In-depth reviews

Mercedes A-Class review

The Mercedes A-Class is a premium hatch that is full of quality, with great on-board technology and a range of frugal engines

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£30,680 to £41,890
  • Gorgeous interior
  • Fantastic tech
  • Efficient engines
  • Firm ride
  • Coarse 1.3 petrol engine
  • Dull handling
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The Mercedes A-Class has always been a compact hatch with one major selling point – that three-pointed star on the nose. But while its predecessors all lacked a little substance behind the badge, this latest generation is a genuine contender for class honours.

Step inside and it blows its rivals away – the interior design and quality is wonderful, and the infotainment system is one of the best on the market at any price. Some rivals are more fun to drive and several are more comfortable, but the A-Class leads the class both in terms of refinement and efficiency.

About the Mercedes A-Class

The latest Mercedes A-Class is the fourth generation of Mercedes’ smallest car. While the first two examples took on a mini-MPV design direction (with clever, if not particularly desirable, results), the most recent pair have gone for a more conventional five-door hatchback shape in order to compete directly with the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3.

The A-Class is an important model for Mercedes: available as a five-door hatchback and four-door saloon in the UK, it’s the brand’s biggest-seller. As with the third-generation model, spin-offs from the same platform are available – including the four-door coupe CLA and GLA mini-SUV

Mercedes offers a selection of trim lines on the A-Class, with a choice of Sport Executive, AMG Line Executive, AMG Line Premium and Premium Plus, plus two dedicated AMG models: the AMG 35 4MATIC and AMG 45 S 4MATIC+. All models include cruise control, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and adaptive LED headlights although the entry-level Sport version makes do with smaller 17-inch alloys, compared to the standard 18-inch wheels on AMG Line Executive and Premium models. Those above get new 19-inch wheel designs.

The latest A-Class updates no longer hobble you with a smaller infotainment screen either, with all models now getting a pair of 10.25-inch media screens with MBUX – Mercedes’ multimedia system operated via either the screen, touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel, or for certain functions, voice control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard on the A-Class as well.

Engine choices are made up of a pair of petrols in two states of tune, a single diesel engine and a plug-in hybrid petrol. The A 180 and A 200 both use a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder with mild-hybrid technology making 134bhp and 161bhp respectively, while the A 250 e, only offered in saloon form, uses the same 1.3-litre but with more electric assistance, for a 215bhp system output. The sole diesel, badged A 200 d, gets a 2.0-litre unit making 148bhp and 320Nm of torque.

A manual gearbox is no longer available in the A-Class; both the A 180 and A 200 are available with a seven speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox, while the A 200 d and A 250 e get an eight-speed twin-clutch automatic. 

A more spritely AMG A 35 is available in hatchback or saloon form and uses a new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder, producing 302bhp and 400Nm of torque. Hot hatch fans will love the manic AMG A 45 S, featuring the world's most powerful four-cylinder engine – a bespoke turbocharged 2.0-litre unit with 415bhp.

Used and nearly new

This fourth generation Mercedes A-Class launched in 2018 so it’s now in plentiful supply on the used car market. The car has proven extremely popular with buyers with its combination of style, technology and a premium badge helping keep used values strong. The A-Class was the UK’s fifth best-selling car in 2020 and fourth in 2021, so there’s no shortage of choice out there.

Mercedes A-Class history

Mercedes A200d front

Mercedes A-Class Mk3: 2013-2018

The third generation A-Class arrived in 2013 as a complete departure from the Mercedes compact car philosophy that had gone before. A traditional hatchback in shape, it offered sharp design inside and out but was criticised for a firm ride and a lack of practicality. Big sales numbers mean there are lots of used models to choose from. Read our full Mercedes A-Class Mk3 buyer’s guide here...

Mercedes A-Class panning

Mercedes A-Class Mk2: 2004-2012

Following the same MPV themes as the original Mercedes A-Class the Mk2 car was very much an update on that formula and remained at odds with what rival manufacturers were doing in the compact premium family car space at the time. Sturdy build quality, low running costs and cabin space were strengths but it was better around town than on the open road. 

A-Class

Mercedes A-Class Mk1: 1998-2004

The first Mercedes A-Class with a unique design with a tall shape and a small footprint maximising interior space and manoeuvrability. The design was groundbreaking, a new approach to premium compact cars and they still make good, cheap family runabouts today. 

Frequently Asked Questions
We think the latest Mercedes A-Class is one of the best premium hatchbacks you can buy right now, thanks to its well-built cabin, seriously slick infotainment system and class-leading refinement.

For an alternative review of the Mercedes A-Class, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    A180 SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £23,085

Most Economical

  • Name
    A180d SE 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £25,695

Fastest

  • Name
    A250 AMG Line 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £30,735
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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