New Mercedes-Benz A Class Hatchback

From £25,800

Gearbox

Automatic

Seats

5

Doors

5

Boot size

360 - 370 litres

The Auto Trader verdict
★★★★★
★★★★★
4.1
The A-Class moves the concept of the premium hatchback into new areas. It’s more luxurious and more tech-filled than Audi’s A3 or BMW’s 1 Series, and even in such talented company, the Mercedes sets the benchmark for now. We’ll have to wait for more versions to satisfy sporty tastes, but for now it’s got the comfort, quality and technology boxes firmly ticked.

Pros

  • Fantastic, premium interior
  • Crammed full of cutting-edge technology
  • Decent space inside

Cons

  • Pricey for a car of this size
  • Lacks a sporty edge
  • Many of the features are optional

Full review

By Phill Tromans   Tuesday 17 April 2018
2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

How good does it look?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The latest A-Class follows family form, with looks taken from larger members of the Mercedes range. If you’ve seen the newest CLS, then you’ll instantly recognise the front end, which is one way of letting the perception of premium quality filter down to the smaller, less expensive cars.

There are three trim levels available in the A-Class. The entry-level SE rides on 16-inch alloy wheels, while the Sport model adds some more powerful LED headlights and 17-inch alloys, as well as a pair of trapezoidal exhaust pipes. The top-of-the-line AMG Line sits on 18-inch wheels and comes with a sportier-looking bodykit. Only five paint colours are available at launch. White and red are standard, while three metallic hues – black, grey and silver – will cost you extra.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

What's the interior like?
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

Once again, the A-Class’ interior mirrors the cockpits of Merc's more expensive models in terms of design. The headline feature is a twin screen that stretches from the driver’s side to the centre of the car, much like two iPads merged together. A version of this system – called MBUX – is standard in all cars, although the screen sizes vary in different models. Half serves as your “normal” infotainment touchscreen, while the other serves as a replacement for the traditional instrument binnacle. It’s a very in-depth and very customisable system that will likely require some time to get your head around, but based on our time with the car so far, it seems intuitive to use via touch, central control pad or controls on the steering wheel.

Technology aside, the seats are comfortable although we wish the seats adjusted lower, as the driving position might feel a bit high for taller drivers. Visibility is good, too, and the quality of the cabin materials is truly excellent. If you sit an A-Class and one of the more expensive Mercedes models side-by-side, you’ll be able to find the areas of plastic where money has been saved, but nothing in the small Merc feels cheap. Overall, it feels like you’re in a much more expensive car.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

How practical is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The A-Class' cabin is roomy in the front and the back, with decent space for four tall adults, and five if they don’t mind getting a bit cosy. There’s a storage box under the centre armrest in the front, as well as two cupholders and a cubbyhole, and door pockets big enough for a bottle and assorted odds and ends. The boot, at 370 litres with the rear seats up, is virtually the same as the BMW 1 Series and the Audi A3, and the seats fold down flat.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

What's it like to drive?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The cars we drove on the international launch event were fitted with clever adaptive suspension… which, at the time of writing at least, isn’t coming to the UK. Which is a shame, as it kept things very well in check through the corners, while providing a supple and comfortable ride. We found that the handling lacked a sporty edge, that feeling of agility through the steering wheel, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re looking for excitement behind the wheel. Instead, it was more comfort orientated, but if that’s what you’re after, then happy days. Of course, all this is slightly academic, as UK cars will come with less complicated, non-adaptive suspension, which we’ve yet to try. Rest assured we’ll get hold of one as soon as possible, and update this article accordingly. But early indications are very promising.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

How powerful is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

There are three engine choices at launch. The diesel A180d option is likely to be the most popular, and it has a 1.5-litre engine with 116 horsepower. It’s perky to react, which gives it a peppy character although if you really put your foot down, you won’t get quite the performance that initial prod of the pedal promises. Still, it’s more than enough for general, everyday use. If you’re after a bit more performance, then the petrol options might be more up your street. The A200 uses a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine that produces 163 horsepower, which has decent fizz but stops a bit short of being properly sporty. For that – for now – you’ll want to look at the A250, which has a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 224 horsepower. We’ve not had a chance to try it yet, but on paper, at least, it should veer close to hot hatch territory.

All models at launch come with slick, quick automatic gearboxes, but manual versions will follow later. Also coming in the future will be two more powerful diesel models – the A200d and A220d – and a less powerful A180 petrol. Mercedes’ tuning arm, AMG, is working on two high performance models – the A35 and A45 – which we’ll hear more about soon.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

How much will it cost me?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

Look at the prices for the new A-Class and you’d rightly think “crikey, that’s a lot more than the Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series”. However, both of those rivals have all-new models on the way, which will likely be more expensive than the current versions. There’s also the added cost of the automatic gearbox, which boosts the price up. However, when you start crunching the running costs, things aren’t so bad, helped considerably by strong predicted resale values. OK, the Merc is likely to be more expensive to service, maintain and repair than the Audi or the BMW, but the amount of money you’ll recoup when selling it should make it, overall, broadly similar to the competition when it comes to the financial impact.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

How reliable is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

Mercedes-Benz has a mixed reputation for reliability. Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, which ranks manufacturers by past performance, places the company in the lower half of the table. However, JD Power’s 2017 Vehicle Dependability Survey places the brand above the industry average, albeit only just. Still, it’s considerably better rated than either Audi or BMW. With the A-Class being all new we don’t have any data on its reliability, but we’re cautiously optimistic.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

How safe is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

At the time of writing, the latest A-Class hadn’t been crash tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP, but Mercedes has an excellent history of scoring the maximum five-star rating, and we don’t expect that to change here. Standard equipment on all models includes active lane-keeping assist – which, as the name suggests, stops you veering inadvertently out of your lane – and Mercedes Me, a high-tech package that will automatically call the emergency services should you have an accident. Automatic emergency braking – which will intervene should you fail to react to an impending accident – is also standard, as are seven airbags and two Isofix child seat fixing points. Basically, everything you need and more is included on every version. Excellent.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

How much equipment do I get?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

There is a tonne of kit available on the A-Class, but much of it you’ll have to pay extra for. The entry-level SE comes with the funky double screen display (albeit the smallest version) and faux-leather upholstery, as well as Mercedes’ advanced voice control system. The Sport model adds dual-zone climate-control, in case you and your passenger like the air to be different temperatures, and the AMG Line model brings you some funkier upholstery.

The options list is rather small, replaced instead with three different package options that bundle things together. The Executive pack upgrades the media display to a larger 10.25-inch version and heated front seats, while the Premium pack (available only on Sport and AMG Line models) also increases the size of the instrument display to 10.25 inches. In addition, it lets you lock and unlock the doors without using a key and gives you a better sound system. Premium Plus gets you all of the above, plus a panoramic sunroof and some extra clever headlights that can put full beam on while keeping oncoming cars in shadow, to avoid dazzling them.

All these features are impressive, but will add the best part of three-and-a-half grand to the price. And if you want the cleverest navigation features – including a natty augmented reality function – then prepare to chuck another £500 in. And another £500 if you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, to connect up your smartphone. Oof.

Not yet available, but coming soon, is the self-driving technology that comes directly from the top-of-the-tree S-Class; a very impressive set of systems that none of the rivals currently boast. Once again though, we expect you’ll have to pay extra for them.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Why buy?
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

Because simply put, the A-Class is the best premium hatchback available at the moment. Yes, you’ll have to pay for a lot of the features, but if you want them, they’re there, and lots of them aren’t available in any other cars of this type. If you want a sporty, engaging experience then you might have to wait for the range to expand a bit, but in the meantime the A-Class is a genuinely luxurious car that drives well and features some state-of-the-art technology.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mercedes-Benz

A Class

From £25,800

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