The success of the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 hasn’t gone unnoticed. When Mercedes replaced the tall MPV-inspired A-Class it elected for a more conventional, low-slung design. The result is one of the best looking cars Mercedes has produced in years and the sporty new A-Class is aimed squarely at its compact premium rivals.
It doesn’t quite match them for all round appeal, but there’s still plenty to recommend the smallest Mercedes in the range, not least its head-turning looks and classy interior. In the fashion stakes the A-Class stands toe to toe with the competition, but its 341-litre boot and claustrophobic interior are unwelcome side-effects.
The Mercedes A-Class really falls down on the road, though, where its sporty attitude comes at too high a price. Ride comfort is firm and if you opt for sports suspension or bigger wheels things get really uncomfortable – and it still lacks the dynamic character of the sharper-handling BMW 1 Series. Mercedes hasn’t been generous when it comes to equipment, either, and if you start to add options it will begin to look expensive.