Before you even get into the car, the most striking feature of our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is the color. That Northern Lights Violet Metallic paint is stunning. In the right light, the dark, deep purple with metallic specks really sparkles. A lot of people have commented on the color. I’ve seen a lot of CLAs in other colors, and none can really hold a candle to the violet. The Juniper Red is nice, but the rest of the paints are sorta meh. However, the violet metallic really (and I mean REALLY) shows dirt. You need to wash it at least once a week otherwise it just looks like a moderately shiny black.
Let’s see… more good. I’ve read a lot of differing opinions on this fact, but in our test car at least, the gas mileage has been phenomenal. Like, great. The EPA said the average should be somewhere around 30. Neither my wife nor I drive like angels, but our six-month average has been 31.3 mpg. That includes about a 50/50 mix of highway, city streets and terrible South Florida traffic. The worst we’ve seen has been 24.2 on a tank, but that was when we were pushing the car rather hard with the start/stop function disbabled. Our best fuel economy was on a 211 mile trip from Fort Lauderdale to Disney World. We got an astonishing 43.1 miles-per-gallon. So, yeah the fuel efficiency is a big plus.
Driving-wise, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is pretty pleasant. Many critics of the CLA has decried the ride as harsh, stiff and not befitting of a Mercedes. To that I reply, BULL HOCKEY! The ride is firm and responsive. Sure, it’s stiffer than the average Benz of the past, but that’s why we like it. There is zero of the wallowy, boat-like, carsick-inducing nature of most pre-2013 Mercedes. The body roll is minimal, there is little kneeling on hard braking and you feel just enough of the road to know what you’re driving over.
Speaking of steering… that’s another big plus of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. The variable electronic power steering does a laudable job of being super easy when you’re puttering around a parking lot while becoming sportscar stiff at high speeds when you absolutely need to know what you’re doing. To top it all off, there is virtually no play in the steering at all.
I said above that the 6.8 second 0 to 60 time is deceptively quick. And, it is. When we first got our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, I was a bit timid about the slower acceleration after coming off of a modified 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. But, it is actually pretty good. Hitting the gas from a dead stop is an iffy proposition. The transmission takes a seconds to shift into first. But, once you’re moving, acceleration is quick, particularly at freeway speeds. There are times when I go to pass a slow-moving-highway-pain-in-the-butt and find myself at 100+ mph. At speed, the car is very comfortable, stable and happy. As a matter of fact, the CLA is a little too comfortable at (ahem) 120 mph.
The last couple of goods are of a comfort and enjoyment nature. First, the fourteen-way electronically adjustable front sport seats are super comfy. They have just enough bolstering balanced with a good amount of cushioned give. Secondly, the harmon/kardon LOGIC7 sound system is great if you’re sitting in front. The sound is crazy clear, the low-end bass has no distortion (even at high volumes) and the surround sound is superb (especially if you listen to Hocus Pocus by Focus or Frankenstein by Edgar Winters). Lastly, the seat heaters (or as my wife refers to them: butt warmers or just plain butts) heat quickly and taper off nicely. On long drives, the seat-back heating elements stave off back pain.
Oh yeah, the trunk. The trunk (and folding rear seats) is great… huge and great. Those are the goods for our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 long-term tester. Like I said, there’s quite a lot to like about our test car. So, now the bads. NEXT PAGE>>