Test Drive: A-Class

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Business Cornwall’s Morveth Ward has been trying out the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Here’s what he thought

A Premium hatchback designed to alter the way in which we perceive Mercedes-Benz. This could potentially change their path forever.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The particular model I’m driving is the A180 CDI AMG Line. To get the boring bit out of the way, as expected from a 5 door hatch, this is a practical and economical car, not dissimilar from rival premium hatches.

But to be honest I don’t really care if one manufacturer has a boot capacity of X percent more than the other, they’re all roughly the same. I’m looking for something special, something to separate this from the rest.

In comparison to the old A-Class which had an upright profile and ‘granny’ looks, virtually incomparable with the new model. I personally think this is the most premier looking in the class with a cabin to match.

The first thing you notice is the decent driving position and lay out of instruments. The A-Class feels very distinct from the C-Class.  I mentioned when reviewing the C-class that there was no real desire to drive it hard because it was so refined and comfortable it just didn’t fit.

The A-Class is totally different; this car feels sporty and it does provoke a little enthusiastic driving.

The handling is really very good, there is virtually zero body roll, yet because of this stiff suspension it does of course compromise the ride which is quite harsh and seems out of line with this particular diesel model which has limited power and leaves you feeling like there is an imbalance.

Why have something so geared towards supreme handling when you don’t have the power to back this up? Therefore if I was going for the A180 CDI, or any of the lower powered models for that matter, I would opt for the SE which I’m sure is a great car with a softer more comfortable ride making for a more apt balance.

The AMG Line would be brilliant in one of the higher power output models but seems superfluous in this one. I would recommend trying the  A200 CDI AMG Line or if you want to have some serious fun the A45 AMG.

This car is very well equipped. It has voice operated commands and a central display which is not touch screen but instead you use the swivel control which I actually prefer.

Safety features include Collision Prevention Assist to initially warn you if you’re getting too close and will give you full braking performance if it thinks you need it to prevent an accident. It also has Attention Assist capable of identifying if you’re feeling a little sleepy at the wheel and will warn you if necessary.

Despite the high-end looks with Business Leases available from £279 per month the A-class is priced very competitively.

This Mercedes-Benz has an entirely different feel from any other in their range; most notably it feels youthful and pervades ‘fun’. It has an intangible something that does in fact separate it from most of the boring rivals, because it’s just not boring!

Therefore Mercedes-Benz have achieved their aim in making this car appeal to a younger audience and adding a new facet to the brand. I would say the significance of this model is far greater than what it may seem at face value, this could change their demographic forever, or at least certainly expand it.

Key technical data

Price (OTR): £21,790.00 , Business lease from £279 pm

Performance

Acceleration 0-62 mph (s) 11.3 (11.6)

Top speed: 118 mph

Economy

Fuel Consumption (Combined): 76.4 mpg

Emissions (Co2): 98-102