This month, we're getting a deeper dive with one of the bigger new-car stories of the year. We're spending 30 days with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250, just as it goes on sale in the U.S.
One of the reasons it's a big story? It's a Mercedes-Benz at a $29,900 base price (not including a $925 destination charge), with what we'd consider a reasonable amount of standard equipment. Every CLA 250 has a 208-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with shift paddles; power windows, locks, and mirrors; Bluetooth with audio streaming; cruise control; a power driver seat; 17-inch wheels with run-flat tires; a sport-tuned suspension; and MB-Tex upholstery.
There are no major lapses for the class, save for a rearview camera left to the options list. You'll have to hunt far and wide, though, and exercise a lot of patience to find any CLA configured in base form, at a total price of $30,915.
Most CLAs you'll shop will have more features added to the sticker--18-inch wheels and tires, for example, are expected to be on almost every car sold in the U.S. So how does the CLA 250 price out, once you've chosen some of more popular features?
MORE: Read our 2014 Mercedes CLA review
Our 30 Days test car is a good example of a mid-priced CLA 250. It's Cirrus White, with Sahara Beige MB-Tex upholstery--without an upcharge for paint color or seating surfaces. The stand-alone options applied include $500 in 18-inch wheels with summer tires and $325 in black-ash wood trim.
Our CLA 250 also has a rearview camera--which doesn't appear in the cockpit until you've spent $4,670 for two packages. The $2,300 Premium Package adds satellite radio; heated front seats; Harman Kardon surround sound; a garage door opener; and dual-zone automatic climate control. It's required before you can order the $2,370 Multimedia Package, which includes the rearview camera; COMAND infotainment control with navigation and voice controls; a 10GB music hard drive; a six-disc DVD changer; and real-time traffic and weather information.
Our CLA 250 also carries an in-car data service provided by Verizon, for $14 a month that brings in-car hotspot service; Yelp! and Facebook connectivity; Google Local Search; and streaming internet radio.
Tally it all up and include $925 in destination charges, and our CLA 250 is priced at $36,320--right in the sweet spot of compact luxury.
The ideal CLA 250, optioned up to almost our heart's content? That's a much more expensive proposition. To all those basics, we'd add a metallic paint--say, Mountain Grey metallic for $720 (there's a matte grey finish for $2,500, a red metallic for $1,750, or even a purple for the same $720). We'd also take the panoramic sunroof for $1,480; $850 for the bi-xenon headlamps and LED taillights; a $2,200 Sport package with a body styling kit; AMG-style wheels; painted brake calipers; and a diamond-finish grille; and to the Premium package, we'd add $1,500 for ash-grey leather and aluminum trim.
We'd also grab blind-spot monitors, for $550. And since it's new, we'd take the $480 illuminated three-point star, Mercedes' counterpunch in the LED lighting wars.
Next week, 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.