2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Review
The CLA displays a chin-focused look, with a long front overhand and a massive front end
by John Clark | 25 June 2014
The team over at AutoEvolution recently checked out the 2014 Mercedes-Ben CLA 200 CDI with the AMG Package and scored it a respectable 77 out of 100 with a 6 out of 10 in the value for money category. Based on readers however, the CLA scores an 84 out of 100. Below are a few of the things they had to say about the Mercedes CLA.
- The CLA displays a chin-focused look, with a long front overhand and a massive front end. As for the Mercedes CLA’s rear end, it sports plenty of tricks aimed at making it look wider.
- There are certain details that have been exaggerated in order to achieve this effect. If you look at them from the wrong angles, you’ll notice the “trying too hard” effect. The radiator grille is one of the examples here.
- Inside the CLA, we find a cabin that matches the exterior’s aesthetic claims. We are treated with the same concave-convex play designers used for the CLA’s exterior and it all spells “premium”. When night falls, the ambient lighting around the cabin accentuates this effect. Unlike other new Benz models, the CLA’s cabin is not a scaled down version of the S-Class interior, but the ambient lighting part is clearly inspired from the Mercedes flagship.
- “The pillarless doors were a must here, with an aural downside though – closing the doors doesn’t bring that solid sound Mercedes cars are famous for.”
- The sports suspension included in the AMG package, brings the already low ride height down by 0.4 inches (10 mm), to a supercar-matching 3.54 inches (90 mm). Throughout the drive, we only encountered issues while going over some serious potholes in an industrial area. Still, having such ground clearance on a “civilian” car can be frustrating. For instance, even mentioning parking over a curb is blasphemy.
- The ride, on the other hand, is a good compromise. While it is comfortable enough for most road inconsistencies, it does get rougher when you encounter potholes that the non-AMG suspension could swallow. Still, if you want your CLA to also work well outside the city, this is the choice to make.
- Around town, the optional 7G-DCT seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox can be caught red-handed in heavy traffic – when you get back on the power, it can get jerky. However, the transmission is fine most of the time. This is a gearbox developed by Mercedes, but we would’ve preferred the ZF 8HP torque converter box. While the Merc unit almost matches the ZF in terms of comfort driving, it clearly falls behind when it comes to quick shifts and driver interaction – the paddles on the AMG steering wheel are aptly placed, but the setup doesn’t necessarily invite you to use them.
- The 9.3 seconds the engine needs to push the car to 100 km/h are within the average of 2.0 diesel-powered vehicles of this size. When it comes to efficiency, the unit does please. Depending on the weight of the traffic and out right foot, our city fuel efficiency ranged between 6l/100 km (39.2 mpg) and 9l/100 km (26 mpg).
- The safety of the CLA gets nine out of ten. While US safety regulators have not shared their opinions on the baby Benz yet, the Euro NCAP treated it with five stars.
- The CLA 200 CDI is also safe as far as your wallet is concerned. Sticking to the speed limits on the highway and to a moderate driving manner makes the car return an efficiency of 5l/100 km (47 mpg). As for the overall efficiency throughout our drive, we got 7l/100 km (33.6 mpg), with this covering all sorts of driving conditions.
- With most petrol and engine version you have to struggle really hard to upset the chassis through the bends. This is why the 4Matic all-wheel drive is only available as an option on the CLA 250 warm model, which delivers 208 hp (211 PS).
- AWD is standard on the CLA 45 AMG though. A stint in the AMG revealed precise handling. The car still tells you that the front axle is in charge, unlike in the BMW M135i xDrive. (Yes, we do know the two aren’t exactly what you’d call direct competitors)
- Over in Europe, the CLA begins at EUR 29,214 including 19 percent VAT. The range starts with the 122hp CLA 180 petrol. The diesel side of the line-up starts with the CLA 180 CDI, which will set you back at least EUR 31,416, 19 percent VAT included. A fully-loaded CLA 45 AMG can reach US$76,600 or EUR70,000.
For the complete review and photo gallery check it out at AutoEvolution.