Today’s Post by Joe Farace
In January 2016, I purchased a used 2014 CLA 250. It had 22,000 miles on the odometer and was clean as new and well equipped, although it lacked the 4Matic AWD option and wasn’t an AMG model. Not that made any difference to the haters out there who didn’t even think the AMG model, which includes 4Matic, was a real Mercedes either; clearly mine was a pretender too. Now I have 33,000 miles on it and I want to share some of my experiences and impressions:
I really like the exterior styling of the CLA 250; it’s better looking, I think, than the C-Class. The interior, not so much, but that’s the case with the C-Class too. Neither hold up to Mercedes cars of the past. Heck, even my wife’s 2006 350SLK, which originally cost $55,000 when new (we bought it used) has an interior that’s not as nice as my friend’s Honda Ridgeline.
The car rides OK and handles relatively well. One thing that helped was ditching the crappy Continental run flat tires it wore substituting with Michelin Pilots on aftermarket wheels that, I think, make the car look better too. Because we live in Colorado, we took the stock (ugly, I think) wheels and put on a set of Bridgestone’s awesomely awesome Blizzak snow tire for winter driving and my tire choices and changes have worked out well.
In the recent past, Mercedes re-invented to column shifter and even puts it on the S-Class. The problem with this is that it’s an electronic implementation and the shifter is mostly a cosmetic appendage; shifting into D when starting never works the first time and sometimes requires doing it a second of third time. As does reverse. It’s as stupid as the rising wheel shifter that Land Rover used on my Evoque. The trend of ungainly, ugly, awkward shifters across the European—and some American—car world has to end sometime. And can’t some too soon for me.
The non-touch ICE screen looks like MB doesn’t know how to integrate the screen into the dash, maybe Mercedes engineers should be made to drive any Japanese or Korean car to see how its done properly.
But the biggest flaw of all is the location of the B Pillar. I am a US medium-sized individual and I have to climb around the B pillar to get into the driver seat. Even my wife, who’s smaller than me and has the seat much closer to the steering wheel, has to climb around it. My theory is that Mercedes, in their quest to get an entry level car that actually looks like a Mercedes, built this car around the smaller A-Class hatchback platform and now we’re stuck—actually I’m stuck—with it. This one feature is so maddening that it will be the reason that come January 2019, the CLA 250 will be gone.
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