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30 Days of the Mercedes CLA: How Does Its Quality Measure Up? Page 2

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

A few more notes on initial quality. Our car showed up with tires inflated to different pressures than those recommended on the CLA's door jamb. The sticker calls for 39 psi on cold tires at all corners; our CLA's tire-pressure monitors indicated 36 psi on the fronts, and 32/31 psi, left to right, across the rear. It's possible it softened up the ride, and dragged on fuel economy, but it's been adjusted and checked with a separate tire gauge. So far, it hasn't changed the tenor of road noise, though the open-aggregate asphalt on I-85 generates more tire sizzle.

Wind noise is pretty well-controlled, in our car, just a whisper around the left mirror. There's no active noise control nonsense muffling the powertrain, and mostly, it's not necessary. The CLA 250 does have a direct-injection noise that's almost diesel-like, mostly audible from outside the car.

Finally, some touches we like. The trunk lid has covered hinges and a natty appearance--if you've peeked around a MINI's tailgate, it's the opposite. The fabric trunk liner has a handle molded into it, for clean-hands closing. There's still an ashtray, for whatever reason--but in the space where a conventional transmission lever would live, the column-and-paddle shifted CLA has a deep third cupholder, with a removable rubber liner and the superhero ability to hold 64-ounce water bottles.

Next, we'll spend some time going in-depth with our 2014 CLA's powertrain and connectivity features--and take the CLA for another long-distance road trip. Stay with us as we bring you more details, driving impressions, and information on the new compact four-door.

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