The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is doing something all automakers dream of:
Bringing younger buyers to the brand while selling in numbers that can be described only as an overwhelming success.
Car and Driver says,
The CLA is the least expensive Mercedes-Benz available, but its swoopy “four-door coupe” styling and cool interior make it one of the most stylish cars on the road. The CLA250 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with front- or all-wheel drive.
There’s a problem with this success, though.
Everyone wants a CLA, and Mercedes-Benz can’t make them fast enough. The automaker has warned dealers of short supply, which is sure to mean higher prices and longer waits.
Now, the “least expensive Mercedes-Benz available” will probably become overpriced for what it is. For the same $30,000, why not get a late-model C-Class and get a bigger car with similar styling?
The CLA 250 has a turbocharged, direct-injected inline 4-cylinder that makes 208 horsepower. Zero-to-60 happens in 6.7 seconds, and the EPA rates its highway fuel economy at 30 miles per gallon. Sounds like fun, for sure!
A 2011 C300 has a 3.0-liter V6 that makes 228 horsepower, which is good enough for a 0-60 run in about 7.1 seconds. The EPA says the C300 will achieve 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
So for about the same money, probably even a little less, the bigger but older Mercedes sacrifices a few ticks of speed and about 4 miles per gallon in fuel economy. What a buyer will gain, though, is comfort and utility in the form of more room.
On the looks side, I prefer the C300 to the swoopy CLA. The bigger car is more elegant, while the smaller, newer one looks like it took a design cue from Hyundai.
While a cheap new Mercedes is definitely making waves, the better choice might be to go used and get more value for your money.
What would you spend your $30,000 on, a new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA, or a 2011 C-Class?