There's a car-buying strategy that says if you go to the dealership on a rainy day, you'll have the place to yourself and can drive a sweet deal. Everyone else will be at home, so the theory goes, trying to stay dry.
I asked a salesman about this once and he said it wasn't true at his store: Rainy days were some of the busiest days in the showroom, since everyone believes they're they only ones willing to brave the elements. But that was at a new car dealership. Would the lonely-rainy-day phenomenon prove true at CarMax? I took the long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 there to find out.
But before I myth-bust the rainy day theory, let's talk about the offer we got from CarMax (on a sunny day). The CLA was year old and a couple hundred miles shy of 20, 000. The Edmunds trade-in value was estimated at $26, 060. I had a feeling the CLA would get a strong offer from CarMax. In general, luxury vehicles tend to have high resale value. We didn't go crazy with the options when we bought the car and white is a fairly popular color (for better or worse).
Plus, CarMax always parks its luxury cars in the front row and they are the first things you see when you step out onto the car lot. Our CLA would make an excellent, reasonably priced addition to the front line.
Take a guess on the CarMax offer before moving onto the next paragraph.
It was a light duty month for our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. We only drove it for about 963 miles and filled it up with 91-octane gas four times. Those miles were fairly consistent with our driving style, since the needle didn't move in terms of our fuel economy data. Our lifetime fuel economy still stands at 28.4 mpg, which is about 5 percent under the EPA combined 30 mpg estimate.
We'll be selling this car soon, so I don't anticipate these numbers will change much in December.
I did not put the key to our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 back on the car board this morning. Rather, it went into the hand of Ron Montoya, consumer advice editor and car buying/selling extraordinaire, signifying the end of the CLA's year in our fleet. To put it simply, it's been a disappointing year.
You might love start-stop, you might hate it, but it's here to stay as long as the EPA incentivizes it. At least you can turn it off. But the bigger annoyance is that our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 defaults to Eco mode every time you start up. First you tap the Eco button to disable start-stop, then the E/S/M button to get Sport mode. Weak.
My first time behind the wheel of the controversial 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 found me driving up to Willow Springs International Raceway, a distance of about 100 miles. It's mainly freeway driving and I was lucky to be going against traffic. Not only did I get to pass miles of stopped traffic going the other way, but I was free to pick my speed — carefully. This car likes to go fast. And in such a well-insulated car, you don't want the first indication of your speed to be flashing lights in your rearview mirror.
As I drove, I thought of the mixed bag of comments this Mercedes has received. I agree with those who love this engine. It's hard to believe it's just a four-cylinder. And being front-wheel drive, while it flies in the face of Mercedes tradition, doesn't detract from the fun factor. But then I began to consider what I had read about the ride quality.