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The 2014 CLA takes its cues from the trend-setting CLS four-door "coupe," and the expressive look could hardly look better, scaled down as it is.
As cars get smaller, it's more difficult to make them look great--but somehow the CLA's high nose and side view preserve the best of the CLS, while giving up the long-nose proportions that define every other Mercedes-Benz.
That front end may be the best expression yet of the newest Mercedes identity: the tall vertical grille and contoured air intakes show up on this year's E-Class, too, toning down that car's overly angular nose. The frameless glass on the doors and the pretty profile were previewed on last year's Concept Style Coupe, and the production version keeps them intact, along with the jazzy design imprinted into the grille. The archetypal curves stamped into the rear fenders are the clearest connection to the CLS (or even to the ur-Corvette): they draw back through the sideview like a slingshot. There's softness in the way the CLA's rear glass rounds off quickly, but it's relieved by crisp LED taillamp ribs.
It sounds like heresy, but the Mercedes-Benz CLA has a better grip on the modern sport sedan than the C-Class. The C-Class has taken its time to get in better shape, to approach the athleticism the 3-Series used to have. The CLA has it out of the gate--a strong, firm handshake with the driver that's frankly a surprise, given the easy temptation to make it all things to all new Mercedes buyers.
In the CLA, the compact dimensions don't affect the front passengers nearly as much as they do those in the back. The CLA 250's front seats are Recaro-like in their shape--and they're good ones, with great firm bolsters around the back and on the sides of the bottom cushion. They're covered in a combination of MB-Tex synthetic leather and cloth on Edition 1 models and all MB-Tex or all leather on all other CLAs, depending on your wallet. The seats are adjustable for rake and position, with power adjustment for the driver and manual for the passenger seat, which moves via levers and wheels in the VW idiom. That's to say, it's a reach to get to the wheel that adjusts seatback angle.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.