Apart from a nasty service issue at 9,159 miles (more on that later) we don’t have too many complaints about our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. But, the ones we do have are kinda annoying. Let’s start with the automatic eco start/stop function.
I’ve driven several cars that shut off automatically when the car is at idle. Most are fairly quiet, smooth and subtle about it. Not the case at all with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Pull up to a stoplight and the CLA shutters and turns off. Let off the gas, even for a second, and the car rumbles back to life like a 1970s diesel. There is nothing smooth or quiet about it. The entire damn car shakes. Don’t even try to even slightly move your foot off of the brake unless you plan on actually accelerating. If you release the brake pedal for an instant just to depress it again, the start/stop system becomes very, very, very confused. The result is similar to killing a stick-shift car by suddenly letting out the clutch. We would pretty much always turn that function off if it didn’t return 12 mpg better gas mileage.
Our second gripe is with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. We have no problem with up-shifts. The up-shifts are great. It’s the down-shifts that are a pain in the ass. Down-shifts from 7th through to 3rd gear are fine. But, the shift from 3rd to 2nd (if the start/stop mode is engaged) is incredibly jarring. So much so, that when we first got the car, we thought there was a problem with the trans. Turn off start/stop and the shifts are buttery smooth. And, sometimes, when shifting into or from reverse, it takes a while for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 to realize what it’s supposed to do.
Third of this the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250’s list of foibles is back seat. It sucks, plain and simple. We knew that when we leased the car, but it’s worth mentioning again. You can’t really see anything and no one above 5’10” has enough headroom thanks to the four-door coupe layout. And, the lack of rear armrest is positively the dumbest thing I’ve seen for a long time. Actually… Make that the second dumbest thing. The dumbest thing (and this really takes the cake) is the fact that there is only a door-lock button on the driver’s door. None in back (which is fairly common) and none on the passenger door (which is soooooo stupid, I can hardly believe it). Seriously, what does Mercedes have against people being able to lock and unlock their cars? So dumb.
Next up is the an intermittent, yet frequent, vibration and rattle coming from alternating pieces of the dash and center console. Oh, this gets sooooo annoying. At any given time, the instrument cluster cowling, infotainment screen, ashtray cover or the cover for the storage bay/giant cup holder is squeaking or rattling. I’ve taken to smacking the source of the agonizing noise to get it to stop.
The last item on our list of 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 bads isn’t really a complaint, but a previously mentioned service issue at 9,159 miles. Actually, the problem was rectified by Mercedes-Benz of Fort Lauderdale with wonderful customer service and no charge. Here’s what happened…
While driving up highway 95, my wife noticed the a “PreSafe Inoperative” warning light on the dash. As with most computer issues, she turned pulled off the road, turned the car off and turned it back on again. Problem solved. Until a few miles later the PreSafe warning light came back on accompanied by the check engine light. Then, for a few moments, the car wouldn’t accelerate. The CLA acted as if it was in neutral. The engine would rev, but there was no go. Power returned to the car a few seconds later, but the engine was over-heating. As the temp gauge climbed, you could smell burning something.
Fortunately, as all of this was happening, my wife was about a quarter-mile from our local Mercedes dealer, Mercedes-Benz of Fort Lauderdale. As it was later in the evening, we dropped the car of at the night drop. At 9:00 the next morning, our service advisor Michael called. We explained the problem and that we really needed a loaner. Amazingly enough, he said he’d get right on the fix and to stop by and pick up a loaner C-Class.
Four days and 27 testing miles later, our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 was ready to pick up. In addition to doing the 10,000-mile maintenance, MB service found that a “engine wire harness chafed at air filter housing metal clip”. Two wires that go to the throttle actuator and one that goes to the temperature sensor rubbed against each other, shorted out and caused the problems and burning smell. The harness was repaired and re-secured, and the harness holder was replaced. All of the repairs were covered under warranty. The car runs great now, although, I can’t help but suspect this may become an issue on other CLA-Class.
That pretty much wraps up our list of bads for the six-month review of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. So, what’s the bottom line? NEXT PAGE>>