The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is an all-new model that is intended to give the German brand a stronger foothold in the entry-level luxury segment. The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class trades primarily on its styling and its price, each of which have been conceived specifically to appeal to an area of the market that may never before have considered purchasing a Mercedes-Benz. More affordable than any other Mercedes-Benz model, the CLA-Class also represents the first time that the automaker has offered a front-wheel drive model in the United States.
Let’s take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.
01. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Is A Four-Door Coupe
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class – like the larger, and more expensive CLS-Class that came before it – is being marketed as a ‘four-door coupe.’ Stripping aside the seemingly contradictory jargon, this means that the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class features the same dramatic rearward slope to its roofline that is often a feature of traditional coupe designs, only with the added wrinkle of maintaining the perceived practicality of four interior ingress and egress points. Mercedes-Benz also claims that the shape of the CLA-Class makes it slicker than the Toyota Prius from an aerodynamic drag perspective.
02. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Offers Limited Interior Room
The downside of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class’ style-first roofline is that it significantly intrudes on the rear seats. In fact, even average-sized adults will have difficult making themselves comfortable in the CLA-Class’ rear two positions, as headroom is sub-par compared to a standard sedan and even legroom is restricted. Further challenges posed by the four-door coupe’s design conceit include difficulty when installing a child seat, as well as strapping a young one inside of that seat once it’s been wrangled into place. Trunk room for the Mercedes-Benz checks in at a slightly-below-average 13.1 cubic feet, but the rear seat does fold forward to free up additional space.
03. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Features A Turbocharged Engine
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class comes standard with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes use of a turbocharger to produce 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The presence of direct fuel injection as well as an automatic engine start/stop system allows the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class to boast a fuel efficiency rating of 26-mpg in stop and go driving and 38-mpg during highway cruising. Combined, the EPA figure for the CLA-Class is listed at 30-mpg, and it takes the compact sedan just a few ticks under seven seconds to make the sprint to 60-mph from a standing start.
04. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Provides A Dual-Clutch Transmission
Unlike most other Mercedes-Benz models, which are outfitted with a conventional torque converter-equipped automatic transmission, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual unit. A pair of clutches serve to disconnect the gearbox from the engine ultra-quickly and without the power-sapping effects of a torque converter. This dual-clutch design allows for much more rapid gear changes than either a standard automatic tranny or a shift-it-yourself manual, and it can be set to either a fully-automated mode or run through the ratios manually by way of steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. No other transmission type is offered with the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.
05. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Is Front-Wheel Drive
Front-wheel drive was long a no-no for Mercedes-Benz’s American offerings, as the company was concerned that this drivetrain layout wouldn’t be able to deliver the smooth and dynamic experience associated with its rear-wheel drive models. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class makes a go of it with a front-wheel drive chassis, however, swayed by the fuel efficiency associated with this type of design as well as the less expensive packaging costs that Mercedes-Benz has passed on to customers in the form of a low retail price. All-wheel drive is slated to become an option with the CLA-Class later on in the automobile’s lifetime.
06. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Comes In A Single Trim Level
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is offered in the CLA250 trim level, which provides a number of premium features right out of the box. Cruise control, power windows and door locks, rain-sensing windshield wipers, the COMAND vehicle interface (complete with a 5.8-inch LCD screen), genuine imitation leather, Bluetooth connectivity, a memory feature for the driver’s seat, and power adjustments for both front positions are standard. 17-inch rims, along with a steering column that both tilts and telescopes, are also included free of charge with the CLA250 model, as is a CD player.
07. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Offers Several Options Packages
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class can be customized by buyers through the installation of a number of individual options and packages. The Multimedia Package provides a navigation system, a larger LCD screen to view it on, and a rearview camera, while the Sport package includes a number of tweaks to the CLA-Class’ exterior styling as well as 18-inch rims and bigger brakes. It’s also possible to have the Premium 1 package installed, which offers genuine leather seats with heaters for those riding up front, in addition to an upgraded stereo system, satellite radio, and dual automatic climate control.
08. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Can Be Had In An AMG Edition
There’s actually a second trim available with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, but it’s so over-the-top in comparison to the base edition of the car that it should be treated as its own unique model. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG makes use of the same basic platform as the standard CLA250, yet is enhanced by enormous brakes, stiffer suspension tuning, and standard all-wheel drive. It also sports a beefed-up edition of the entry-level car’s 2.0-liter engine, this one featuring a twin scroll turbocharger that allows it to punch out a hefty 355 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. The CLA45 AMG maintains the same transmission as the CLA250, but it steps up to 18-inch rims.
09. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Provides Extensive Standard Safety Gear
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class packages a surprising number of airbags into its tiny confines, include not one but two side-impact units for front passengers along with dual forward airbags, a driver’s knee airbags, and side curtain airbags that cover those riding front and rear. On top of this, the CLA-Class also adds electronic stability control and traction control, a standard Attention Assist feature to keep drowsy drivers from falling asleep at the wheel, and Collision Prevention Assist, which makes use of forward-facing radar to detect potential collisions, warn the driver, and intervene with the brakes if necessary. Optional with the CLA-Class is the Driver Assistance package, which includes a lane departure warning system as well as a blind spot monitoring system and adaptive cruise control.
10. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Is The Most Affordable Mercedes-Benz
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is priced to sell, with a starting MSRP of just $29,900. Of course, tack on the car’s delivery fee and you are looking at more than $30k, but this still makes the CLA250 far-and-away the least expensive model sold by Mercedes-Benz on American shores. The CLA45 AMG isn’t nearly as budget-friendly, as might be expected given its staggering performance: the hot-rod CLA runs buyers a hefty $47,450 plus delivery. In any case, both CLA-Class models are much cheaper than their equivalent C-Class starting points and are competitive with most rivals in the compact luxury segment.
You may also be interested in...
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Road Test & Review
Mercedes-Benz COMAND System Review from CLA250
2014 Mercedes-Benz Luxury Compact Sedan CLA250 Road Test and Review
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Compact Luxury Sedan First Drive
Fire Away: Ten Minutes with Mercedes-Benz USA President and CEO Steve Cannon
April Auto Sales: 28th Consecutive Month Of Record Sales For Audi