The all-new Mercedes A-Class is winning critical acclaim with its overhauled cabin and selection of fuel-efficient turbo engines.
With praise pouring in, the German carmaker is hoping its new hatchback can dislodge the ever-popular Volkswagen Golf, Mercedes’ key rival in the hotly contested hatchback market.
According to Autocar, the new A-Class offers “vastly improved levels of refinement” over its seven-year-old predecessor.
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A four-door saloon variant of the entry-level model was also unveiled at the Paris Motor Show last month.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new A-Class and what the critics have to say:
Look closely, says CarBuyer, and you can see the new A-Class is “far more expressively designed” compared to the outgoing model. The new car’s wheelbase has been slightly extended and the wheel arches are larger “to accommodate wheels that span from 16 to 19ins in diameter”.
The “upswept” headlights give the hatchback a more “aggressive” and “assertive” look, the website says, while the car’s rear end has a “less angular look than the outgoing model”.
Many of the car’s design cues have been plucked from the company’s Concept A saloon, which made its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show last year.
Plus, Auto Express says the design tweaks mean the new A-Class is not only sportier than the outgoing model, but it’s also more aerodynamic.
Interior and technology
Mercedes has completely overhauled the interior of the new hatchback, says Auto Express, giving it a luxurious and hi-tech feel.
Much like the company’s more expensive models, drivers can change the ambient lighting inside the A-Class, the magazine says, as well as a pair of “free-standing” instrument panels.
Additionally, says Autocar, the hatchback is equipped with the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system.
This allows drivers to issue voice commands to the car’s onboard assistant and view live traffic updates through the augmented reality (AR) sat-nav system - a feature that makes its debut on the A-Class, says Autocar.
Engines and performance
Buyers can choose between five engines - two four-cylinder turbocharged petrol motors and a trio of four-cylinder turbo diesel options.
The base-level motor is a 1.33-litre petrol with cylinder deactivation and a particulate filter that is designed to save fuel and reduce carbon emissions, says Evo. Above this sits a 1.5-litre diesel that incorporates “AdBlue exhaust after-treatment”, which limits toxic NOx gases.
Next in the diesel range is the newly introduced A200d, which is powered by a 148bhp 2.0-litre engine, Auto Express reports. Or you can upgrade to the 187bhp A220d AMG Line model. The two new diesel engines, launching this week, get front-wheel drive systems and eight-speed automatic gearboxes.
At the top of the pile is a 2.0-litre petrol model that boasts a power output of 221bhp and 258lb-ft of torque. This also comes with a particulate filter, as well as variable valve timing to boost performance.
A-Class hatchback Reviews
“Gadgets and gizmos” are what draw buyers towards cars in today’s market, The Sunday Times says, and the new Mercedes A-Class ofter them in spades.
Step inside the premium hatch and you’ll be treated to “two free-standing digital screens” and a sleek dashboard, making the cabins of its rivals “look old-fashioned”, the newspaper says.
The new A-Class features an equally impressive augmented reality (AR) navigation system, which places computer-generated directional arrows over the car’s front-facing camera, says Auto Express.
This system also overlays street names and house numbers, and is available in the optional Advanced Navigation Pack for £495, although you’ll also need to spec the larger 10.5in touchscreen infotainment display.
The car’s handling has “come a long way” since the mediocre first generation of the hatchback launched in 1997, says Evo, but the new model still isn’t the “sharpest” car compared with its rivals.
The steering is relatively accurate, and the 2.0-litre turbo engine “doesn’t feel unreasonably strained under hard acceleration”, the magazine says. However, the A-Class “doesn’t offer much feedback”, and brake pedal has “quite a lot of travel” before the car begins to slow down.
Nevertheless, the build quality is “solid” and there’s almost no noise from the engine when cruising, says Top Gear.
The new hatchback doesn’t feel like a leader in its class, but it puts “comfort before sportiness” and has an impressively hi-tech cabin, the site concludes.
Mercedes-Benz announced in July that a four-door Sedan version of the new A-Class would join the line-up at the end of the year.
The German car giant has already launched a saloon-shaped version of the compact hatch for the Chinese market, called the A-Class L Sedan, but the model unveiled this summer will be slightly smaller for European markets, says Auto Express.
The Sedan’s exterior design is almost identical to the base model, with the exception of the roofline, which slopes downwards towards the rear “to accommodate the new boot section”.
Measuring in at 4549mm in length, the A-Class Sedan is 130mm longer than its hatchback sibling, says Evo. The wheelbase is identical to the hatch, however, so buyers shouldn’t “expect any more interior volume”.
Boot space is also the same, at 420 litres, and the smaller opening on the new model isn’t as “convenient” as that on the base car, according to the magazine.
That said, the Sedan is the most aerodynamically efficient Mercedes yet. Its drag coefficient of 0.22cd should improve the saloon’s fuel economy over the hatch model.
Under the bonnet of the entry-level A200 model sits a 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 161bhp and 184lb-ft of torque, Autocar reports. The alternative option is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel A180d version with 114bhp and a torque figure of 192lb-ft.
These are the only two engines available at launch, but more options will be added “once production is ramped up”, the mag adds.
Orders are open now, with prices starting at £27,875 for the entry-level A180d Sport, and £28,095 for the range-topping A200 Sport model, says the Daily Express.
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