30 Days of the Mercedes CLA: Gas Mileage

October 30, 2013

We're at the end of our 30 days of seat time with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250, and before we wrap things up tomorrow, it's time to report on the gas mileage we accrued over the past few weeks.

We measured the CLA's fuel economy over a total of 1,774 miles, topping it off and checking tire pressures at each re-fueling stop. Over that time, the CLA earned 33.4 mpg. The driving was weighted slightly more toward interstates and four-lane divided highways, but also included several hundred miles of back-road driving--the kind begging for paddle shifts and Manual mode, with stop/start disabled.

Our highest measured figure was 34.7 miles per gallon on a single tank, which correlated to 37.3 mpg observed on the CLA's fuel economy meter. The gap between the car's analysis and the numbers from the pump itself? It's an issue we've reported on before, and a chief reason we do gas-mileage runs based on our own data--because your car's fuel economy gauge is probably wrong.

On the bright side, with more city driving on our first and last tanks of gas, we never dipped below 31.9 mpg.

The CLA's EPA ratings put our numbers into context. The agency rates the CLA 250 at 26 miles per gallon city, 38 miles per gallon highway, and at 30 mpg combined. Our CLA--and probably our driving habits--gave us a few miles per gallon of efficiency over that combined figure.

But the CLA gets credit all its own for efficient design and operation. The CLA 250 sips fuel compared to the next-larger Mercedes C-Class, whether it's front-drive as in our test car or all-wheel drive, a version that's coming soon to showrooms. The CLA claims to be one of the most aerodynamically clean shapes on the road, and its dual-clutch transmission gives it the real-world efficiency of a manual transmission--so long as you keep its Eco mode engaged, and its stop/start feature enabled.

We won't be getting the diesel version of the CLA that's headed to Europe, and a hybrid's out of the question--but with real-world efficiency along the lines of what we've seen, the CLA trounces our luxury-performance expectations, not to mention some other compacts, luxury-branded or not. Ford's Focus, with similar equipment, is rated at 27/37 mpg or 31 mpg combined; the Buick Verano Turbo isn't even close, at 21/30 mpg or 24 mpg combined.

We're wrapping up our stint with the CLA tomorrow, with a recap of our social-media exploits and with some thoughts on the future of the new compact Mercedes lineup. Last-minute questions? Follow us at the links below.


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