• 2015
  • 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class


in Upscale Midsize Cars

MSRP: $29,900 - $47,450
Invoice: $27,807 - $44,129
MPG: 26 City / 38 Hwy
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Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class ranks 11 out of 17 Upscale Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class impresses test drivers with its sporty performance and attractive styling, but some say it makes a few compromises that keep it from being truly competitive in the class.

The CLA250 has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, while a more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder AMG engine is found in high-performance CLA45 AMG 4MATIC models. Reviewers say that the CLA250 has sufficient power, while the CLA45 AMG is impressively potent, especially during spirited driving. They like the CLA-Class’ seven-speed dual clutch transmission’s crisp shifts, though some say it hesitates to downshift when more power is needed, and that it can be jerky in city driving. The CLA250 gets 26/38 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, which is excellent for a non-hybrid upscale midsize car, while the CLA45 AMG gets 23/31 mpg. Reviewers say that the CLA250 is agile on a winding road and that the CLA45 AMG is remarkably secure when pushed hard through turns. The CLA-Class’ brakes are praised for being strong, and while most critics like the steering’s accuracy, some wish it provided more road feel. Several reviewers warn that the CLA-Class has a jarring ride on bumpy roads, though they say it delivers a relaxed ride on the highway.

Most test drivers think the 2014 CLA-Class has a well-appointed, quiet interior, saying it looks and feels pricier than it is. Though they think the CLA-Class’ seats are supportive, they say that its back seat is small. Test drivers like how easy it is to pair a phone using Bluetooth, and they appreciate the large screen that comes with the available navigation system, saying it’s easy to read. They note that the available COMAND infotainment system is confusing, though, and that you have to go through several menus to find what you’re looking for. Some reviewers also say that it takes time to adjust to using the gearshift selector, which is located on a stalk coming from the steering column. The base 2014 CLA-Class comes standard with features like Mercedes’ mbrace2 telematics and information system (subscription required), Bluetooth, HD Radio, a knob-based electronics/infotainment system with a 5.8-inch display screen, rain-sensing windshield wipers, attention assist and collision prevention assist. The CLA-Class can be equipped with features like a panoramic moonroof, a rearview camera, blind spot assist, front and rear parking sensors, active parking assist, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote window opening and closing, navigation with a 7-inch display screen, a Harman/Kardon audio system, satellite radio, a six-disc CD/DVD changer and iPod connectivity.

  • "Of course, the big question surrounding the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan is whether you'll see it as a genuine Mercedes-Benz or a half-hearted budget alternative. The CLA certainly feels like the real thing from the cockpit, as premium materials and a suite of safety and multimedia features check all the boxes for Benzness." -- Edmunds
  • "Tellingly, the CLA is heavy on value-wert, the Germans say-with standards such as seven air bags, the 5.8-inch LCD screen with central controller, the mBrace2 telematics system, and the Collision Prevention Assist system, and a load of competitively priced options. But its real appeal is in the optics. It looks like a winner." -- The Wall Street Journal
  • "Overall, the CLA is disappointing. Yes, it has a lot of features and stature for the price. And the styling's nonpareil. But, no, it's not all the way there in refinement and premium persona, which largely are what make a luxury brand worthwhile." -- USA Today
  • "We're pretty certain Mercedes has a hit on its hands. The CLA moves the company into a lower financial rung, but doesn't feel like a cheap, low-content car made simply to boost sales figures. And attractive styling helps separate the CLA from the rest of the entry-level luxury pack." -- Popular Mechanics
  • “The CLA250 is a budget-priced Mercedes-Benz that is hardly budget-equipped. Featuring just the right amount of wrong in a car that an average Joe can afford, it is the perfect vehicle that will draw new customers to the brand as their older more established buyers age out." -- Left Lane News

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Other Cars to Consider

The BMW 3-Series has a spacious back seat, according to reviewers, and they like its high-end cabin materials and intuitive iDrive electronics system. Test drivers say that lively handling makes the rear-wheel drive 3-Series one of the most fun cars to drive in its class.

Though it’s not quite as athletic as some rivals, reviewers say the new Infiniti Q50 delivers a comfortable ride and capable handling. The rear-wheel drive Q50 also comes standard with a V6 engine that critics say provides abundant power and rapid acceleration.

Compare the CLA-Class, 3-Series and Q50 »

Details: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

The five-seat 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a new sedan for 2014 and is available in two models: the front-wheel drive CLA250 (all-wheel drive is optional) and the all-wheel drive CLA45 AMG 4MATIC. A turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission come with the CLA250, while CLA45 AMG models have a more powerful turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder AMG engine and a seven-speed AMG Speedshift dual clutch transmission. CLA-Class models are offered with various packages that add technology, safety, comfort, convenience and driver assistance features.

See full 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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