2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Booster and Child Safety Seats
February 21, 2014
If you're thinking about purchasing a small entry-level luxury sedan like a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, I'd guess that a family-friendly back seat isn't one of your priorities. Still, there are times when a CLA might have to be used to transport young children. Here are some observations about installing child safety seats in our long-term CLA250's back seat.
Placing the pictured Recaro child booster seat in back was straightforward. The CLA's rear seats are a little narrow, which means the booster seat might make it hard for small children to buckle the seat belt, but this isn't uncommon.
For a bulkier safety seat, whether front-facing or rear-facing, the CLA isn't as accommodating.
The CLA's rear door openings aren't particularly generous, for starters. But you might have bigger issues with the rear seat's fixed outboard head restraints. In my experience installing this Britax Marathon safety seat that I own, I almost always remove a car's head restraint to allow a better and more secure fit for the seat against the backrest. I can't do that with the CLA, so I have to choose either having the safety seat's base not be at its recommended perpendicular level or have the seat moved far off from the seatback. The fixed outboard head restraints also prevent easy access to the top tether anchor points.
The middle seat position does have an adjustable head restraint. And, in my test, it was easier to install the Marathon safety seat in the middle position. Still, our CLA is the least welcoming sedan for a front-facing safety seat we've ever had in our long-term test fleet.
You wouldn't likely encounter these issues with a rear-facing child safety seat. But you do need a lot of available legroom. Here, the CLA fares adequately for this class of car. I did move the front passenger seat up, but a normal-sized adult would probably be OK for a short trip.
Now, these are just my observations using one particular brand and model of safety seat and booster seat. Your child safety seats could very well fit differently. But I strongly recommend test-fitting some safety seats if you think you'll be using them in Mercedes' new CLA.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 3,124 miles