Go

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

Mercedes-Benz's high-end reputation was built on pricey cars like the commanding S-Class sedan and the iconic SL roadster, but the German manufacturer is hoping its all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan can draw more buyers from the growing entry luxury segment, attracting a younger generation of brand loyalists with an attractive starting MSRP of $29,900. Borrowing styling cues from the bigger and more upmarket CLS, which launched the so-called 4-door coupe trend, the all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class wraps a more aggressive version of those looks into a smaller, tighter package that aims to steal car shoppers away from compact to mid-size sedans like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Cadillac ATS. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Mercedes-Benz CLA boasts two primary selling points: premium looks and a surprisingly accessible price of entry. Sure, it's not an elegant, proportional masterpiece like its upmarket sibling the CLS, but this chip off the block is still arguably sexier than virtually all of its competitors.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're serious about using the rear seats, you might want to skip the CLA. While there's enough headroom for most folks under 6-feet tall, getting in and out of the rear quarters – not to mention maneuvering a car seat back there – poses a serious challenge.

What's New for 2014

The Mercedes-Benz CLA is all-new for 2014. Though it slots below the C-Class in the manufacturer's lineup (and undercuts the C250 by about $5,000), the CLA is slightly longer. However, when the redesigned C-Class debuts later this year, it will trump the CLA in size.

Driving the CLA-Class

Driving Impressions If you were to slip behind the wheel of a standard Mercedes-Benz CLA250 and hit the road, you'd be hard pressed to tell it was a front-wheel-drive car. The car...

launches smartly off the line, and only under the most extreme dynamics does it reveal the "plowing" – aka, understeering tendency front drive cars are known for. Nonetheless, more dedicated drivers might want to opt for the 4Matic all-wheel-drive version, which better responds to aggressive steering and throttle input at the limit. The turbocharged 4-cylinder engine produces a mild 208 horsepower, but that's enough grunt to help the CLA feel peppy under most circumstances, thanks in part to the well-chosen ratios of its crisp shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Hardcore enthusiasts should find their bliss in the CLA45 AMG, which packs a serious wallop with its 360-horsepower engine, stiffer suspension and standard all-wheel drive.

PANORAMA ROOF
Especially since the CLA cabin is somewhat snug, the available panorama roof opens up the space to make it feel spacious and bright using a fixed polycarbonate cover, and a glass panel that slides back.

ELECTROMECHANICAL STEERING
Many electric steering systems feel numb and disconnected, but the CLA's setup manages to infuse plenty of feel at the wheel, making for an entertaining dance partner on winding roads.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Details
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class photo Interior

The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class feels intimate on the inside, especially when compared to the C-Class sedan – which actually has a smaller overall footprint but a bigger interior. Credit (or criticize) the CLA's low-slung roofline for the counterintuitive discrepancy. Nonetheless, the CLA's cabin is outfitted with surprisingly decent materials, from the dash and trim components to the standard MB-Tex upholstery, which didn't make us miss real leather hides. Our only gripes came from small plastic bits like the cup holder and the mirror control surrounds. Other than those minor slips, the CLA's interior feels more upmarket than its price point might suggest.

Exterior
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class photo

The CLA takes on an aggressive stance with its arched silhouette and strong character lines, though its relatively narrow width and surprisingly skinny tires betray its otherwise imposing road presence. At least those items help the CLA250 achieve the title of "World's most aerodynamic car," beating hybrids like the Toyota Prius in the wind tunnel with a drag coefficient of only 0.23.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The CLA250 comes equipped with a surprising amount of standard bells and whistles, including rain-sensing windshield wipers, cruise control, and a power driver's seat. Hill-start assist and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters are also part of the $29,900 entry price, as well as safety features like collision prevention assist and attention assist. Bluetooth is also standard on the base model, though you'll have to opt for the Premium Package for an iPod/MP3 interface.

Optional Equipment

Spring for the Premium Package ($2,300), and you'll get a harman/kardon Logic7 Surround Sound system with SiriusXM satellite radio, heated seats (which are also available a la carte), and a few other goodies. A Multimedia Package ($2,370) offers a bigger 7-inch screen with navigation and SiriusXM traffic & weather, as well as a 10-gig music hard drive and a rearview camera. Standalone options include 4Matic all-wheel drive, blind-spot assist, and the "self-parking" Parktronic feature.

Under the Hood

Mercedes-Benz's entry-level sedan is available with two powertrain configurations: a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 producing 208 horsepower on the CLA250, and the tire-slaying CLA45 AMG version of that engine churning 355 horsepower. The pumped-up AMG iteration earns the distinction of being the first 4-cylinder engine from Mercedes-Benz's in-house tuning branch. Both mills are mated to 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions. The standard configuration is front-drive, with 4Matic all-wheel drive available on the CLA250 and standard on the CLA45 AMG.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250/CLA250 4Matic
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
208 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/38 mpg

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG 4Matic
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
355 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 22 Ratings for the 2014 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.7/10

What a Great Car

By on Sunday, January 03, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had many cars through the years and so far this is the best. Car is fun to drive and mileage is great. the back seat is not as tight and critics would have you believe. had 3 seating in back with no complaints. I compared to the competition and best lease for the money. Ordered the car in Brown which you don't see much of. Great color. my biggest complaint if not knowing you had to order multi media package to get Bluetooth to function without using phone! this is bad! One assumes when you see Bluetooth in standard features phone would work by pushing a button on steering wheel."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Saturday, January 02, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great car, this is my 3rd Mercedes Benz and so far so good. Driver and front passenger seats very comfortable, back seats not as comfortable but not too bad. Few issues, Engine light on, took it to the dealer , they took care of it, it was a sensor."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I'd buy another one tomorrow

By on Sunday, October 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fantastic car, great driving dynamics, looks good."

Cons: "None, really."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Entry level Benz with same luxury features as many of its C and GLK class siblings. The DCT enhances the performance of the 2.0T engine. As all MB products can accelerate quickly once it gets going. Driving dynamics are stellar. Interior is quality and presents well with high-grade finishes and top stitching on the seats. Very comfortable for driver and passengers alike, although entry to back seat is difficult due to coupe design. fold-down seats add to utility of an already spacious trunk. I bought one of the early models so not having a lot of choice I had to settle for a car with fewer options than I wanted. No problems and no regrets yet. And for the first time ever, I can say: I'd buy another one tomorrow if I had to."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Love my baby!

By on Saturday, September 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love the look of the car and have no issues with the drive. Love love love the panorama sun roof. I was able to get what I wanted and I love the color and interior design. I have driven the car for one business trip and loved how well the car handled and the gas mileage. My only beefs are that there is no foot rest on the driver side for my left foot and I wish there was a slit in the arm rest for the USB cord so my cord is not mashed when the rest is closed. Overall I couldn't be happier with the car."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

very fast and great car to finally grow up to

By on Monday, August 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,300

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "very fast, very reliable, fun to drive."

Cons: "expensive not a cheap car per say"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

just before i purchased.

"fantastic very fast,great traction in adverse winter weather (4matic). gorgeous exterior and interior. I have a fully loaded 45 AMG with RECARO racing seats and carbon fiber. I have this car for a 1yr 1/2 totally awesome car."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

just before i purchased.

Best Premium Car in its Class

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Premium feel, great price, oustanding economy."

Cons: "Less performance, tight rear seating."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"A lot of what you read out there is this car versus another car that is not in its class. You cannot fairly compare this car to, say, a BMW 320 or a Mercedes C300. This is a compact luxury coupe that happens to have 4 doors. It is not a closer to mid-sized sedan like the ones mentioned above. Keep that in mind when you read peoples reviews. The CLA250 is in a niche (test) market. The only real direct competitors at this time are the Acura ILX, BMW 228, and Audi A3. The BMW 228 is a 2 door, so that isn't exactly the same class. Nevertheless, these cars are aimed at people that want a lower price point luxury vehicle with great fuel economy and smaller dimensions. Lexus, Infiniti, etc., don't make a competitor vehicle. Maybe you could throw in maxed out Altima's, Camry's, and Accord's, but that would be a stretch to call those luxury vehicles. Having said all that, the CLA 250 is a fantastic car in its class. The interior feels very premium at this price point. The console layout is great and feels like modern premium. Its well thought out and has all the right touches one would expect in a luxury vehicle. The BMW feels antiquated by comparison, while the Audi is just plain terrible. The Acura ILX actually has the next best console/cockpit layout and feel after the CLA250. The front seating on all four cars are what one would expect in a compact luxury car. If you are much taller than average, you will feel cramped. For people of average height and lower, there is plenty of comfort and room to be had. None are the clear winner in this respect. You will just have to experience each of them and judge for yourself. In our opinion, the MB power seating controls, seat heating, and other minor nuances, are what place it at the top. The rear seating on all four cars is cramped, even for a compact car. Again, there isn't a clear winner here. Taller adults will struggle to get comfortable back there. MB does give the back seating some nice touches, though, that are absent or just not as nice on others. Overall, MB gives the rear seating more of the premium treatment than others. Performance is best on the BMW. It is the sportiest, quickest, turns the best, and so on. This may not be supported by test reports, but that is how it feels compared to the others. MB has the best ride, although, it is not great by any measure. Your best bet is the get the 17 inch wheels if comfort is on your mind. The 18 inch wheels do make it sportier and turn better, but you get more road feedback. The CLA 250 gets top marks in the economy battle outside of the Audi A3 Diesel (which is a $3000 option). Nothing much to say here. 26 city / 38 highway is outstanding for a car that also can do 0-60mph in about 6 seconds. The MSRP price of the CLA250 was the second best after the Acura ILX when compared to similarly equipped vehicles. We found that MB was the most willing to negotiate savings off the MSRP (during the Summer), though, and also gave the most for our trade. Acura and BMW wouldn't budge below 4% under MSRP, and that was on their loaner cars. Audi wasn't willing to go more than 6% under MSRP. MB was offering 10% off MSRP without even trying on any in stock brand new car. MB offered us at least $1000 more for the trade, too. The overall deal was clearly the best amongst these four cars. Overall, you just cant beat what Mercedes put together on the CLA250. It really comes down to preference, though. Some would rather sacrifice the premium for more sport. Some would rather sacrifice economy for more rear seat room. It really is in the eye of the beholder. For everything we valued, the CLA250 was the runaway winner, with no real close second. If we had to rank them, it would be MB CLA250 in front, followed by Acura ILX, BMW 228 and Audi A3. The Acura is perhaps the bang for your buck leader after the CLA250. If you can find the right dealer at the right time, you may be able to get a better deal on it versus the CLA250. BMW is the clear sport luxury leader, where the emphasis is on sport. The performance is outstanding for a vehicle in this class. Audi is dead last. It is not a very good vehicle at all. The console/cockpit is atrocious. That alone is enough to walk on by. The ride is bad, the economy is sub-par, and the list goes on. I would be happy to own the CLA250, ILX or 228, as they are all great vehicles in their own way. I would pass on the Audi A3."

16 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?


Advertisement