Mercedes-Benz A-Class Review & Prices

The A-Class is a good-looking premium hatchback with a cool interior design. It’s not as much fun to drive as a BMW 1 Series, though, and it’s quite pricey

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RRP £30,720 - £45,795
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Reviewed by Darren Cassey after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Cool interior design
  • Easy and relaxing to drive
  • Decent interior storage

What's not so good

  • Poor build quality and materials inside
  • Boot could be bigger
  • Adaptive cruise is an expensive optional extra

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Is the Mercedes A-Class a good car?

The A-Class is the entry point to the Mercedes range, so it’s the most affordable way to own one of these premium cars and enjoy the badge kudos that comes with it.

It’s a little bit like the iPhone SE, which is the cheapest way to own one of Apple’s stylish smartphones.

If you’re looking at the A-Class you’re also probably interested in the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3, and perhaps even high-specification versions of the Volkswagen Golf. All of these are practical hatchbacks with great badge appeal.

To keep things fresh in the face of stiff competition, Mercedes gave the A-Class an update in 2023. The cabin design was always a strong point, but the updated A-Class now gets two big digital screens in front of you as standard, a much better look than the old basic version which came with a smaller instrument screen that looked really cheap.

Group test: Audi A3 v BMW 1 Series v Mercedes A-Class v Volkswagen Golf

The MBUX software that runs on the screen isn’t quite cutting edge, but it’s still among the best in-car touchscreen setups to use and has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so that’s good.

What’s not so good is the interior quality. While the design looks great and has aged really well, the build quality is quite disappointing and there are plenty of cheap, scratchy plastics to be found.

The updated A-Class comes only with an automatic gearbox and all of the engines now come with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance. That means you get better economy around town, because the engine can be shut off earlier and restarted later when you’re idling in traffic. There’s also better performance on the open road because the mild-hybrid system can add a little extra power.

There are two petrol engines with 150hp and 177hp outputs, and a diesel engine with 150hp. If you want the plug-in hybrid version you’ll have to go for the A-Class Saloon, because it’s not offered on the hatchback. Its electric-only range of 51 miles means low running costs are all but guaranteed if you can keep it charged.

The A-Class's interior design is great, but it's let down by some cheap materials and poor build quality

You’ll also want the saloon if boot space is important to you. The A-Class hatchback has a capacity of 350 litres, which is smaller than the saloon as well as most other premium hatchback models. It also has an annoying lip that makes it tricky to lift heavy items out.

At the top of the range are two sporty AMG models. There’s a ‘Jalfrezi’ A35 AMG, with 306bhp and four-wheel drive and either a hatchback or saloon body, or the ‘Vindaloo’ A45 AMG, which comes only in hatchback form and has 421bhp – and which is properly wild at heart.

The A-Class, in standard form, is really easy to drive in town thanks to light steering and a good turning circle, and is comfortable if a little noisy on the motorway. It’s not as much fun to drive on a twisty road as a BMW 1 Series, though.

Like what you hear? Go and check out the latest Mercedes A-Class deals, or see how much you can save on a used A-Class. You can also browse an extensive stock of other used Mercedes while you’re at it. And when you’re ready to make the purchase, sell your current car with carwow too.

How much is the Mercedes A-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has a RRP range of £30,720 to £45,795. Prices start at £30,720 if paying cash. The price of a used Mercedes-Benz A-Class on Carwow starts at £24,873.

Our most popular versions of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class are:

Model version Carwow price from
A180 Sport Edition 5dr Auto £30,720 Compare offers
A180 AMG Line Executive 5dr Auto £34,020 Compare offers
A200 AMG Line Executive 5dr Auto £35,570 Compare offers

The Mercedes A-Class might be the least expensive way to own a Mercedes, but it’s far from the least expensive way to own a premium hatchback. In fact, it’s the most expensive way.

The BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf all start at around £2,000 to £4,000 below £30,000, whereas the Mercedes costs at least £2,000 more than that even in its most basic form.

There are four trims to choose from, called Sport Executive, AMG Line Executive, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus. As with any German premium model, there’s a long options list but the basic Sport Executive versions are at least well-equipped for your cash, with the big screens, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, a reversing camera and parking sensors, heated front seats, and automatic climate control.

It’s disappointing that adaptive cruise control isn’t included as standard as it is in many (and in many cases more affordable) cars, and is instead a £1,500 extra. And even then it’s only available on the top trim.

Performance and drive comfort

It’s easy to drive in town and comfortable on all but the bumpiest roads, but the A-Class can become unsettled during brisk cornering

In town

The Mercedes A-Class works really well in town. The steering is really light and it’s pretty comfortable, making for a relaxing drive. There’s generally good visibility, though a large blind spot in the rear quarter can make it tricky to exit some junctions.

It has a good turning circle, too, making the A-Class feel nimble in tight manoeuvres, while the automatic gearbox shifts smoothly and the brakes have a progressive pedal feel, so you’re not jolting forward at the merest brush of your foot.

On the motorway

Getting up to higher speeds requires little fuss. We tested the 1.3-litre 177hp petrol engine and found that it was pretty sprightly. Accelerating on a motorway slip road up to 70mph is quick enough, there’s just a slight lag from the gearbox finding the right gear when you press harder on the throttle, but it’s a minor gripe. Similarly, once you’re up to speed there is some wind noise, but it’s not too intrusive.

On a twisty road

Find yourself on a twisty road and the Mercedes A-Class won’t feel out of its depth. The steering is accurate and the front end responds fairly quickly to your inputs, while the body remains pretty flat and doesn’t lean too much. Unfortunately it has a rather old school rear suspension setup, which means it can skip over bumps mid-turn, making it feel less planted and confidence-inspiring than the best-driving premium hatchback, the BMW 1 Series.

Space and practicality

The A-Class is practical and spacious for those in the front, but the boot is pretty small

It’s easy to get comfortable in the driver’s seat thanks to good adjustment of the seat itself and the steering wheel. Taller drivers might find their hair rubs on the roof in higher seating positions, though.

Otherwise it’s pretty practical up front, with huge door bins and a large cubby hole in the centre console. You also have a glovebox that’s a good size, a couple of cup holders beneath the dashboard and a further storage space that’s a useful spot to put your phone. There’s also an odd recessed section in the centre console that’s perhaps good for some coins or bank cards but not much else.

Space in the back seats

While it’s pretty spacious up front, the A-Class isn’t quite so roomy in the back seats. Kneeroom is good but headroom is merely average and it’s a squeeze to fit three adults in the back, though the footwells are at least big enough for the middle passenger to place their feet either side of the central raised floor section. A Volkswagen Golf is roomier if you carry people often.

Passengers might be a bit cramped, but it’s not all bad, because there are soft materials on the top of the door so it’s comfortable resting your arms, something that can’t be said of the Volkswagen.

The door bins are similarly big in the back, while a USB-C slot can be found between the two front seats. It’s also pretty easy to fit a child seat because the ISOFIX mounting points are exposed, though the door doesn’t open very wide, which can make things trickier.

Boot space

Practicality in the cabin is pretty good, but the A-Class loses out to its competitors when it comes to boot space. At 350 litres it’s behind the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, which each have 380 litres. The Volkswagen Golf has bragging rights here though, boasting a whopping one litre more than those two cars.

Dropping the rear seats is easy enough, and there’s a useful three-way split, but we found that because the headrests can’t be removed they get caught on the front seats, which have to be moved forward to allow the rears to drop flat. Once that’s done, though, you’ll find 1,190 litres of space, which is just 10 litres down on the Audi and BMW, and 47 litres behind the Volkswagen.

As well as being down on space, the Mercedes also has a lip that makes it tricky to lift heavy items out, and you can’t adjust the boot floor height to reduce this. There are some handy tie down points to stop your shopping rolling around, though.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The interior design is swish and the infotainment screens are decent, but some poor materials and build quality let it down

First impressions of the Mercedes A-Class’s interior are very good. It has a cool design that still looks fresh, particularly with the now-standard twin-screen infotainment setup. The 2023 update also brought in a new steering wheel, which looks great and is comfortable to hold, but has annoying touch-sensitive buttons for controls such as the media and cruise control.

The aforementioned displays are both 10.25 inches – one sits behind the steering wheel displaying driving information and the other is more central for the infotainment, climate settings and everything else. The screens are sharp and the menus are easy to navigate, though you no longer have a touchpad in the centre console to navigate menus. This is no big loss though, as it was easier to use the touchscreen anyway. You can also control functions using the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice command.

This is all good, but it’s rather superficial because the actual quality of the interior isn’t great, particularly when you take the price into consideration. For example, some of the fittings don’t feel solid and secure, which could lead to easy damage in everyday family life, while there are also plenty of cheap materials to be found.

MPG, emissions and tax

Engine choice is simple in the Mercedes A-Class, with two petrol engines and one diesel.

The petrol are called A180 and A200, which have 150 and 177hp respectively. Both have a little mild hybrid boost to help fuel economy.

Interestingly, in official tests, both these engines return identical fuel consumption figures of up to 47.9mpg. During our time with the 177hp version we saw 39mpg.

If you do a lot of motorway miles, though, you might find the diesel is actually the one for you. It, too, has 150hp and official figures show 57.7mpg on the combined cycle.

Whichever engine you go for, you’ll pay the same in tax, as each has CO2 emissions of around 145g/km, putting it around the middle of the vehicle excise duty pricing structure. If you’re looking at the A-Class as a company car, the lack of plug-in hybrid in the hatchback will be disappointing, as it means you don’t get the low benefit-in-kind rate, so it’s worth taking a look at the saloon instead.

Safety and security

When the Mercedes A-Class was put through Euro NCAP safety testing in 2018 it received brilliant scores. Its five-star overall rating is impressive, but it achieved this with more than 90% ratings in the adult occupant, child occupant and vulnerable road users sections, while its 75% driver assist rating is pretty good too. The tests have been tightened up since, but it’s still a great score.

Plenty of assistance technology is standard, such as active lane keep assist to keep you between the white lines and automatic braking systems to help you avoid or mitigate the results of a crash. Higher-spec trims get some extra kit, such as a 360-degree parking camera, traffic sign reader and blind spot warning, although adaptive cruise control is a pricey option available only on the top model.

Reliability and problems

In terms of reliability, customer reports aren’t overwhelmingly positive. Ownership surveys suggest the A-Class is pretty average in terms of breakdowns, but some reports put it in the lower half of the family hatchback market, which does reflect Mercedes’ overall reputation for lacking reliability somewhat.

As a premium brand, repairs could be fairly costly, so you’ll be pleased to know the A-Class comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty. That’s far from class-leading in terms of length, but that unlimited mileage cap will be useful to some.

Buy or lease the Mercedes-Benz A-Class at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £30,720 - £45,795
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Compare new offers Compare used deals
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