Design over substance. That’s often an adverse undertone, for Mercedes-Benz’s newest venture in to economical high-end, it could be a saving grace.The brand new 2014 Mercedes CLA class is a stylish car inside and out that will likely turn heads and open pocketbooks.
It filleds respectable performance, surprisingly good gas mileage and even more unbelievable rear legroom. Nonetheless, it has problems that can not be forgotten, such as a rugged ride and choices that grow the price quickly.
I examined both the front-wheel-drive CLA250 and the considerably much more powerful all-wheel-drive CLA45 AMG over hundreds of miles on rural roads, freeways and midtown streets around our nation’s capital.
The CLA250 competes with a selection of premium automobiles like Buick’s Regal and Acura’s ILX in addition to BMW’s tiniest engine 3 Series, the 320i. You could contrast all 4 right here. The CLA45 AMG is wedged between less expensive mainstream designs and much more costly high-performance versions from Audi and BMW.
Exterior & Styling
Walk into a Mercedes-Benz dealership and you would certainly be hard-pressed to tell the entry-level C-Class from its additional solemn E-Class brethren. Place the CLA in the same display room and there’s no doubt it is a completely different vehicle.
Look at the numbers and the CLA, which lots of will certainly think is the smallest sedan, actually reviews to the C-Class around the board. The CLA is 1.5 inches much longer than a C-Class sedan, yet the snub-nosed front, cleared rear pillars and round back make it look smaller.
Exactly how It Drives
The concept of a front-wheel-drive Mercedes most likely riles purists, but after testing the CLA over hundreds of miles, I do not assume buyers in this segment will certainly mind the drivetrain. All-wheel drive is optional on the CLA250 and will certainly be available early following year; the front-drive version is on sale now. The CLA45 AMG comes only in four-wheel drive and will be on sale later on this year.
Powering the 250 is a brand-new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 208 horse power and 258 pounds-feet of torque teamed with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. These are impressive numbers that not only outpace the C250’s power yet likewise group with exceptional EPA estimates of 26 mpg city, 38 mpg freeway and 30 mpg incorporated. Over a driving leg of 126 miles at considerable rates however with couple of quits and 2 grownups onboard, the CLA250’s travel computer showed 31.7 mpg with an ordinary speed of 42 miles per hour.
The CLA250 base version is 164 pounds lighter than a C-Class; it feels nimbler, also when pushing hard via twisty turns where the front-wheel drive is possibly the very least impressive.
Hammer the throttle adverse the CLA250 from a standstill and there is substantial tire spin from the front wheels, but in additional normal velocity, the CLA250 pulls with confidence both from 30 miles per hour and, for freeway passing, from 60 miles per hour.
Where the CLA-Class stick out most is in steering. Also the CLA250 supplies precise response and a guiding feel that isn’t hefty. There isn’t really a lot assist noticeable from the electricity energy guiding either, allowing for an all-natural feel.
The CLA45 AMG sports the most powerful four-cylinder engine on the market. The price will certainly still be reduced for the CLA45 AMG.
With 355 hp and 332 pounds-feet of torque originating from a seriously steroidal variation of the exact same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the base CLA250, the CLA45 AMG hustles from a stop, and other speed, rapidly, yet it isn’t as stimulating as I expected with those numbers. A variety of drive setups impact throttle response, and when in Sport mode the engine timing is altered to deliver a loud “burp” through the exhaust when shifting hard.
It’s a bizarre sound somehow, however I located it pretty pleasurable. Or else, the exhaust sound is a little bit rattly and always present– even comfortably method, though you do not experience the belching when moving. Gas mileage numbers haven’t been released yet, however over a 75-mile leg of aggressive testing, the drive pc reviewed 25 mpg.
Like the 250, the CLA45 AMG’s steering is a standout. Teamed with four-wheel drive, this is the mix of taking care of preciseness and livability any person would certainly value. When speeding up out of them, it hugged corners and provides an extreme feeling of confidence.
Braking is also impressive in both vehicles. The AMG decreases much more boldy with its larger blades, but also the 250 amazed. When a big truck chose to change streets without indicating in tight traffic, it conserved me from harming a brand-new auto.
Consumers will certainly have to make a decision if the performance plusses exceed the pretty considerable minus: The CLA– with a wheelbase 2.4 inches shorter compared to the C-Class– has a quite rough trip in base and AMG kinds. The AMG’s ride is incredibly rugged, with jolts coming through dramatically over every roadway flaw.
The CLA250 jolted me from steering pleasure less frequently yet with consistency whenever a modest to extreme road flaw came under tire. Most of the roadways I traveled were superbly maintained, however those that were even more similar to my home turf of Chicago exposed unacceptable ride convenience.
Regardless of the vehicle and wheel and tire mix I examined, road noise was likewise remarkably loud. Any kind of area that wasn’t smooth blacktop made its existence understood.
The CLA’s back home window is slim, all 4 side windows are likewise brief, the side mirrors are relatively little and the rear columns are instead massive. The only auto I’ve tested in the current past with such bad visibility– that wasn’t a convertible– is the Chevrolet Camaro, and that’s a two-door sports automobile.
This suggests motorists have to be a lot more aware when changing lanes– cars could sneak up on you conveniently with such large blind spots on either side– and especially when revoking a car parking spot.
2014 Mercedes CLA class Interior
A $30,000 Mercedes’ interior top quality and materials are going to be inspected to an extreme degree. To Mercedes’ credit history, shoppers in this price selection most likely aren’t expecting much more. The wide swaths of textured black synthetic natural leather across the dashboard and doors were soft to the touch and had a sheen that looked like the actual thing in spite of clearly being a synthetic material. The two lots or so vehicles on hand were all equipped with black insides; tan, gray and dark brownish are likewise available. Even if you go for leather seats, the dashboard product stays the very same yet adds some stitching for design style.
To offset this price savings, Mercedes did an artful job with the air vents. Yes, air vents. 5 metallic-ringed circular vents separate the dashboard. Styled after the vents in the firm’s halo SLS AMG supercar, they’re the superstars of the interior. They function rather well with a fast flip of the interior cross-section to adjust air output, and they likewise swivel in all directions.
Appealing– if virtually impossible to check out– analog assesses bracket a far more functional electronic screen that reveals the vehicle driver drive data and other information, though to avoid breaking data rates reduces, I set it to present the data rates digitally. I really couldn’t tell how rapid I was going by looking at the analog option, particularly with the sun spreading extreme darkness.
While the interior looks good for the cash, the seats sure really did not feel inviting to my driving partner or me over our extended drive. After regarding 30 minutes in the seat, my back was throbing. My partner complained concerning his bottom extremity’s lack of admiration for the seat bottom’s firmness.
Also on the second day of steering, when I usually get acclimated to a vehicle’s seats, the CLA’s still were also strong for me.
All CLA seats have repaired head restraints, which is uncommon these days however look excellent and didn’t influence convenience with the absence of adjustability. Much more shoppers will likely have problems with the seats’ side strengthening. Even on the CLA250, the reinforces encroached on my upper body and upper legs. I ‘d state I’m average in these measurements; individuals which consider themselves slim or tiny will likely have no issues with them. The AMG has optional Recaro-brand seats with also more assertive strengthening.
Merely by looking at the clearing roofline you expect the backseat to be totally unusable, however as soon as you fowl your head to acquire in– you will certainly need to alert back passengers prior to they try to enter into– the rear seat has enough legroom that I was comfy with the front seat adjusted for my 5-foot-10-inch framework. I additionally had lots of legroom in the front traveler seat in this configuration.
Headroom in back is a little bit tighter. With the optional moonroof, my hair was touching the roofing. In a version without the moonroof, the CLA acquires 1.4 inches of headroom. In this vehicle my hair had not been touching the ceiling, however I question 6-footers will certainly be as lucky.
Ergonomics & Electronics
The CLA250 is being heavily marketed with its $29,900 starting price– prior to a $925 location fee– and with that there is a great level of common equipment including a 5.8-inch display screen, Bluetooth, energy driver and front guest seats, and imitation-leather upholstery.
It’s not likely most buyers will go for the stripped-down model with such weak innovation choices.
A $2,300 Premium Package is should add an iPod interface, upgraded Harman Kardon stereo, satellite radio and dual-zone environment control. However, one of the most reasonably equipped CLA250 accessible additionally added the $2,370 Multimedia Package, that includes a much bigger 7-inch show screen, navigation and a six-CD changer. This suggests the sub-$30,000 vehicle I was examining would really cost $34,595 out the door.
The larger navigation screen itself drifts out from the dash practically like an aftermarket kit, however the actual result is a lot a lot more stylish. During our test, each route was preprogrammed in to the computer system with waypoints, which was hassle-free.
Voice controls likewise functioned well without any need to await a punctual or beep to provide the following command. It would call numbers and switch screens in between phone and chart user interfaces easily. However, we really did not have an appropriate tool to test out the iPod integration, as the port is still established for previous-generation iPods; an adapter for the connector would be required. The USB harbor billed my apple iphone 5 yet did not play popular music. Bluetooth audio streaming functioned well. Two phones could be paired simultaneously to make sure that one could be used for phone, one for songs, and it was simple to switch back and forth in between them.
The Harman Kardon device had respectable sound quality yet quite little low selection for durable noise on rock ‘n’ roll and R&B tracks where you would certainly want a lot more bass in the mix.
A new model, the CLA-Class hasn’t been crash-tested as of publication.
The 2014 Mercedes CLA class comes with a basic suite of airbags including knee airbags for both the vehicle driver and front guest. The collision prevention device was geared up on a few of the versions I tested and came in to usage when as planned.
Value in Its Class
You tremble it, no buyer is in fact going to find a sub-$30,000 CLA. Mercedes anticipates most CLA250s will certainly be sold at around the $35,000 mark like the least costly version I tested. An in a similar way equipped BMW 320i concerns $37,120, so the CLA still supplies much more for much less, as they say, and has more energy and better gas economic climate compared to that most standard of 3 Series.
The front-wheel-drive configuration will likely be unimportant to a bulk of consumers, considering exactly how striking this automobile is. The performance, style and price make the CLA a victor on paper; it’s merely the comfort sacrifices discovered while driving you need to mark off prior to signing any sort of documentation.
The far more costly CLA45 AMG, beginning at $49,300 featuring destination, is more difficult to justify, yet when reviewed versus expensive vehicles with their leading engines– like Cadillac’s ATS– it becomes a lot more interesting