Although starting prices are quite reasonable for a car of this type, it’s alarmingly easy to send costs skyrocketing by taking little more than a cursory glance at the options list – particularly in the Mercedes.
Indeed, when we tested an A200 CDI it came loaded with a staggering £11,175-worth of options. Some of the extras are features that we really feel should be standard on a car of this type too, such as side airbags for rear seat passengers (£390), a system which primes the brakes and seat belts in anticipation of an accident – known as PreSafe – (£340) and a central armrest for rear seat passengers (£170).
In order to help you avoid going a little crazy on the options list yourself, we’ve picked out some of the best extras available, and ranked them based on how useful they’ll be to you.
AMG Exclusive Package – £1,080
Available with any of the AMG-badged models in the range, this pack transforms the interior into something which feels far more expensive and classy than the regular models. It consists of heated seats trimmed in black leather with red perforations, a leather-trimmed dashboard, and black roof lining.
On the lower-ranking Sport model, a similar pack is available. Dubbed the Exclusive pack, it adds the option of heated leather on non-sports seats, and can be trimmed in one of three shades of hide. It costs £1,480.
Metallic Paint – £570
A premium car like this deserves metallic paint. In addition to the two solid paint finishes, a further six metallic shades are available, costing £570. Not only will they improve the look of the car, but they’ll make it more desirable on the used car market.
For more information on the colour options available for the A-Class, take a look at our colour guide.
Reversing Camera – £300
One compromise brought about by the A-Class’ sporty shape is the tiny rear window. Unfortunately, the combination of thick rear pillars and a small area of glass means that rear visibility is pretty terrible. At least, for £300, parking can be made into a less stressful endeavour with the addition of a reversing camera. Plus, it’s the cheapest way of putting that seven-inch monitor to decent use…
Keyless Go – £425
Keys look old-fashioned these days. Even some pretty basic runabouts only require a simple press of as starter button in lieu of the need for a key in the ignition. While it isn’t standard on the Mercedes A-Class, it’s one of the cheaper options on the list, and this feature also adds an extra bonus of not needing to fish around in pockets and purses for the fob.
Panoramic Sunroof – £900
It may be pricey, but adding a panoramic sunroof really transforms the interior of the A-Class. Particularly in sporty models, it can look a little dingy at times, so the extra area of glass above your head helps the cabin feel much more airy.
Night Pack – from £995
As with the aforementioned Exclusive Packages, the Night Pack performs a similar transformation, only to the exterior this time. The AMG alloy wheels, door mirrors and front grille are all painted black, while bi-xenon headlights, LED tail lights and rear privacy glass round out the upgrades. All of these changes add up to making the A-Class a very eye-catching car indeed.
11 Speaker Surround Sound System – £680
Perhaps our favourite of the ‘frivolous’ options – only real audiophiles will appreciate the Harman Kardon hi-fi. The standard system is by no means poor, but this upgrade adds 5.1-channel audio, and sounds fantastic.
COMMAND – £2,100
At over two grand, this is about as expensive as optional extras come on the A-Class. The COMMAND system is an all encompassing infotainment system, featuring satellite navigation with 3D mapping, a CD/DVD player, and a hard disk for storing music and mapping information, all displayed on a 7-inch screen. It’s worth bearing in mind that if you want DAB radio (which you will, as traditional radio broadcast methods will be obsolete soon), you’ll need to fork out an extra £420.
There’s even a function which provides access to social media sites. We recommend logging onto Facebook and updating your status to read “just spent £2,520 on a satnav. I must be mad lol.”
Light and Sight Package – £300
Perhaps the most gimmicky of all of the options available for the A-Class, the light and sight package consists of illuminated door sills, illuminated logos on the headrests and rain sensing wipers. Kind of pointless overall, and worse still, some might find the glowing bits just a little bit tacky…
Sports Suspension – £290
Some may like the idea of sports suspension. They might hope that it’ll turn their small hatchback into a racecar for the road. In reality, the firmer setup does very little at all to improve the handling, but ruins the ride comfort. It lowers the car by 15mm though, to the benefit of its looks. For that reason, if style is literally all that matters to you, it might still be worth considering.