The Mercedes A-Class is one of the most upmarket, high-tech small cars on sale, but some more old-fashioned alternatives are more affordable and better to drive
If you’re looking for something more high-tech than high-speed, the Mercedes A-Class will be right up your street. This upmarket family hatchback is more practical than ever and comes with some of the slickest on-board tech of any car currently on sale. It’s so impressive, in fact, that the new A-Class won the Game Changer Award at the 2018 carwow awards.
The Mercedes A-Class might be the cheapest model in the Mercedes range, but it still looks every inch a premium product. Slim, aggressive headlights and a whopping great grille with a huge Mercedes emblem mean this isn’t likely to be mistaken for a run-of-the-mill family runabout at the local supermarket.
Inside, things get even better. The Mercedes A-Class’ cabin looks and feels plusher than anything you’ll find in an Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series, and completely out-classes the likes of the more affordable Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus.
The two free-standing digital displays merge almost seamlessly to create a vast widescreen which – along with some fabulous brushed metal turbine-like air vents and 64-colour mood lighting – makes sitting in the Mercedes A-Class feel a little like piloting a spaceship. The screens themselves are easy to use and customisable, so you can prioritise exactly the information you want without any annoying distractions.
Mercedes had enough energy left after this high-tech workout to make sure the A-Class is still practical and easy to live with, too. Unlike the rather cramped old model, this new Mercedes A-Class has enough space in both the front and rear seats for tall adults to get comfortable. The larger side windows mean the back seats don’t feel anywhere near as claustrophobic, either.
That being said, a VW Golf is still slightly roomier and has a bigger boot that’s easier to load. The Mercedes A-Class’ boot opening isn’t particularly wide and a large boot lip makes lifting in heavy items a touch tricky.
The new Mercedes A-Class is packed with enough futuristic features to make it a technophobe’s worst nightmare, but an absolute dream for the rest of us…
Thankfully, there’s nothing tricky about driving the Mercedes A-Class. Its suspension does a good job ironing out bumps at slow speeds, and you’ll hear barely any wind or tyre noise on the motorway, making long-distances slogs more relaxing than in most small family cars.
The Mercedes A-Class’ range of frugal engines make equally light work of inner-city traffic and long motorway jaunts, but whichever engine and gearbox you choose, you’ll find the A-Class simply isn’t as much fun to drive as a Ford Focus. It’s a small criticism, but on a twisting country road, the staid and sensible Mercedes never feels keen to slap a great big grin on your face like the much sportier Ford.
This certainly shouldn’t put you off shortlisting the new Mercedes A-Class, however – it’s still a very impressive family hatchback that, for the first time, feels like a genuine Mercedes thanks to some seriously upmarket in-car tech.
For more in-depth analysis of the Mercedes A-Class, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications of our review over the following pages. You can also see how much you could save by checking out our Mercedes A-Class deals.