, 2014
The month of May saw our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 cover more than 2,000 miles (2,197 miles, if you're scoring at home) and fractionally raising its average MPG along the way.
Do you want to know the details? Yeah you do. You want to know.
June 2, 2014
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.
May 29, 2014
May 23, 2014
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.
May 22, 2014
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.
May 20, 2014
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.
May 16, 2014
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.
May 15, 2014
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."
May 9, 2014
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.
May 7, 2014
We added 2,719 miles to our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 odometer in the month of April.
Most of those miles were put on by James Riswick, whose road trip to the Redwoods significantly improved our lifetime fuel economy number, raising it from 24.9 to 27.2. And this is despite the technical difficulties he experienced during his trip.