Mercedes-Benz's all-new 2014 CLA250 is an entry-level compact sedan that the automaker hopes appeals to younger buyers. Judging by its sales, it's definitely appealing to lots of car shoppers; in October the CLA250 averaged just eight days on dealership lots. If any of those buyers have children in child-safety seats, however, they're in for some problems. Our Britax Roundabout convertible's tether hook didn't fit in the CLA's tether anchor. This earned the CLA an F in forward-facing convertible fit.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
What We Like
- The two sets of outboard Latch anchors are among the best we've used because they sit out in the open, but the tether anchor problems caused us to give the Latch system a C grade.It was easy to install the rear-facing convertible after we moved the front passenger seat forward. Thankfully, it didn't need as much space as the infant seat.
What We Don't
- The top tether anchor opening (shown in the Forward-Facing Convertible photo below) was so small that we couldn't connect the convertible's tether hook to it, so the seat isn't safe to use. Connecting the top tether strap reduces a child's head movement by 6 to 8 inches in a crash. Because we couldn't connect to the tether anchor, we gave the fit of the forward-facing convertible seat an F.
- To fit the rear-facing infant-safety seat, we had to move the front passenger seat as far forward as possible and then adjust the seatback forward, too. Our tester in the front passenger seat was extremely uncomfortable.
- The CLA250's rear seats are heavily bolstered, and our booster seat barely fit into the seat bottom cushion. The booster sits right against the stable seat belt buckle, crowding it.
A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.
B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.
C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.
D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.
F: Does not fit or is unsafe.
About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks
Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.
Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.