New Mercedes A-Class 2023 review
The Mercedes A-Class premium hatch has been given a final round of updates before it bows out for good
The A 200 is the one to go for in the revised A-Class range, with claimed emissions and economy that match the entry-level A 180’s, but also a much-needed boost in performance. That’s not to say it’s a particularly sporty hatch, though, despite the racy looks; there’s a far greater emphasis on comfort and the tech on board, which will appeal greatly to the vast number of buyers who will sign up on competitive finance deals.
With the news that the Mercedes A-Class won’t be directly replaced as part of the firm’s plans to move upmarket, this round of revisions for the 2023 model year is something of a last hurrah for the popular premium hatchback.
The A-Class has been a hit with buyers ever since the third generation switched to a traditional hatchback layout in 2012. The current Mk4 cemented the A-Class’s popularity with competitive finance offers, too, and thousands of examples have found homes across the country.
For the 2023 update, there are subtle revisions to the exterior that include adaptive LED headlights for every model in the range, while LED tail-lights are also standard. There’s a smoother nose, too, although the change is subtle.
Inside, recycled materials are used for the centre console and seats, but the premium feel of Mercedes’ smallest model remains. The quality of most materials is excellent, although there are some harder plastics lower down in the cabin, while the unlined door bins do allow items to rattle around.
There’s no arguing with the tech on offer in the A-Class, though. Twin 10.25-inch displays are now standard on all models, and the high-resolution screens look great. The driver’s display can be configured in multiple ways, with different dial layouts and information on offer. Next to that, the touchscreen is set back a little too far to be comfortable to use when on the move, but there are lots of functions. Both screens are controlled via the multifunction steering wheel, although the amount of pressure you need to get the touch-sensitive buttons to work properly takes some getting used to.
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Under the skin, the main update is the introduction of 48-volt mild-hybrid tech to the petrol models, while the A 250 e plug-in hybrid is now able to recharge via an 11kW AC source. As before, hatchback and saloon bodystyles are available, with the latter commanding a premium of £595.
Trim levels comprise Sport and AMG Line, which at launch come with the Executive pack as standard, while Premium and Premium Plus upgrades are available for AMG Line models. Engines include the A 180 and A 200 petrols, which use the same 1.3-litre four-cylinder with 134 or 161bhp, while the A 200 d has a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. There’s also an Exclusive Launch Edition offered in A 200 guise only, while the A 250 e plug-in hybrid is only available as a saloon. This has a total output of 212bhp and a 16kWh battery that offers a range of up to 51 miles.
The A 200 driven here is arguably the sweet spot of the hatchback range. Its 27bhp advantage over the A 180 means it’s more responsive in everyday driving, while it offers better refinement than the diesel. The mild-hybrid tech works well, with smooth starting from a standstill, and the system helps the A 200 accelerate consistently right through the rev range. The tech should allow drivers to match the 47.9mpg fuel economy that Mercedes quotes for this model, too.
AMG Line models have a look that’s sporty, but apart from having a quick and direct steering rack, the mainstream A-Class lacks the racy intent of the full-fat AMG versions. Instead, the focus is on comfort, with the almost total lack of road or tyre noise being particularly impressive.
There’s not much feedback through the wheel, but there’s no issue with grip from the chassis, while the stiff platform sees the car follow the contours of the road quite rigidly. Hit a bump and the damping soaks up most of the impact before it gets to the cabin, so occupants should remain unruffled by all but the worst surfaces.
It’s a shame that Mercedes is turning its back on the premium hatchback class, because the A-Class is a fine example of the breed. Throw in the firm’s typically competitive finance offers, and this updated model should maintain its popularity until time is finally called on its production.
|Mercedes A 200 AMG Line Executive
|1.3-litre 4cyl mild-hybrid
|Seven-speed twin-clutch auto, front-wheel drive