Up: Head-turning style, price.
Down: Limited back seat space, options get pricey.
Neutral: $30,000 is the new $50,000.

This is it. It’s finally here. A brand new car that I’m genuinely excited about and I’ve been waiting over 9 months to sit behind the wheel. Mercedes has built up so much hype of offering so much car for such a small price tag. Here is the all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250.

Why am I so excited? Because this is the first Benz I could go out and buy tomorrow and not have serious buyer’s remorse the next day. Mercedes-Benz has been labeled, in my generation’s eyes, as this elusive luxury vehicle that late 30’s bank executives buy to show off to their friends. Now, a 20 something college grad can buy one to show off to their friends. So the question is, did Mercedes-Benz sacrifice all of its Mercedes-ness to build an affordable, luxury vehicle?

Well they definitely didn’t skimp on the exterior. Looking down that gaping nose with the giant Mercedes logo tells you that this car means business. The style continues down the side with bold lines and a similar curved profile like Mercedes’ own S-Class. As expected, the engineers at Mercedes even know what a hubcap is so each model comes standard with at least 17″ alloy wheels. And to top it off, the CLA250 has some of the coolest taillights in the industry.

2014 Mercedes Benz CLA250-10

The looks continue to impress on the interior as well. You get the same instrument cluster as you do in other Mercedes models and they’ve even mounted a screen with a large display for your audio…standard! There is no gear lever between the seats so you get a lot more storage and almost everything can be controlled right from the steering wheel area. My favorite parts are the wood grain accents and the retro looking air vents. The only downside I could find is perhaps a lack of room for your extra tall friends in the rear seat.

Alright, alright, so Mercedes made a car that looks good for under $30,000 but how is it to drive? Pretty damn good! A 208 hp turbocharged inline-4 and a 7-speed dual clutch transmission comes standard on the CLA and you can drive it as hard or as soft as you want. You can set the engine to turn off at stop lights to maximize your mpg’s or you can grab on to the paddle shifters and maximize your fun. It’s even quite nippy through the corners and the tires are Mercedes approved so you know they’ll keep you on the road. Again, I’m only talking about the base model but you can add all of Mercedes’ premium driver assistant features to make this an even better and safer car.

And finally, who’s going to buy one? I want one, a lot, and I definitely fit the demographic. Or do I? Jeff Driver at Luxury Auto Mall told me that the first couple to test drive their CLA was around the age of 80! It doesn’t surprise me at all. The car has head-turning looks, 5-star features, above average mpg, and it’s exciting to drive. In fact, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 might be Mercedes’s greatest achievement yet.

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I am the founder and editor of Short Shift. My obsession with wanting to drive every car ever made me build a website so I could share my experiences with the world. I love cars, traveling, and my cats, Henry and Winston.