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Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Just too little Mercedes? (CNET On Cars, Episode 36)We find out if the Mercedes CLA250 clears the bar of its brand, figure out Mazda's cryptic Skyactiv technology, and run down more fuel economy myths!
Here to say. Okay. -- as a Mercedes too little Mercedes. -- this sky active taking a page from diesels playbook. And top five fuel economy millions more of them time to check the deck and C -- different. Things -- -- among the and under the hood but also objected to. And are known for ten. -- -- ugly is included. At no extra cost. The good the bad the bottom line this -- CNET on cars and welcome to CNET on cars that show all about high tech cars and -- -- I'm Brian Cooley is -- the dark -- ever -- But that reputation for up its quality status and yes -- rights that are part of the brain. Well at 29900. You know Mercedes ELA -- prompting those questions a lot. Here's your answer. Now the big story in luxury cars these days is small take a look at BMW to. Refreshed IS from Lexus -- CLA from Mercedes. But the nice thing about working the other into the market did you also -- younger part of the market. And they will be arrest last buyers of tomorrow. And this car is part of what helped push Mercedes back to the top that we closed out will be thirteen of and they'd like to -- You are all lines are not so much derived from the C class it's one notch up brother but interestingly borrowed from the way upscale CS collapse. You see this kind of drooping over arc across the top that's real CLS kind of stuff on the other hand they're very proud of this space they say this game right off the concept car on the auto show circuit I gotta say it does look pretty hot. And it was what we saw -- -- simple. And an outback you've got these sort of aggressive low. Holders in the rear bumper it all speaks to younger -- -- most bands. Now the front of cabin on this car is one of its strong points to get a good quality Mercedes -- here I think it's about the most modern looking -- I've -- which is good at this car age or younger audience. That doesn't want a lot of our -- I don't. Thanks and most importantly it's got the family steering wheels is a big part of the identity of a car ditto for the head unit. And this sort of pop -- toaster look at display which is all in vogue right now. As use it got the knob which is bush -- and click and you've got back and clear buttons on -- simple streamlined and of course the German cars that won't touch the screen doesn't doing. This is Mercedes current commands system that navigation is hard drive based eighty gigabytes of hard drive data on there. But they've also got ten gigabytes -- aside for media for you to put your collection on which you're never gonna build. On this car we have serious satellite radio which also brings in traffic and weather but that's optional by the way. As -- -- -- the audio display is good rich good use of meta tags they do get truncated though and you do have album -- -- there let's take a look at some of the sources are am and FM with HD radio satellite radio -- is optional. Disk or six disc CD dvd that's an optional pick SD card no thank you there's that ten gigabyte storage USB. And it here I've got a media interface for -- iPod which I had to use an adapter for because I've got an or iPod Touch. Bluetooth calling. Bluetooth streaming by the way -- standard on this car which is a nice touch some cars don't make you pay extra for the streaming part. And that way over here over the globe to get the acoustic and activities things Mercedes apps streaming radio apps there's your serious whether you can also under the web site URL you want to look at although not when you're driving and boy is this whole system dog -- This needs to be sped up -- I don't know what firmware changes -- activity optimization. This is -- -- a moss a lot of -- -- Internet radio lives over here separate from audio it's all audio guys put it all together. That navigation system right there is optional interestingly so -- rear view camera I find that kind of machines in the article out there degree and there are -- that cost less they give it to you for free. By the way if you've got an iPhone consider -- 600 dollar iPhone drive -- dealer installed. And does a different interface than you've seen here for social media streaming radio and Siri voice. -- -- -- the drive control technology in this -- it doesn't have -- adaptive suspension so there's -- elaborate control for that here's your shifter installed base which is kind of -- -- for a car that -- so young you know a lot of -- gonna wish they had a lever down here but look how much console -- to give up to this is Smart if not and of course you got -- -- -- on the way down here is the eco -- this defaults on if you select it -- off it -- -- the auto start stop technology. Which I'm okay with because even on this car -- your gonna see it's a little crunchy. And then down here -- drive mode control sport. Manual efficiency. The efficiency is the nearest thing to a normal mode the sport is obviously sport in the manual lets you hold your -- without the card coming back to its own logic. Now -- -- like rearview camera aren't knowingly optional some other things are not that are kind of nice. Now the attention assist that figures that if you're drowsy and alerts you to that standard on this car. As -- forward collision warning. And -- breaking technology it does not have automatic full -- to stop a collision at optional or standard level. Class -- actually in the -- of the optional but rather impressive panoramic -- but I'm pretty small -- of glass panels -- enormous by today's standards but its way they're gonna classic moon -- for sun -- and it opens up a small. Haven't nicely which is good because it here in the backseat hate the person in the front read that there at least that'll help -- -- -- That is a CLE 250 which tells you almost nothing about it and -- a two and a half liter -- -- two liter inline Turbo four with direct injection in other words it plays all the hits of modern motor design. But he gets -- of her Mercedes in a couple of ways first of all it's sitting side saddle. It drives the front wheels their first front wheel drive parceled the American market. Also gonna be available -- as an all wheel drive area but this is how it starts. Here -- the numbers you've got 208 horsepower 258 foot pounds of torque and at the twin scroll Turbo -- parking. 3200 pounds or so gets up to sixty about six point nine seconds answer respectable. MPG numbers like 2638. You're getting it seems bulge his partner -- was that. And the transmissions -- respect -- it was only seven speed dual clutch automated means when they developed in conjunction with this -- -- -- to -- out. Buying it. We'll find out -- it was worth their effort. I've told you before I get to our view -- I don't look at this extreme in the wrong -- don't really know what the power train is when I got this one. I thought it was a diesel. -- automatic. Here's why but the diesel because there's kind of course engine. And there's that sort of -- lag that Turbo diesels of course -- -- war. But then -- of torque after that. I thought it was an automatic. Because that gearbox was so civilized -- and couldn't be anything else. And that tag instead of god and gas engine -- -- is -- headlines. So the fact -- it felt like a -- -- -- a compliment -- to a gas -- but the fact that this dual clutch transmission felt like a regular automatic. Is -- high brightness. Mode switch down here when you're an economy that -- is just too lazy. It's buried under -- seven year all the time -- the throttle response is like dumb. You go to sports helmets granting -- -- -- -- just like I am. And finally the ride quality just isn't Mercedes which may or may not be a good thing depending on your taste you either hate how harsh it is. More like the fact that it doesn't feel isolated from the road. I think it's a little too much the former beyond that though all the other driving inputs -- great because -- -- -- as well rated invariably your -- showed. Then when you do get on -- shipping yourself aren't great on the car -- -- and that's sweet spot it's from night. Okay let's price -- CLA now you know the headline on this car. Under thirty grant will not by the time you add destinations they're pushing 31 that's fair enough. But here's where things really leave the lives of 33 options you need to go CNET. Start web -- panoramic roof for 15100 to premium package for 2300 if you automatic temp control heated seats. That Harman car audio I've -- interface things like that. Multimedia package 2300 more which includes rear camera and some other niceties. That iPhone drive hit 600 bucks at the dealer. Driver assist brings you adaptive crews at the passive blind -- heavily -- technology another 2500. If you want semi automatic parking nearly a grand for that. And then if you wanna activate all -- to have -- on the dash and happy embrace app on your -- you can -- the car unlock the -- things like that. That's a 450 your -- they didn't even go as far as spending forty bucks to get AMG door lock. -- -- All the -- the cnet's -- this -- north of 41000. Dollars but still a very inexpensive Mercedes. I would wait a model year or have you regret that in the ride quality -- one more pass on it may be some of those drives profiles something in between the he has support please. But there's no mistaking this is -- Mercedes and that's a big part. You can find our full review on that Mercedes CLA by the way it cars dot cnet.com. But there -- laser. Radar sonar and cameras this -- gonna do a better job looking at the road -- we do is drivers too often we're sitting there fixate on the back. Of the car in front of us or worse the Smartphone in our hands. But glance and -- management is the key but under some technique of great interest to the smarter drive and we should be. Simply put the younger drivers have accidents at roughly five times the rate. A more experienced drivers and see their parents generation. -- was -- -- only account for about half that. So an experiment was done a University of Massachusetts at Amherst to train young drivers and what they call -- Risk awareness and perception trained -- basically turns peripheral awareness while driving into a crude sort of computer games awarding points. If you see what's around you. So the research program was trying to -- getting younger drivers to recognize these threats from many peripheral collateral areas. Not just the Linear space in front of and behind their -- They got the recognition -- of these peripheral hazards up to about 65%. In young drivers. Compared to just 37%. In the untrained ones. The old Dodgers have kind of a similar issue. As drivers get -- realize their reactions are slowing and they tend to slow down their driving and increase their down quite a bit. As a result frontal impacts among 78. Year old go to quite dramatically but -- impacts go way up. So researcher's -- got older drivers who for example scanned the area around the -- they're making a turn not just the area where there are pointing back to -- -- the -- team got older drivers decide -- in at a rate of around 83%. Up from an untrained 44%. It helped that this group was real receptive to the input they noted. Because they were all quite afraid of losing their driving privilege should they have a lot of access. This may -- incredibly. Sort of basic. And I admit it is but the more I read about this -- -- researched the more possible it keeps coming up. You gotta face the driving task is one that is not Linear as these lines on the road suggest but that is a 360 state. It's one of the habits that drops away from many classes of drivers pulled. Young and perhaps those that are just distracted or bored with the tax so its key that we all there and behind it. Check the cars to -- to. What's going on Friday a Linear what's going on around you and besides -- what's going on behind you -- your mirrors or cameras technology. These are all areas that it pays to doubles that. Up next we demystify one of the dubious names technologies under the hood. When CNET on cars rules on the. This is where the fiesta as -- 890 brake horsepower and 214 pounds of food -- -- bright. -- -- -- -- Wonderful -- checked so show me incredibly difficult to knock on the change and it has a very very flat so we -- -- brilliant. Let me know saves the have a whole lot must you can still use it this is something current it's still very conservative bill -- the they seem to get stressed to -- thanks. Find more from the X cart team of CNET UK at cnet.com slash X gone. Welcome back to CNET on cars from our home at the -- -- of -- do we react just north of a Golden Gate Bridge. You know you may have seen our recent video on the deal Mazda three and it was powered by something called sky active gasoline engine. Most people are -- unclear what sky active. It's of interest big batch of new technologies get it leverages a lot of classic engine fundamentals. So it makes for a great car tech 101. So what the sky active technology. Basically it compresses the air fuel mixture to a much higher degree than you normally see in a production gas engine car. Up to fourteen to one ratio which gas -- don't normally approach that's actually working on -- levels with the rest. What's the big deal when you get a lot more out of that -- And when you do dancing and make better use the people gonna get more power. On the other hand is a huge downside high compression engines wanna three decade or spark knock in other words combustible for the Smart plug even those off. That causes all kinds of problems of power durability and efficiency of New Orleans so what do you do. First of all they've created a very -- -- exhaust architecture. Where these long exhaust blunders -- -- hot gasses away and blend them farther from the -- That's good because once all of their firing up hot gas doesn't perfectly into it -- cylinder which are a lot of other designs -- -- Secondly they're using it if it is not in using our video -- what it the end of they're all about -- ahead hysterical bill went ahead and hemisphere will instantly look up there to -- it really compress everything. They're doing that but they also have a little well aren't that at the top of the business which allows the victims' names of the -- needs before it takes over the whole silicon. And I did using direct injection was a lot of carmakers -- -- but that has a lot of benefit here it gives you very precisely meters of gas is there until it really needs to be. It blow up early and because it's injected right into the -- -- the gasoline is cooler. Because it didn't have to run down a hot and take water and hot intake port on its way to the cylinder. And also helps prevent -- and don't lose market want that to happen. Bottom line must -- Up 15% improvement in both fuel efficiency and -- using -- act. But remember. The typical gas engine only -- about 30% efficiency from a gallon of fuel. Wasting the remainder has dissipated -- heat so 15% better than that isn't exactly game changing but it helps. Also the sky active cards that are -- old west we'll have their compression ratio dropped to a still lofty thirteen to one. The concession being made so we can beat them regular gas. In a moment fuel economy myths -- when CNET on cars continues. So make this car a little bit more luxurious jugular is done little did she thinks it's not for the scroll I mean this has -- the join Jesse engine problem. The fiddled with the suspension the -- for more nuptial. Also I can go future things in the back of the -- this television because it only happens for this car has a horse and policy page. It's us PlayStation -- table. Check that out. -- -- tools extend it comes. To content at regular and I have it -- -- -- also and here are a couple of withdrawn lovely. Some painfully to pick polls that history -- stills of this column. It chilled. Champagne holder and this car comes with a book you have pulled me. Find more from the X cart team of CNET UK at cnet.com slash X -- Welcome back to CNET on cars I'm Brian Cooley. And here -- some of your email this one comes in from rake in Winchester -- who says hey -- I've been watching a lot of your videos lately that talk about cars having to look overdrive gears I don't even know what -- this -- please explain. Happy to do so. Overdrive is very simply whenever your engine is turning slower than your actual real rotation it's a very tall -- That's typically accomplished in the transmission that's him -- -- to a lot it can also be affected by the final drive ratio of the differential in a rear wheel drive car but let's focus on the transmission because that's what you hear me talking about. When you get your bicycle let's say you go to top gear you're barely turning your pedals and the crank but your wheels are spinning -- -- really hauling that's kind of an overdrive situation. It's a big -- cruising gear but it's not very responsive for making sudden acceleration changes or climbing hills where you want to increase speed. You can find over -- the specs of cars. Notice the gear ratios if you dig down -- there any of them that are below one point oh aren't overdrive extremely tall here where the engines turning slower than the wheels. What you hear me talk about now our cars and having -- transmissions were seventh and -- are overdrive or nine speeds or eight -- nine -- overdrive that's kind of unusual. Back in the day either fourth fifth or sixth when you're only overdrive gear but -- -- so many columns lately over drives becoming up. Populated little town -- -- top five we did recently top five fuel economy. And I got so much great email from you we have more fuel economy has so many of them that I've decided to do another top five more people. -- -- these are yours in the top five that you came up. Number five fill up your -- but it's cool outside. I put this one low because if you're under fifty you probably never heard it right up there -- nuclear bomb drill. Now yes gasoline does expand when it's -- to give you about 2% if you were portable molecules dispensed at ninety degrees that it sixty. Canada and Hawaii for example have temperature compensated gas pumps because they've got and usually extreme climates. But for most of us the difference canceled out across the year as we go from warm to cold -- -- -- gas stations don't store their fuel out in the driveway it lives underground where temperatures swings are far lacks. Number -- turn off your headlights. -- also ranking this low since daytime running lights and all kinds of new laws -- -- driving with your -- -- almost illegal. Yes headlights -- put a little draw on the alternate her to recharge the Jews that they take the battery. But by most tests -- account for a tiny fraction of one MPG lost. And -- LED lighting proliferating that's gonna get tinier all the time. Number three turn off the air conditioning. This is really interesting the idea here -- you kill the AC turn it off to reduce drag on the engine. And be quite up to three miles per gallon that's big he rolled out the window instead. Well how it works depends a variety of tests by consumer reports car and driver in the oak ridge national labs have found varying results. That changed by the speed you're driving and the model car. Bottom line here as a rule -- windows that when you're around town air conditioning and windows up when you're on the freeway. -- shut off your car and a red light. Yes it does save people which is why carmakers are installing automatic start stop systems. But if you do this manually on a car that doesn't have that technology. Where -- your starter right quick and that's gonna cost you more than all the gas he'll say. And also many modern car sense when their stopped. In drive and the service break is depressed and they go into a low fuel flow mode anyway. Number one has to be. Diesels are more economical -- I'm not saying they are strictly speaking yes a diesel gets more out of a droplet of dinosaur agrees. But you have to pencil and a couple other factors. The higher cost of low sulfur diesel in the US it averages several tens of cents -- gasoline. And the typical premium you pay to buy a diesel power train car. The long term savings are likely there but don't expect more -- money in week one or even gear one. By the way what are thing you really wanna save some gas. Asked -- the -- off your roof and -- -- trunk of the car makers spend millions to improve their aerodynamics or even cut forty pounds off a car's weight. They what do you do you go only eighty pounds of crap in the trunk for no reason and -- back kayak -- on the -- all year. There is an improvement that's low -- -- it. -- enjoyed this episode thanks for watching. You know we're always looking to bring the gospel of modern motoring to more people around here so if you haven't mentioned -- your social networks lately. -- appreciate -- if you did we'll see you next time we check the -- Okay that's it.