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I happened to be in Southern California on business, so I stopped at Fletcher Jones in Orange County to check out the CLA. They have quite a few in stock and I test drove one. A couple of impressions:

1. Front Seat: Feels VERY nice behind the wheel. I thought the screen would bug me, but it is in a great location and it didn't bother me at all. Steering wheel feels like a good size and the controls are all well placed. Their showroom car was white, and you could see the door gap clearly. It's not a deal breaker for me, but still looks a little bit strange. On a dark colored car I don't think it would be noticeable. The aluminum trim looks kind of cheap in my opinion. I would go with the black ash for the best look I think. Front seats feel fine to me, nothing groundbreaking. No way I would spring for the leather seats, the Tex looked and felt great.

2. Backseat/Sunroof: I'm 5'9" and legroom was totally fine. In fact, I was surprised at how much legroom there was. Headroom is a different story. I had probably 2-3 inches of room before my head would be grazing the ceiling. Anyone taller than 6 feet would have a problem in my opinion. I won't have adults back there too often, so not all that worrying for me. Pano sunroof is awesome - really opens up the interior. Also a must have for me.

3. Trunk: Larger than I anticipated. Sales guy told me it holds 30 bags of groceries for those that are wondering...lol

4. Exterior: The Xenon/LED lights and the sport package are a must. The car just looks too plain without it. The car I test drove had the standard lights and it gives the car a totally different feel. I love the way the sport body work makes the car pop.

5. Test Drive:
- The 7 speed takes some getting used to I think. Felt like it was shifting too soon in some cases, and when braking, you can clearly feel the downshift. This car does not jump off the line. I had a couple of opportunities to straight line accelerate, and the torque doesn't really kick in until around 3rd gear (I think). However, when you've got some speed going (like on the freeway), the turbo gives you a pretty decent pick up. I was impressed with how zippy it felt up higher in the gears. Paddle shifters felt very responsive - almost no lag.
- The sales guy let me take a few corners pretty fast and the car does well for a FWD. Very little body roll. The ride is a little stiff, but I think that's the 18's and low profile tires mostly. The steering felt very crisp and responsive.

Overall: I think it's a great car for the price, depending on your lifestyle and use. Not for everyone, but for a smaller guy like me that is coming from a coupe and rarely giving adults a ride in the back seat - doesn't get much better. I'm picky about my cars, and there aren't many cars that will turn heads like this one. If I can get the right deal from my hometown dealerships, I think I'm on board.

I snapped a couple pics of the showroom car.

photo 1.JPG photo 2.JPG
 

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Did you do the acceleration test in Eco or sport mode?
I finally got a drive yesterday. Very impressive overall, it exceeded my expectations in most every category. The Eco mode behaves pretty much like what you'd expect. At the first (long) stoplight I mentioned to my passenger that the engine had shut down automatically. When I let my foot off the brake she was totally surprised! It worked very well. Followed that with some Sport Mode time - what a difference! Very strong acceleration. The horsepower - and the torque - are more than up to the task of breaking the surly bonds... Couple that with 30/38 mpg and you can smile at every pump you drive by!
 

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What did you think of the placement of the radio/nav control knob on the lower console? I thought it was a bit too far back to use comfortably.
 

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What did you think of the placement of the radio/nav control knob on the lower console? I thought it was a bit too far back to use comfortably.
Your right! The control knob is oddly too close to the armrest, i thought maybe my seat wasnt far back enough during my test drive. Will have to look at that again..
 
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