The Mercedes A-Class is perfectly decent to drive, but you don’t have to try too hard to find alternatives that are better
The Mercedes A-Class comes with a choice of one diesel and two petrol engines, all with seven-speed automatic transmissions. At the top of the range is the A 250 petrol, which is effectively a hot hatch, as it’s capable of hitting 62mph in just over six seconds. Trouble is, it doesn’t sound that great, although the claimed economy of 45.6mpg is pretty good, considering how fast it can go.
Of the other two options, the A200 petrol is still pretty quick, hitting 62mph in 8.0 seconds, and it’s more than nippy enough for getting around town. Even if you spend most of your time out of town, it’ll still do the job, while the claimed economy of more than 50mpg is quite an attraction.
Yes, the Golf is a little better to drive, but to be second best to the VW is no bad thing. In fact, the A-Class is a very decent car to get around in
The final option is the A 180d, the only diesel engine in the range and the only model to come with the most basic SE trim. That makes it the cheapest option to buy and run, and it’s well worth considering if your biggest concerns are financial.
You should be able to see fuel economy in the 50s in everyday use, if not as much as the near-70mpg that the official figures suggest. Only trouble is, there’s a price to pay: it’s not all that quick.
If you’re familiar with the old Mercedes A-Class, you’ll be delighted to know that not only is this model very quiet at motorway speeds, it’s also much more comfortable over the bumps. However, it’s not perfect, as some bigger bumps send a bit of a jolt through the cabin and you can hear some noise in the cabin when you drive over bigger potholes and drain covers.
If you find yourself on a twisty road, there’s no shortage of grip and the steering lets you position the car just where you want it. However, it’s not all good news. Drive a Volkswagen Golf, for instance, and you feel more involved, more in tune with what’s going on. Admittedly, the Mercedes isn’t bad, but compared to driving the Volkswagen, it feels like running in someone else’s shoes.
Overall, though, that’s nit-picking, and in every way the new Mercedes A-Class is more than adequate to drive. It’s also very safe, with a longer list of safety-assist systems than you’ll find on either the BMW 1 Series or Audi A3 Sportback.
The Mercedes A-Class is yet to be crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but we’d expect a very good score, as every car comes with Active Brake Assist (which will automatically apply the brakes in an emergency), seven airbags and the Attention Assist system.