Mercedes A-Class Review< Back to blog
On the outside, everything you see is a sure sign of the luxury which awaits you when you get in. Well, almost everything – the dreaded fake exhausts on the back may dampen your spirit a little.
It should be noted that the new sharp LED headlights come with the option to have a multi-beam function. They adapt to changes in conditions on the road, such as automatically dipping the lights when another car’s lights are sensed. This forms part of the Premium Pack, which is a hefty £2,395 extra, but upgrades your A-Class from the outside in.
As soon as you step into the new A-Class, the first thing you’ll notice is the stunning dual-screen digital infotainment system, smartly arranged along the top of the dash. All standard models get a 7″ display. It’s not too high set too, meaning your vision isn’t impaired.
If you were to opt for the finishing gold-dust touches to your A-Class, then the Premium Pack boosts the screens to a 10.5″ display. This optimises the clarity of it more than anything. On top of just a bigger media system, the package will include a mood-lit cabin function which allows you to choose between 64 ambient lighting colours for the inside. The door sills will also be draped in the light, giving a cool, rich vibe while simultaneously serving as a guide for you to see what you’re doing when getting in and out of the car.
Mercedes has also completely renewed the air vents in the car, with new turbine-looking outlets which make the old A-Class and even competitors such as the Volkswagen Golf look quite prehistoric in comparison.
What about the practicality of the this car’s interior? It is a hatchback after all. Well, you’ll be glad to know that space for passengers has remarkably improved since the old A-Class. No doubt due to the car being wider and bigger than older versions. For this reason, two adults in the back will have plenty of head and legroom.
One issue is the small windows in the back, which make it a little darker with less visibility than one might like, though a small compromise which can be overlooked when you consider the vehicle’s overall class.
Infotainment and tech
It’s a blessing that Mercedes debuted its MBUX system in its compact range, because the A-Class was the first, among others, to reap the full rewards.
It features responsive voice assistant for navigation, ambient lighting, and climate control. You can now talk to your car without having to aggressively mimic the robotic tone of the system. Activate the system by simply saying ‘Hey, Mercedes’, or by using the touchscreen and buttons options.
The standard SE model comes loaded with a dual Bluetooth interface, two USB, and Mercedes me connect. The latter allows you to benefit from accident and breakdown cover if you’re involved in an accident. A less tech-savvy, but handier feature are two USB ports in the back of the car. There’s also one in the front on the centre console too. So, everyone can stay charged on the move.
40:20:40 split-folding rear seats make loading you’re A-Class versatile and easy. Want to put longer items in there? No problem. Just drop the middle seat and you can feed it through into the car’s passenger space. Likewise, if you want to fold either of the other two seats. Practicality and flexibility in one!
Stowage compartments in the front of the A-Class are plentiful. A big central storage bin at the front of the car is useful for all sorts – both the liquorice and other bits you may take on your travels.
Both doors in the front have a bin big enough for large bottles of water. And you even have a neat holder which will hold your phone to keep it out of sight and out of mind while you’re at the wheel.
The boot of this compact car had a couple of bugbears that have since been improved on. Not only is the opening wider, but the capacity is also a sizeable 29 litres bigger than previous – taking it up to 370 litres in total. And, should you need it, there’s a bit of space for underfloor storage for your smaller items.
On the road
On the road, the new A-Class is on a par with the bigger, ‘superior’ E-Class and S-Class – smoothing over bad road surfaces surprisingly well for a compact car. No doubt thanks to the adaptive suspension available in all models. This offers a ‘Comfort Mode’ which allows the car to handle worse road conditions, particularly UK country lanes.
There are a range of engines available for the new A-Class. They include a 1.2-litre turbo petrol, a nippy 1.4-litre turbo petrol and an economical 1.5-litre turbo diesel.
If you don’t clock as many miles on your car, the 1.4-litre turbo is probably a better choice. This is because the 1.2 doesn’t sound as great when you reach higher revs.
The A-Class is available as a seven-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. A tough decision considering its smooth ride experience and small dimensions. You’ll get around 3mpg more, according to Mercedes, with the automatic gearbox, but there’s more of a feeling of being ‘at one’ when you’re able to shift up and down at liberty.
If you want an automatic gearbox that makes a habit of finding the right gear more often, take a look at the BMW 1 Series. Coupled with quicker steering, BMW‘s rival to the A-Class is certainly a better alternative for driver-centric car buyers.
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