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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
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The camera should be standard because, like other four-door coupes, the CLA has poor rear-outward visibility.
Since it's brand-new, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 hasn't been crash-tested by either of the U.S. agencies that regularly report such data. When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offer up some data, we'll update this report.
We're assigning a preliminary score here given Mercedes' strong performance in crash safety and based on its standard safety equipment, which includes a driver knee airbag.
The CLA45 AMG has a few special talents woven into its standard stability control. A tap on the ESP button sends it into Sport mode, and allows more wheelslip and slide; another tap and stability control goes off. Either mode persists, but applying the brakes will re-engage stability control as long as the brakes are applied. There's also a measure of torque vectoring simulated by the CLA45's anti-lock braking; it applies braking to inside wheels to tighten cornering lines when the car's in ESP Sport mode.
Among its other standard safety features, the 2014 CLA carries a new Collision Prevention Assist function; using radar, the CLA can alert the driver of upcoming obstacles when it's traveling at more than 4 mph, and can calculate the amount of brake force needed to avoid an impact. The integrated collision-warning system has Volvo-like output, with visible and audible alerts when you're about to pile into someone, or something.
Also standard is Attention Assist and its coffee-cup reminder to pull over and avoid drowsy driving.Safety options include adaptive cruise control; blind-spot monitors; lane-keeping assistance; and parking sensors with parking assist.
With the push to keep CLA prices relatively low, we'd hope Mercedes will soon break out its rearview camera as an inexpensive stand-alone option. Rearward visibility isn't good, thanks to the sloping roofline, and a surround-view camera like the one in the 2014 E-Class would be even more appreciated, given the CLA's probable home in plenty of urban parking spaces.
Mercedes' reputation for safety precedes the CLA, but the NHTSA and IIHS have yet to opine.