Looks like USA Today published their CLA impressions over the weekend, not pretty. If we wanted we could get all uppity and cry that USA Today knows nothing about the cars or Mercedes, but that would be sad, on our part. USA Today represents and speaks with a large majority of shoppers Mercedes is hopping to tap with the CLA and GLA...
On to the article:
The maker handed over some of the first-built CLA 250 sedans, and the high-performance CLA 45 AMG version on sale in November, to pixel-stained journalists this week, and if comments among themselves are an indication, you won't read a lot of the "no compromises" articles the company would like.
clearly the press is not being particularly wowed in typical Mercedes fashion. I bet the discrepancy actually ads alot of negative stigma to the CLA than if it was from another maker.
Apart from whether it's a full-blooded Mercedes, points to consider are whether it's a good car: pleasant overall, satisfying to drive, practical to use, handy to operate. It does not pass those tests.
So again, nothing to auto journalisty, just the average run of the mill considerations 90% of buyers would or should take.
Gorgeous. Striking from every angle. Looks alone should sell a ton of CLAs.
pretty girl with no substance...
Back seat. Decent knee and legroom, but the swooping roofline that looks so good shrinks the back-door openings mercilessly and chops off headroom for anyone over about 5-foot-6.
M-B says it's a deliberate compromise. It believes the mid-30s and younger Gen Y target audience will be more excited by the styling than aggravated by its rear doors.
same old concerns we've heard since before launch, arrogance in assumptions from Mercedes. Gen Y may not have families of their own, but we do have friends and we do go places...
Cumbersome connectivity with benefits. After fumbling through menus presented by Mercedes-Benz's aggravating Comand electronics system, the car eventually paired with, and faithfully retained connections to, both a Windows Phone and an iPhone.
It wasn't necessary to identify one as the default or priority phone. Whichever phone was making or receiving a call was the one the car routed to a hands-free system.
The system was quick to pick up where it left off, without any instructions or switch-flipping, on whatever Bluetooth programming a phone was piping in when the car was shut off. That's exceptional, in our experience.
Thats interesting, but how many cars can an infotainment system sell by it self?
Hard ride. Slams over potholes and tar strips. The AMG version, even allowing for its extra-sporty suspension, was dreadful. Made your teeth chatter and your speech vibrate on only mildly uneven paving.
The CLA 250, which should have been far more comfortable, wasn't. Fine on smooth roads, but nearly as bun-slamming as the AMG over the slightest texture.
M-B disagrees, saying the chassis tuning is as intended.
Same old hard ride complaints, any owners find the ride to be too stiff?
Noise. Unexpected in a Mercedes-Benz, tires whined over some concrete, roared over coarse asphalt.
Outside the 250, the engine sounded rackety, unrefined. Inside, not so bad. Any bothersome engine sounds in the AMG were delightfully masked by its provocative exhaust note.
bet that can be traced back to the door gaps we've seen the CLA show up with...
Interior. Lots of talk among the auto writers about the inside being "cheap" or "cheesy." M-B says it hasn't heard those comments, even though the CLA's been on sale overseas long enough for such feedback.
A couple of the test cars had embarrassing misfits of trim, which M-B says shouldn't have been there and aren't present in showroom vehicles.
Screen for the optional navigation system sticks up and out from the dashboard. It's supposed to resemble an electronic tablet, like those that M-B believes are beloved by Gen Y.
Some journalists found it cheap-looking, Test Drive and others liked the look and function. Mounting it away from the dash puts the screen closer to line-of-sight, and tucks it further into the car's interior to shade it against sun glare.
Overall, the CLA is disappointing. Yes, it has a lot of features and stature for the price. And the styling's nonpareil. But, no, it's not all the way there in refinement and premium persona, which largely are what make a luxury brand worthwhile.
The taped on Nav Screen was purposeful to represent the tablets we know and love... Ok... So the misfitting trim shouldn't be there, build flaw. Basically they end it by saying sure the CLA is good, just not Mercedes good and not $30K good...
read the rest Test Drive: 'Bargain' Mercedes CLA disappoints