Mercedes A-Class Review
By Motor Match • 24/04/2023
Let's take a look at what makes the A-Class so popular!
What is it?
There’s huge demand for premium models in the UK, particularly from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and it’s often the most affordable and accessible products that prove to be the most popular.
That’s certainly the case for Mercedes, which has had enormous success with its A-Class, being one of the UK’s best-selling cars for a time. With its core rivals, the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, both being updated more recently, Mercedes has revised its A-Class to ensure it can remain competitive.
It’s a testament to Mercedes’ confidence in the A-Class that the changes are so subtle as part of this mid-life update. They’re largely visual, with this hatchback (and saloon) getting a new grille and lights, while inside the largest possible screen combination now comes as standard.
Mercedes has also cut the number of engine and trim levels available as part of measures to simplify choice for buyers, and also save money by not having to certify quite as many versions.
What’s under the bonnet?
While Mercedes may have rationalised the choice of engines on offer, there’s still the option of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid. An automatic transmission is fitted to all versions too.
When it comes to petrol versions, both now use a 1.3-litre petrol unit, with the A180 putting out 132bhp and 161bhp in the A200. The latter is a second quicker to 60mph, taking eight seconds, but are matched for efficiency, with Mercedes claiming 44.8-47.9mpg.
If you’d like a diesel, the A200d features a 148bhp 2.0-litre unit that’s able to take the A-Class to 60mph in 8.1 seconds, but Mercedes claims up to 57.7mpg.
The A250e is now one of the most popular versions, using a 1.3-litre petrol paired to an electric motor for a combined 215bhp. Now only offered as a saloon, it’s able to hit 60mph in 7.3 seconds, while Mercedes claims an impressive electric range of around 50 miles.
What’s it like to drive?
While some rivals in this class prioritise sportiness, on the standard A-Class (and not AMG models), it is comfort that is prioritised. Especially on cars with the smaller alloys, it’s a very easy and relaxing way to travel, aided further by particularly impressive refinement for a small car.
Neither of the regular engines are especially ‘sporty’ either, but offer enough pace for normal driving. Likewise, the handling is never engaging, but it’s safe and sensible and there are few complaints.
How does it look?
Mercedes knows how to make a good-looking car, and the A-Class manages to carry over many of the cues from its larger vehicles – particularly the recognisable grille and lighting. It is these two details that are slightly revised as part of this facelift, but the changes are light and still equate to a very good-looking car.
All but one model in the range is now an ‘AMG Line’, meaning the majority of models offer a sportier and more angular-looking design. Regardless of trim, though, we reckon the A-Class is one of the best-looking hatches around.
What’s it like inside?
The current generation A-Class’ interior stunned when it was first shown back in 2018, not least with its high-tech look displaying the new Mercedes MBUX infotainment system. Even several years later, it remains impressive, with all of the latest versions coming equipped with a pair of the largest 10.25-inch digital displays. The quality is fantastic, too. This might be the cheapest Mercedes, but it doesn’t feel that way.
The downside is that the A-Class’ interior doesn’t offer a great deal of room, with less rear seat space and a smaller boot (it measures 335 litres) than what you get in the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3.
What’s the spec like?
Regardless of version, the A-Class comes with plenty of equipment. The entry-level Sport Executive features 17-inch alloy wheels, LED high performance headlights, heated front seats and wireless smartphone charging.
AMG Line Executive is up next, bringing larger 18-inch alloy wheels and a sportier bodykit, while the AMG LIne Premium gets blind spot monitoring and augmented reality for the sat nav. AMG Line Premium Plus features 19-inch alloy wheels, multibeam LED headlights, a head-up display and electric front seats on top of this.
Mercedes might have only made small tweaks to the A-Class, but it remains a great choice. It continues to offer one of the best interiors of any small car, while its relaxing and refined driving experience will suit many.
It might not be especially sporty or offer the most room, but if those aren’t priorities, the A-Class is a great premium small car.