A-Classy Car On Test - Merc's Top-Selling Hatch
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class was first launched back in 1997 and whilst radical in design, it proved a little too avant-garde for some. The third generation, launched in 2013, saw a distinct push up market and a more conventional hatchback look.
The plan clearly worked as the A-Class has sold extremely well in the UK and is now a regular in the top ten of the sales charts.
On test here is a prime example of the fourth generation, launched earlier this year and which aims to subtly improve the concept in all areas. A little wider and longer, the new A-Class aims to wow with innovative new technology, high levels of standard equipment and a classy interior!
With the current move away from diesel power, I chose to test the A 200 equipped with a new 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.
This 163hp motor endows the new A-Class with all the performance you could possibly require from a family hatch and it does so with some verve.
The sprint to 62mph can be accomplished in just eight seconds says the fact sheet and it is wholly believable.
Aiding swift progress is the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Smooth changes are the order of the day, but as is often the way with this type of self-shifting gearbox, low speed manoeuvring can be a slightly jerky affair.
Low emissions of just 123g/km CO2 and combined a economy figure of 53.3mpg means this is likely to be the best selling engine in the A-Class. My average for the week was a very creditable 46mpg over 450 miles of mixed motoring.
Those who must travel faster may well be drawn to the A 250 which boasts a 224hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It shaves two seconds or so off the timed sprint to 62mph, with little on paper penalty at the pumps. An extra £2,740 will be needed.
Top of three available trim levels are AMG Line models and Mercedes-Benz expect this to be the most popular. Equipped thus, the test car boasted super-stylish 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, AMG bodystyling, sports seats and a three-spoke steering wheel.
This is in addition to the DAB radio, air conditioning, keyless-go and satellite navigation which come as standard on all A-Class models.
Also standard fit is the touchscreen interface which includes MBUX (Mercedes User Experience) and ‘Hey Mercedes’ which allows you to shout commands at the car to control key features. The latter works quite well and allows hands to remain on the wheel and eyes to stay glued to the road.
I would suggest ticking the box for the Premium Plus equipment pack (£3,595). You get heated memory front seats, Active Parking Assist, panoramic glass sunroof and LED headlamps but more importantly you get a huge 10.25-inch media screen.
The new A-Class a comfortable place to be. A little more spacious than its predecessor, four adults will find plenty of room to spread and a reasonably capacious 370-litre boot for luggage.
And comfort is the order of the day out on the road. The A-Class suspension is designed to insulate the car’s occupants from the worst stretches of tarmac and for the most part it succeeds, especially in top models which boast the more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension. However, the low speed ride can be a bit brittle – blame those lovely alloys with 225/45 tyres I suspect.
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The new A-Class looks set to continue to remain a UK top seller. A high class interior, brimming with the latest technology and boasting a little extra space might be enough on its own to sway buyers, but this frugal, yet powerful engine and excellent driving manners will surely seal the deal.
And with a range of PCP deals on offer, owning a car with the three-pointed star has never been more affordable. Impress the neighbours, buy a Merc, A-Class act if ever I saw one!
Mercedes-Benz A 200 AMG Line
1,332cc 4-cylinder petrol engine (163hp)
7G-DCT 7-speed automatic gearbox
Price £28,700 (£33,405 as tested)
Polar white with Artico ‘leather’ interior
0-62mph in 8 seconds
Top speed 139mph
Combined economy 53.3mpg
Emissions 123g/km CO2
Insurance group 29
BIK tax rate 25
A-Classy Car On Test - Merc's Top-Selling Hatch, 1st December 2018, 16:27 PM