2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Sold to CarMax
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.
CarMax offered us $29,500. For reference, we paid $35,000 (before tax and title) when we bought the car new. This is a 15.7-percent decrease in depreciation and is the lowest long-term car depreciation number in recent memory. This price was so good it nearly matched the Edmunds estimate for dealer retail price. It was a no-brainer to take the offer.
I brought the CLA back on the aforementioned rainy day. There were three people ahead of me in the business office and the showroom was fairly busy, so much for having the place to myself. Despite the added wait, I was in and out in just over an hour. This wasn't my first rodeo, so I had all the paperwork in order.
And so the Mercedes CLA250 leaves our fleet. I didn't care much for this car. It rode too stiff, had uncomfortable seats and always defaulted to a terrible eco mode. I can't speak for everyone else, but I won't be missing it.
Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 19,751 miles
P.S. I parked the CLA in the handicap spot for a moment to snap the photo. No need to rage on the horrible parking job in the comments.