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Palm Springs Road Trip - 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test Posts: 10,059
edited October 2014 in Mercedes-Benz

imagePalm Springs Road Trip - 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Long-Term Road Test

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 once again proves to be an agreeable road trip companion, which makes its around-town behavior all the more disappointing.

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  • The current generation CLA is not ready for prime time IMO. Mercedes is clearly out of their comfort zone with a car in this price range. They don't do cheap very well. They are trying to compete with Audi in an important high volume price range but don't have the experience. Audi simply takes VW's already excellent MQB platform throw in some enhancements for rigidity, drop in the turbo 4 engine/DSG drive train they have been using for years and high quality materials and you have the class leading A3. Since this platform and drive train is used in a lot of VW brands the costs of manufacturing is lower which in turn allows Audi to offer more car for less money than Mercedes.

    BMW still has not entered the below $30,000 market and you'll be hard pressed to find a 3 series below $40,000. This is smart move on their part. Why cheapen the BMW brand when you offer MINI's? Most BMW dealerships also sell MINIs. Customers who can't or won't pay for BMWs are pointed to MINI's where salesmen quickly point out is also built by BMW. BMW technology and engineering (Edmund's 3 cylinder engine in the Mini also has BMW's TwinPower name) for a lower price is usually the big selling point. I know they are thinking about a 1 series but I hope they keep the 3 as the entry level model.
  • @allthingshonda,

    They already make a low-priced 1-Series hatchback in Europe. Furthermore, the FWD 1-Series sedan is almost finished with development and will be on our shores in about a year and half. BMW and MB can't afford not to take advantage of very possible niche. They will get steam rolled by VW if they can't maximize every possible profitable opportunity.
  • @mercedesfan

    The entry level market is growing and getting better but Mercedes needs to figure out how they can differentiate from Audi instead of just saying "I can do that too." Years ago I remember that the entry level Mercedes that up and coming young professionals drove was the 190. It was small and didn't have a lot of fancy equipment but it was Mercedes to the core. The attention to detail, craftsmanship, and the solid tank like build quality. Most importantly they lasted forever, especially the 190D, and was known for durability and reliability. This was how Mercedes USED to get people in the family and keep them there. You didn't mind paying more for a Mercedes because you felt like you were buying the best engineered and most reliable vehicle in the world. They weren't the fastest or best handling and not going to win any beauty contest but no matter what the door will always close with a solid thunk, interior materials will stand the test of time and it will easily go 100,000 miles and won't ask for more than fuel and fresh oil. That now describes a Toyota or Honda and is the exact opposite of Mercedes.
  • @allthingshonda,

    I never said the CLA was a great car. I actually don't much care for it at all. However, it is necessary for them to explore new markets from a long-term profitability stand-point. Hopefully they can turn the CLA into something decent in the next generation.

    Comparing the CLA to the 190 is a terrible comparison, though. The 190 was the precursor to the C-Class, thus a step up, and extremely expensive during its day. Back in the 1980's it was priced from $30k. In 2014 dollars that is nearly $60k! The CLA had to be built to a price, let's be honest. It was never going to be the 190.

    Also, I would argue MB still presents a pretty darn compelling reliability argument. There will absolutely be electrical issues along the way, but MB's powertrains have the second lowest probability of failure in the industry (second only to Honda). Similarly, their structures age like none other and their interiors hold up incredibly well. Old MBs still look better than similarly aged vehicles from any other manufacturer.
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