Wednesday, October 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Mercedes has new fun-to-drive entry model

Behind the Wheel 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. AP photo

By
From page C1 | June 13, 2014 |

The Associated Press

Mercedes-Benz’s new entry-level car, the CLA, is a fun-to-drive, turbocharged, front-drive, compact sedan that looks more expensive than its $30,825 starting retail price.

In fact, this lowest-priced Mercedes presents a competitive alternative to the 2014 BMW 3-Series and 2015 Audi A3 sedans.

Price isn’t the only attraction of the CLA.

The CLA’s federal government fuel efficiency ratings of 26 miles per gallon in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway are higher than those of the 3-Series and A3.

Additionally, the CLA comes standard with a fuel-saving stop-start system that automatically shuts off the engine during most stops when the engine usually would idle, say, at stoplights. The car starts up on its own when it’s time to move.

Yet, despite the fuel-thrifty engineering, the CLA’s 208-horsepower, turbo four cylinder packs a punch and can push passengers’ backs into the seats during acceleration.

This four-door Mercedes looks sleek and sporty on the outside, with a coupe-like profile and exterior styling that borrows heavily from the Mercedes CLS “coupe-style” sedan that starts at $73,025.

The CLA interior is nicely crafted, too, with well-placed controls and properly stitched seat and center console trim.

Even Mercedes’ MB-Tex faux leather seat material looks and feels good in the CLA and can pass for real the real thing while saving the buyer the $1,500 option price for leather.

Best of all, perhaps, for money-conscious car buyers pining to drive a Mercedes, the CLA can be configured with extras such as rearview camera, navigation system, heated front seats and harmon/kardon surround sound system while the price stays below $36,000.

There are, however, no reliability ratings yet for the CLA, which is built in a new factory in Hungary.

And rear seat room in the CLA can feel cramped.

The CLA’s starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $30,825 is $5,900 less than that for the previous Mercedes price leader, the C-Class. A 2014 CLA with all-wheel drive starts at $32,825.

Meantime, the starting retail price, including destination charge, for a front-wheel drive, 2015 Audi A3 sedan is $30,795 with 170-horsepower, turbocharged four cylinder and six-speed, dual-clutch transmission. A 2015 A3 sedan with larger turbo four cylinder that develops 220 horsepower has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $33,795. Note this upper level A3 comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Another competitor to the CLA — the rear-wheel drive, 2014 BMW 320i — has a starting retail price of $33,675 with a twin-turbocharged four cylinder generating 180 horsepower. This model comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The base price notwithstanding, it can be easy for CLA buyers to drive away from dealerships with CLAs priced above $40,000. The test CLA250, for example, topped out at $43,245 because it had $12,420 in options on it. And, it’s worth noting, even at that price, the CLA tester did not have leather seats.

But careful shopping and configuring can net buyers a CLA250 at a more modest $35,495 and with a good amount of amenities.

For example, a 2014 CLA250 can add a rearview camera as part of a $2,370 multimedia package that includes navigation system, 10-gigabyte music register and 7-inch display screen. A $2,300 premium package is required, too, according to the Mercedes consumer website. The premium package adds dual-zone, automatic climate control, heated front seats and harmon/kardon surround sound system among other things and is required when the multimedia package is bought.

The smoothly delivered, responsive power from the 2-liter, turbo, direct injection four cylinder in the CLA250 comes after a small lag when the gas pedal is pushed.

According to Mercedes, 0 to 60 miles an hour takes 6.9 seconds. This isn’t sports car territory, but the fact the 258 foot-pounds of peak torque in the CLA comes on at a low 1,250 rpm and carries to 4,000 rpm means this power is tapped quickly and during many driving situations.

The CLA’s seven-speed, dual-clutch, automatic transmission moved through the gears in sporting fashion, and engine sounds were strong and confident.

The test CLA, driven spiritedly, averaged 28 mpg, which was lower than the government’s estimate of 30 mpg. Alas, the test car mileage translated into a mere 396-mile driving range. The CLA fuel tank holds only 13.2 gallons. Note that premium fuel is required, so a fillup can cost $52 at today’s prices.

Another note: The transitions were rough when the car’s engine would start up during stop-start operations. While the car went pleasingly silent when stopped at stoplights, the tester would rumble to life and almost sound like it was coughing as the engine resumed when it was time for the car to move again. Other cars have stop-start operations that manage the transition more pleasantly.

The test CLA was nimble in its handling, though the ride was quite firm, thanks to an optional sport suspension.

The CLA interior wasn’t as insulated from sounds as higher-priced Mercedes cars, and the tester’s 18-inch, performance tires conveyed considerable road noise. But nicely contoured front seats were supportive and helped alleviate fatigue on long drives.

Buyers in warm climes may want to think hard about getting a panorama roof. In the test car, heat on 90-degree days radiated through the glass and through the black fabric shade to make the car interior quite hot.

The CLA back seat is best for only two people and not necessarily 6-footers. Rear-seat headroom of 35.4 inches is less than that in the A3 and rear-seat legroom is just 27.1 inches.

 

Comments

comments

.

News

Marathon specialist Winter heads to cycling shrine

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
County to fund pilot project for West Sac homeless

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

A favorite autumn tradition

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Terez will perform at Wine’d Down Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Apply soon to be a Master Gardener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Super-fun 5K run will support UCD students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis Arts Center: a call to artists for Holiday Sale Wall of Art

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Author showcases field biology as he revels in nature

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Entries due Nov. 1 in VFW essay contests

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Teen services grant applications due this week

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Voice of the Wood plans family Halloween show

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Garamendi will speak at U.N. Day event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Wine-tasting and auction benefit Advanced Treble Choir

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Composting workshop set at Grace Garden

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Farmers Market hosts Fall Festival

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
A Taste of India dinner benefits Davis Community Meals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Wolk sets ‘Morning with the Mayor’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Volunteers sought to chip in on parks cleanup

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Setting a good example

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A5

 
Kids form a lifelong habit of drinking water

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Women and men want the same things in cars … usually

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
California state parks show off fall color

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: A7

October is fall car care month

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Halloween Carnival planned Oct. 26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Soda bottlers spend big to fight S.F. ban

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A9

 
Mondavi Center gift shop plans holiday sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Railroad work will close Eighth Street

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
Special education information night scheduled

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9

Clinton sounding like a candidate in S.F. appearance

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

 
Vote no on Prop. 1, because it’s no solution

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

David Fitzsimmons cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

UCD women’s soccer postseason hopes flickering

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A typical Blue Devil girls water polo win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS boys hold off Rio Americano in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Devils are on track for volleyball playoffs after win

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Giants rip Royals in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
AYSO roundup: Local winners have the Eye of the Tiger

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Alliance/Legacy roundup: Italia cruises past Chico

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Fipps earns another preseason hoops award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Mariana Brumbaugh Henwood

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics