2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Defaults to Weak-O
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.
Does it cost more to program memory that recalls your last driving mode? Is it an oversight? Is it a way to please regulators, forcing the unwashed to make a deliberate, sporty choice every time they fire up the car? To remind them that restricted driving saves gas, carbon, unicorns and kittens?
I've had it with this car. I've tried to like it, but I won't miss it. It feels far removed from even the base C-Class experience. I drove from Seattle to L.A. via Reno in a new C400 (sport suspension, hard rubber with thin sidewalls) and I didn't want to hand over the keys when I was done. But for the CLA, I think this budget Benz is more compromise than bargain.
Now there are two Benzes in the fleet that I try to avoid. I avoid the CLA for several reasons and I avoid the CL65 because I can't trust it to get me home on a Tuesday night when the kid's waiting for help with math homework (Common Core - more nonsense!). I know the CL has held up to some miles recently, but to me it feels like one good expansion joint away from vomiting hydraulic fluid and turbine wheels on the shoulder of the San Diego Freeway.
I'm not alone, but I'm in the minority. Year-to-date, Mercedes has sold nearly 21,000 CLAs. It seems to be moving just fine, outselling both the S-Class and the GL-Class SUV. Sightings are common here in the Southland. It's probably doing exactly what Benz managers hoped it would.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor