When the first Mercedes-Benz A-Class first hit the showrooms it was a small, tall, MPV-esque machine. Many were surprised by the vehicle because it by no means held a traditional Mercedes-Benz look. It was new, but since then the manufacturer has been making it more appealing. What we have now is a sleek, low roof-lined hatchback that looks less A-Class than the B Class. Read that back, it makes sense. It seems as if these changes to the vehicle has also changed the competition, now it’s up against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, the Audi A4 and the BMW 1 Series (another vehicle that has improved immensely since its first generation).
Mercedes-Benz Ireland has many trims available for Irish customers, but when it comes to engines there is a 1.6 litre petrol that offers a choice of 102 bhp in the A 160 or 122 bhp in the A 180. Both of these choices are available with automatic transmissions. In terms of diesel you will find a 1.5 litre engine that offers a choice of 90 bhp in the A 160d or 109 bhp in the A 180d – with automatic options also.
The 160d offers a top speed on 180 km/h and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 13.8 seconds. The 180d does that in 11.3 and has a top speed of 190 km/h. The petrol figures are slightly better with the A 160 offering 0-100 km/h in 10.6 seconds, while the A 180 offers the same in 8.9 seconds.
The ride is firm in the A-Class and it can be very bumpy ride over uneven surfaces. The good news is that this car has plenty of grip and it handles turns and corners well.
The A-Class is not as refined as other Mercedes. There is a lot of road noise that seeps through. Some of this can be blamed on the type of tyre that you are driving with, but we believe that it’s the same across the board. We noticed the same issue in the B-Class, but we’re convinced that in that vehicle it can be easily cured by using more-suited tyres. Wind noise is not bad however.
The interior of the new A-Class is a much more comfortable affair than the outgoing model. The A-Class is more in line with the rest of the Benz family and it uses the same infotainment systems as the likes of the B-Class – which can be difficult to navigate. The seat are comfortable, and there is a variety of trims available. There is a long list of optional extras available, but beware, they’re not cheap.
Mercedes-Benz is renowned for their safety, and you’ll find that the A-Class makes the grade. There are seven airbags within each A-Class. The car itself is full of driver aids and safety systems like a system called Attention Assist, which monitors if a person is suffering from fatigue. Other safety features include; optional Adaptive High beam Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Electronic Stability Control, and much more. Unsurprisingly, the A-Class received a full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests.
Both the rear and the front offers good leg and headroom and four adults would easily fit in here. Compared with the likes of the BMW 1 Series and the Golf, the A-Class would offer the same type of space in the cabin. The boot isn’t as generous, but it’s not far off.