The Mercedes A-Class Saloon offers more space than the CLA and a brilliant infotainment system, but its price is a bit steep
The Mercedes A-Class Saloon is a four-door car that’s similar in size to the Audi A3 Saloon and Mazda 3 Fastback. It was released in 2018 as a slightly elongated version of the CLA four-door coupe and after a successful few months on sale in China, it came over to Europe as well.
The best part of the Mercedes A-Class Saloon is the interior – it’s arguably class-leading in terms of style and infotainment. You could easily be fooled into thinking you’re looking at an S-Class cabin thanks to the A-Class’ turbine-style air vents, expensive-looking trim pieces and chrome buttons. Ambient light, with 64 selectable colours, is an option that’ll make the cabin look even more eye-catching at night.
The entry-level infotainment setup is worth avoiding, though. It has a centre seven-inch infotainment screen and a seven-inch screen that replaces your conventional dials behind the steering wheel. In an interior that looks as pretty as the A-Class Saloon’s the wide expanse of plastics between the two screens looks ugly and the screens themselves have a low resolution.
It’s worth going for the top-of-the-range system with two high-res 10.25-inch displays. It features Mercedes’ amazing augmented on-screen sat-nav directions, which displays the road ahead complete with directions that appear to be hovering above it. Not only does it look very cool, it’s also functional – clearly marking your turn on roads where it is easy to lose your bearings such as large roundabouts and complex junctions.
The MBUX voice activation system fitted to all versions isn’t quite so good, it is supposed to recognise spoken commands, activated by the words ‘Hey Mercedes’. In practice, though, it gets muddled very easily and isn’t anywhere as good as an in-home system such as Amazon’s Echo.
Up front, the Mercedes A-Class Saloon will be very similar to the hatchback with a driver’s seat that offers a wide range of adjustment so you can get comfortable whether your tall or small.
The Mercedes A-Class Saloon’s interior wouldn’t look out of place in a car costing twice as much
The Mercedes A-Class Saloon is a very safe car to drive – automatic emergency braking comes as standard and it can mitigate or avoid entirely front-end collisions with other cars, pedestrians or cyclists. It will even brake the car if it’s bumped from behind to try and avoid you hitting the car in front.
If you do a lot of motorway driving it’s worth considering the optional active cruise control. It can brake and accelerate the A-Class Saloon to maintain a set distance from the car in front, before returning to a preselected cruising speed when the way is clear.
The Mercedes A-Class Saloon’s engine range will be limited to just one petrol and one diesel, both of which come fitted with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The petrol A200 looks to be the pick of the range. Despite its name, it has a tiny 1.3-litre capacity but the wonders of turbocharging mean it produces 162hp and can return fuel economy of more than 50mpg. The same engine is fitted to the A-Class hatchback where it proves to be a nippy performer and quiet on the motorway.
There’s a huge amount of optional extras, but particularly interesting are the Multibeam headlights. Each headlight has 18 LEDs that are controlled by a computer that can identify oncoming traffic and deactivate the LEDs to create a dark spot around it – allowing you to use your full-beam headlights even in the presence of traffic.