The great literary, gastronomy and automobile critic Don Tobol once said “driving a Mercedes Benz”. And these words somehow inspired me and made me feel a total dum-dum for not writing about the Mercedes CLA C118.
Mainly because the Mercedes CLA C117 was a bigger commercial success than the A Class and the GLA, but not as big as Peking Express. Of course, you won’t be doing much hitchhking in this Mercedes, but at least the idea is somewhat viable and we also got a Mercedes classic formula, the dealers of the automotive world. The Mercedes CLA C118 offers you just enough Mercedes to be satisfied, but it’s not really the whole Mercedes experience and next time you’ll want more. And that’s what Mercedes North America did to great succes, because the Mercedes CLA C117 was the first front-wheel drive Mercedes sold in the USA and it was also the cheapest Mercedes at launch, with a price of $30,000, compared to the $38,000 for a C Class, and this paved the way for the second generation.
Is the C118 the entry-level Mercedes bargain it’s predecessor was though?
At the time I wrote this article, the Mercedes CLA II started at 35,245 pounds, which made it 3,000 pounds more expensive than the A Class saloon and 4,500 pounds more expensive than the 2 Series GranCoupe and also 3,500 pounds more expensive than the A3 saloon. Which made the second generation of the Mercedes CLA a commercial success only at launch and today it is a rarer presence than jobs in IT.
Why so expensive?
Because Mercedes and because the interior has been brought up to the standards of the upper classes. In fact, the Mercedes CLA C118 is closer to the C Class and CLS than to the A Class because the A Class got its own saloon version and now the CLA sits somewhere in the middle of the center, with a personality crisis.
Mercedes ClA C118 Engines
- 1.33 Turbo M282 of 134 and 161 horsepower – Borrowed from Renault, the famous 1.33 turbo reminds me of beer bottles and I think that’s what I will do after I launch this article on the stream. It has no specific reliability issues and it can be all the engine you need, if you don’t intend to tear the miles because you can’t tear the tarmac anyway. Also available in plug-in hybrid form!
- 2.0 Turbo M260 de 190, 224 and 306 horsepower – Injectors issues, camtronic issues, pistons issues, particle filtre issues, spark plugs, carbon deposits and coil packs. And all this happens if you don’t change the oil every 5 minutes and fill up with anything but premium petrol. Because it is an engine as sensitive to petrol quality as the subject of “Who Killed Captain Alex?”.
- 2.0 Turbo M139 of 386 and 420 horsepower – The M139 is the successor of the M133 and the workhorse for CLA45 AMG, A45 AMG and so on. You would think that a 400 horsepower 2.0 turbocharged petrol has reliability issues, and you would be wrong. It only needs oil and filters changed every 5-7000 km and the engine will live long and well. And stronk. Like ox.
- 1.5 dCi OM608 of 116 horsepower – I do understand some of the hate this engine gets because it is the same 1.5 dCi K9K used on Dacia Logan and Renault Clio and Nissan Micra, but for some people it really doesn’t matter what engine the car has, and the fuel economy will delight them. I’m not necessarily convinced by this engine for a 40-45,000 pounds car either, but for some people apparently it’s not relevant.
- 2.0 CDi OM654 of 150 and 190 horsepower – Known as the last diesel Mohican from Mercedes, this really seems to be their final diesel hurrah. It is reliable in itself, but it suffers from three serious issues, just as I suffer from “disociative identity disorder”, as my doctor smugly said. First of all, this engine has a nox sensor that measures in real time the level of noxes in the air and adjusts the engine parameters, also in real time. You don’t have to be a graduate of the faculty of life to realize that this sensor will inevitably fail. The second specific issue of the OM654 engine is that it is very complex and very cramped, which is not necessarily your problem but the mechanic’s. That is, until the mechanic hands you the bill and kicks you in the nads and leaves you in a pool of your own bodily fluids, crying on the floor. The last specific issue is the AdBlue installation that breaks down if you don’t give it only Mercedes OEM AdBlue bought only from the Mercedes dealerships. And it’s a good idea to always have AdBlue with you because without AdBlue the engine won’t start. And no, it does not apply to the 1.5 diesel because that is a Renault engine.
Mercedes CLA C118 Common Issues
- Pre-facelift model still have the 7G-Tronic automatic gearbox on some engines and that gearbox is a lottery, it can be absolutely decent or it can be indecent like Deauxma’s movies. The 8-speed 8G-DCT double-clutch automatic gearbox appears instead, which is manufactured in Romania at the Mercedes factory in Sebes. Like most dual-clutch automatics these days, it doesn’t get along too well with start/stop city traffic.
- Rear space and the boot space were not a strong point either in the previous degeneration and still isn’t here either, but then again this is why you buy a posh looking CLA, otherwise you would’ve bought an cheaper A Class saloon if you valued practicality over looks.
- Genuine AMG pack cars, and not just have some glued stickers, have sports suspension and this reduces the comfort. You dare install bigger rims and the comfort decreases even more. And the rear differential is another party piece which will inevitably fail, only that it is exclusive to the 4Matic versions.
Mercedes CLA C118 Verdict
It doesn’t really enjoy the success of the first CLA because it has become extraordinarily expensive. The whole idea of the CLA was to be the entry-level gateway to the Mercedes saloon and to provide the looks for the youth that should be the target audience. But at the current prices, and especially now that the A Class sedan has arrived among us, it is understandable why we don’t see it so often on the street, just like you don’t see it any more below-the-waist action after you told her that she got fat. As a car it remains reliable and good-looking and premium, but at what price? No no, literally at what price?
Which engines do I recommend? For petrol power you can choose either the entry-level 1.33 Renault-sourced turbocharged petrol or the 3000 horsepower CLA45 AMG 2.0 Turbo, because the middle of the range 2.0 Turbo has reliability issues. Basically, with this car you either go camping in a van or to Malmaison, there is no middle ground. And for diesel it’s 2.0 diesel really, regardless if the 150 or 190 horsepower version. The 1.5 diesel from Renault is also good, but not on a 45,000 pounds car.