Our Cars: 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA 250

At long last the wait is over (and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it) and today I take delivery of a 2014 GLA 250 in Jupiter Red. It is a four-door sedan Mercedes that calls a coupe for some reason and not a wagon and while Mercedes does offer a Shooting Brake (wagon) version of the CLA it’s not for us folks in the USA. Instead we get the crossover, the CLA SUV, that as far as small crossovers go is astonishingly not ugly.

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According to Wikipedia, the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a compact (although two inches longer than an E-Class, so I’m not sure of their definition of “compact”) four-door luxury grand tourer built on the platform of the Mercedes-Benz W176 A-Class and W246 B-Class cars and was launched at the January 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Unlike most Mercedes Benz cars, in the US anyway, it is front-wheel drive and there is noticeable but not obnoxiously so torque steer from its turbocharged four cylinder engine that develops 208 horsepower. The car is surprisingly peppy for a car that weighs 3200 pounds and has a distinctively sporty feel.

According to the EPA, it delivers up to 26 city, 38 highway miles per gallon, naturally on the 91 octane gas that the Europeans love so dearly. A 14.8 gallon tank should make it a good car for road trips and the sports-style seats are insanely comfortable with all of the power adjustments you get in an S Class.

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It has a 7-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission that is controlled by the same kind of column-shift (shades of the 1950’s) that I also encountered when testing an S-class that cost more than three CLA’s. There are also flappy paddles if you like that sort of thing. Unlike my old unloved ML320, I hope they don’t get in the way when making a turn.

This particular, low mileage car (21,000 miles) has a panoramic sunroof, 18-wheel with summer performance tires that will be replaced with Bridgestone Blizzaks real soon now. Not crazy about the wheels you see on the car above and they will get replaced in the Spring, when I’ll also replace the semi-run flat Potenzas that are on the car right now. This CLA has an awesome sounding Harmon Kardon sound system accessed via BMW-like iDrive knob along with a Becker NAV system interfaced through a kludgey glued-on looking screen that’s stuck in the dashboard like an a Jurassic-era Garmin.

The wait is over and I’m looking forward to driving a car, instead of a truck on a daily basis.