For Mercedes-Benz, the CLA has been a sales success. The entry level Benz has opened a whole new market of buyers for the brand.
Even as the sales figures have risen, its reliability ratings have not. The CLA struggled in Consumer Reports’ 2014 Annual Auto Reliability Survey.
“Not only is the CLA the worst performing Mercedes in the survey,” deputy auto editor Jon Linkov told Business Insider. “The CLA is also actually 140% worse than the average car.”
Linkov added that the CLA’s poor showing as one of the big reasons for Mercedes’ 11-spot fall in the latest reliability survey, to 24th from 13th.
Consumer Reports ratings show the CLA suffers from a raft of problems, ranging from engine and audio issues to glitches with the things like the power windows.
CR also reports numerous squeaks and rattles, which the publication defines as “body integrity” issues.
For the Stuttgart-based automaker, the CLA has sold and leased well in the U.S. due to its low (for a Mercedes) price point — around $US35,000, for a well-equipped model.
However, Consumer Reports has not been impressed by the over all execution of the product. “The CLA is not a great vehicle,” Linkov said.
“It’s small, cramped, and with a front-wheel drive chassis is also missing some Mercedes-Benz DNA.”
Mercedes sedans, like other luxury cars in its segment, are known for offering rear-wheel-drive platforms. Consumers associate front-wheel-drive cars with more mass-market vehicles, from automakers such as Honda and Toyota.
As a far as reliability goes, Mercedes has been down this road before. New models tend to have kinks that need to be worked out.
Linkov cited Mercedes’ flagship S-Class sedan as an example — a car that starts at just over $US94,000.
“By the end of the previous generation’s product life, Mercedes had worked out all of the issues with the car, so it had fairly bulletproof reliability.”
But he said that the current S-Class makes use of far more extensive use of advanced automotive technologies, so buyers are reporting more problems.
Mercedes has vast engineering prowess and deep financial resources, so it should be able to solve the problems with the CLA and the new S-Class.
Take a look at Consumer Reports’ review of their 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 test car:
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