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Mercedes-Benz set a goal for itself: bring down the average age of its customers from 53. The CLA is part of the implementation of a strategy to reach that goal now.

The CLA sits at a $30,000 price point, which is perfect because it allows people who would normally go with an Accord, Camry, or Fusion to go with a Benz instead.

The interior of the CLA is nice, but you can see where cost saving measures took place, like with the faux-leather MB Tex seats, and a lot of plastic.

Benz made some techs standard for the young people, like Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and mbrace2 (the brand's smartphone app.) Other techs come in the popular Premium ($2,300) and Multimedia Packages ($2,370.) These include satellite radio, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a 7-inch resolution display with the latest version of COMAND and 3-D maps.

Options like power seats, folding second-row seats with trunk access, Collision Prevention Assist, and Attention Assist are on the equipment lineup. In other words, most people are going to want something more than the base model, which means that it will end up costing you more than $30,000, but that is just nit-picking.

The CLA runs on a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine, and it is pretty efficient. The EPA says that it gets 26 mpg (38 on the highway.) And you have three different driving modes to control your driving experience: sport mode, Eco mode, and comfort mode.

The standard sport suspension lets you feel every part of the road for better or for worse. Torque is strong as 258 lb-ft, and the max horsepower is 208. 6.2 seconds to get to 60 mph.

Motor Trend makes mention of the small back seat too.

Conclusion: "The American repositioning of Mercedes begins with the CLA. Soon, the movement will include the GLA crossover. With the CLA250, engineers have put together a vehicle that melds technology, style, fuel frugalness, and sportiness seamlessly, and a build quality that new brand buyers -- both young and old -- will devour. Recalibration for Mercedes-Benz is definitely on the right track.

Read the full review here: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 First Test - Motor Trend
 

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I've heard from two dealerships in town that 80-90% of all Mercedes sold are MB-Tex so I don't think it's a cost saving measure in the same sense as plastic. Plus after sitting in MB-Tex to be honest I'd rather have that since I don't have to worry about the seat looking 100 years old after three years as I do with leather.

As with the suspension, all the German luxury brands are stiffer than their equivalent Japanese competitors. That's just German. I found it quite comfortable in comparison to other Germans. And even an old Caddy will bounce like it's offroad around DC and NOVA, where smooth calm roads are the exception.

But regardless, of course it's a cheaper looking car than the rest of the lineup. A C class is a luxury car in the states. A C class is a taxi in Europe. This car was built to expand the brand in the US and emerging China market. I actually agree with almost everything in the review. But I just don't see it as a bad thing. I mean, you get what you pay for. Unlike with a Hyundai where you may get even better materials and ride for that price, when you buy a Mercedes some of your cash goes to the badge. A Seiko tells time as well as an Omega, but the Omega costs a lot more.
 

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6.2s to 60 is the quickest I've ever seen documented so far.

They probably tested the car on a 1/10th tank of gas and with their 90lb intern in the car.. :p
 

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And vinyl is not what Mercedes is about, is it?
Maybe it is. You can't compare MB now to MB a few decades ago before bean counters started to run the company.
 

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I prefer leather, even if it looks a lot like Artico / MB-tex. I gains a nice patina over time and it includes the cut and sewn dash and upper door panels for a little detail and visual interest.
 
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