Merc baby is A-Class quality
The baby Merc has finally found a grown-up look – and that’s good news for drivers seeking an alternative to the class-leading BMW 1 Series and other rivals.
The third generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class is much more sporting in appearance and backs up its looks with performance.
Settling in behind the wheel for my first taste of this five-door hatchback, I was impressed with the quality of the interior.
Dashboard design gets top marks, housing easy to see instruments, three round air vents, a free-standing display screen, and metal trim.
The driver’s sports seat was comfortable and not too hugging like some and the rear seats would accommodate two adults comfortably but would be a bit on the tight side for three.
Luggage space isn’t too bad either, the 341-litres expanding to 1,157 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
The new A-Class comes with a range of updated turbo-charged direct-injection petrol and diesel engines, delivering up to 211bhp with CO2 emissions as low as 98g/km.
The test car – an A250 Blue EFFICIENCY AMG Sport – had the most powerful 2-litre petrol engine under the bonnet combined with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The most unusual thing for drivers moving to this model will be the steering wheel mounted stalk for selecting drive, reverse, neutral and park but you quickly get used to this.
There are also steering wheel paddles if you want to make manual moves up and down the gearbox.
The super automatic was so responsive, especially in sport mode, that I only sampled this briefly.
This front-wheel drive A-Class model, with its sports suspension, handled really well as it gripped the tarmac.
It was a hot performer, capable of racing from standstill to 62mph in 6.6 seconds and with a top speed of 149mph.
The engine was quiet enough although there was a little side wind noise when sitting at motorway speeds.
The auto box was ideal in some busy town centre traffic where the A-Class got quite a few admiring looks.
Economy figures for this model show 45.6mpg combined, 56.5mpg extra urban and 33.6mpg urban. I wasn’t looking to achieve super economy and in a mixture of town, country and motorway driving averaged a respectable 36mpg.
Prices for the A-Class range from £18,970 to £28,800 and standard equipment is pretty good.
A lot of options are available though and this was evident on the test car.
Its on-the-road price was £26,855 but with an incredible total of £11,015 op-tions, this hiked the cost up to £37,870.
The A-Class is a super new model but go easy on those extras.