Mercedes-Benz A Class Review: A class of its own
The A Class is all class on a PCH lease
The Mercedes-Benz A Class has established itself as a luxurious big-name option in the hatchback category and customers are flocking to it – especially now it can be driven on a lease. Motorama’s Tom Roberts reports.
Mercedes-Benz has poured all its experience (and robust feedback on previous versions) into the latest version of the high-selling A Class that Top Gear magazine recently described as packing “some real wow factor”.
It’s true that the A Class has been around for a while in various configurations, but THIS version is the one that matters. It’s a new design from top to bottom, so it’s getting top billing in our reviews.
Building on success
When you think about Mercedes-Benz you may not immediately think “hatchback”. You’re more likely to be thinking about executive saloons, AMG, sport suspension and luxurious interiors – enter the new version of the A Class, the perfect blend of everything Mercedes-Benz is known for in a compact hatchback package.
Previous versions of the A Class seemed blighted with too many compromises – trying to be everything to consumers without much focus on any one key component. As Top Gear points out, the latest version goes for driver comfort first, sportiness second (without losing that trademark Mercedes-Benz responsiveness) and packing in as much high-tech connectivity as it can get away with.
A word on tech – I was truly amazed at how much I could do in the driver cabin such as controlling my music, asking the car for directions (seriously), hands-free mobile phone calls, and all the nice techy touches you expect in a brand-new car. It’s a very smart car.
A “comfort-first” design
The A Class doesn’t want to be “just another car”, it wants you to feel like you hopped off your sofa in your lounge and on to another one right there in your car. So, what about the seats? Well, I can’t really remember…and that’s the point. I shouldn’t remember them, all I should be thinking is that I’m comfortable, and I was. And the same can be said about the back seats – headroom is generous, as is the width of the seats, I’ll admit that foot and leg room could be a (little) bit bigger but if you’re of average height you’ll have no issues at all.
Dominating the dashboard is a huge infotainment screen that can be controlled by the two driver control stalks either side of the steering wheel. And the whole dash really comes alive in dark driving conditions – practical tones of reds and whites mean you can see what you need to without distraction or dazzling.
Comfort is king in the new A Class and it’s clear that this was a key component even when Mercedes-Benz was at the design phase. People don’t want to drive a car if it’s not comfortable to do so – next time I’m on a long-haul drive up the motorways, I want to be driving an A Class. THAT statement speaks volumes.
Performance matters…if it enhances comfort
The A Class was built for comfort on urban or long-distance drives. The range of engines include a top, middle and diesel option – with the top-class A250 you’re looking at over 200bhp, with the A200 you’ll get from 0-60mph in 8 seconds, and the A180d’s diesel engine is really quiet and perfect for long drives where economy is key. There are also automatic options available, and the 7-speed gearbox does a great job of shuttling your gears to match your driving style.
Once again, I come back to driver comfort. These engines are designed to keep the drive as smooth as possible while giving you some poke if you need it. I never once felt like I couldn’t overtake another driver or get away at the lights and was perfectly happy to sit and wait if I got stuck in traffic. What more can you ask for?
The Motorama.com verdict
The new version of the Mercedes A Class will be successful. It’s got YOU at the heart of everything it tries to do, and it succeeds in the areas that matter: comfort, performance and tech.
I felt completely at home driving this car, and it turned some heads. But that’s the big three-spoked badge for you – it makes you feel good just looking at it, and even better when you’re driving it. I’m 100% sold on the A Class, and I predict a great many of you will be too.