In 2012, Mercedes launched a campaign to attract more younger buyers for its cars and to that end the company spent a lot of time updating the previously stuffy A Class mini MPV.
The current model of the A Class looks nothing like its predecessor. It has a lower roofline and is altogether sportier. There is a range of engines on offer and the A180 CDI diesel has emissions of less than 100g/km making it free from road tax. This is a first for Mercedes. The 2.0 litre turbo engine in the A250 has 208 bhp and there is another model, the A45 with 350 bhp due out soon. The headline price of this new car is competitive although if you want extras, these are priced quite high and will soon increase the cost of the vehicle.
Like most Mercedes the A Class is sporty although it lacks the edginess that is associated with the BMW range. The Mercedes A Class was designed to be a direct rival to the BMW 1 Series and it does not quite hit it off. The steering is less responsive and the diesel engines are sluggish in comparison. Performance is also inferior with a seven speed transmission box that is also not as good as the equivalent Audi. Good grip on the road does not compensate for the hard suspension.
The A Class has comfort instead of performance but as you move up to the higher end models it gets a progressively harder ride. The seats in the AMG Sports version do not support your back enough. In the rear you can fit two adults or children. Space in the boot is not really adequate and although it is important to bear in mind that this is a small car, the narrow opening makes luggage items hard to load. Inside the cabin the car is stylish and all control are well positioned for comfort.
The reputation that Mercedes has built up for reliability will not be compromised by this new car. It has a well built quality with a stylish interior and well equipped dash. The model scored five stars in crash safety tests at Euro NCAP with features like collision prevention assistance and electronic stability control fitted to all models. There are some more advanced safety features like driver drowsiness detection which are available as extras.
The new sportier dimensions of the A Class make it sleeker but this is at the expense of space and the boot has 90 litres less space. The parcel shelf has to be removed if you want to fold the seats flat and the sloping roof means less head room for rear passengers. The entry level car is cheap but if you want a higher spec you will need to do some calculations to see which is the best value for money between the A Class and its rivals.