2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Alternative, Cheaper Navigation
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.
Called the Becker Map Pilot, it is a less sophisticated navigation system with software and graphics more akin to a portable navi, yet still integrated into COMAND. It costs $600 for the software itself and another $200 for the pre-wiring that every CLA we saw in L.A.-area dealer inventory came equipped with.
For the 2015 CLA, the Becker software is going to be replaced by Garmin, and I recently had the chance to try it out in the new C-Class (pictured above). Like the Becker, its graphics are less polished and not in keeping with the overall design of COMAND's other menus. It also lacks voice programming (no big loss), traffic information and in the C-Class, the ability to enter letters and numbers via the updated COMAND system's touchpad (not available on the CLA). However, it still got me to places I wanted to go (Cars and Coffee in Irvine and a golf course I quickly found in the Point of Interest listings) while being neatly integrated into the car's displays and sound system.
If all I was interested in was getting navigation, there's no doubt that I'd opt for the cheaper Becker or Garmin navigation alternative. It's just sad that the rearview camera is also locked away in the Multimedia package. Actually, it's sad it's not standard. If a Honda Civic has one, so should the Mercedes CLA, but that's a post for another time.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor