Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2020 - A superb premium compact car
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a fantastic compact car with superb modern and sporty styling, combined with the elegance and class we have come to expect from a premium manufacturer. The A-Class is the smallest in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, but it is also one of the most consistently best-selling cars produced in recent times. In fact, the A-Class has featured every year in the top ten list of best-selling cars in the UK since 2016 and is so far the 6th best-selling car in 2020.
The A-Class began its illustrious career back in 1998 and quickly caught the eye of the general public. Over the years, Mercedes has developed and nurtured the A-Class into a market-leading, premium compact car, and now after over 20 years, we have the 4th generation version. The A-Class is now available as a hatchback, saloon or coupe (think CLA), so Mercedes are covering their bases.
We will be focussing on the traditional hatchback version which comes with a multitude of engines selections and trim levels to give you plenty to think about.
Mercedes are pitting the A-Class against some very stiff competition such as; the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Volvo V40. To help get a jump on the competition, the A-Class has been given the latest technology systems. Some of which have not yet been introduced to the larger and more luxurious models such as the S-Class. The new A-Class also benefits from being built using an all-new platform, giving it a larger body and greater interior space than before.
There are a staggering seven trim lines to choose from, not including the fire-breathing hot hatch versions which are available, namely the AMG A35 and AMG A45 (the latter we have covered in a previous review). The seven trim levels are the SE, Sport, Sport Executive, AMG Line, AMG Line Executive, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus, add to that the new A 250 e plug-in hybrid and there should be an A-Class for suitable for everyone.
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Engines, Power and Performance
When it comes to selecting an engine for the Mercedes A-Class, you are spoilt for choice with three diesel and three petrol engines along with a PHEV, not taking into account the more powerful units in the AMG A35 and AMG A45.
The diesel range kicks off with the A180 D, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 116hp and 260Nm of torque. It will hit 0-62mph in 10.6secs and reach a top speed of 126mph. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission but can be upgraded to a seven-speed DCT automatic transmission. Next, is the A200 D powered by a 2-litre four-cylinder engine which develops 150hp and 320Nm of torque, paired with an eight-speed DCT automatic transmission. It will sprint from 0-62mph in 8.1secs and keep going to a top speed of 137mph.
The final diesel offering is the A220 D, a 2-litre four-cylinder unit developing 190hp and 400Nm of torque, which mated to an eight-speed DCT automatic transmission, will hit 0-62mph in 7secs and continue to a top speed of 146mph.
The three petrol variations are badged the A180, A200 and the A250. The A180 and A200 are both paired as standard to a six-speed manual transmission but can be upgraded to an automatic transmission. The A250 is mated to a seven-speed DCT automatic transmission as standard.
The A180 is a 1.3-litre four-cylinder unit with 136hp and 200Nm of torque, capable of getting from 0-62mph in 9.2secs and reaching a top speed of 134mph. The A200 uses the same 1.3-litre unit as the A180, but power is increased to 163hp and 250Nm of torque, thus reducing the 0-62mph time down to 8.2secs and increasing the top speed to 140mph.
Finally, we come to the A250, a 2-litre unit developing 224hp and 350Nm of torque, which helps it to get from 0-62mph in just 6.2secs and will reach a top speed of 155mph.
The all-new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) offering, is the A250 e. It combines a 1.3-litre petrol engine with an electric motor which develops a total of 215hp and is mated to an eight-speed DCT automatic transmission. It will hit 0-62mph in an impressive 6.6secs and go on to a top speed of 146mph.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior design and the technology found in the A-Class is fantastic, and arguably the best in the premium hatchback class. Mercedes has installed the latest MBUX infotainment system which is accessed by a 7-inch colour touchscreen as standard, along with a customisable 7-inch digital driver display cluster.
All A-Class models come with sat-nav, DAB radio and a reversing camera, along with various standard safety features and assists.
Both touchscreens can be optionally upgraded to larger 10-inch, by purchasing the Premium Package which also adds smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging and various other features.
The build quality is as you would expect from such a high-class brand like Mercedes, as are the high-end materials used throughout the cabin, which make the A-Class look like a luxury cruiser rather than a family hatchback. The front seats offer excellent comfort and adjustment with a large range of manual adjustments across all trim levels. If you have chosen a higher trim level or added the Premium Package, then the front seats become electrically adjustable.
Mercedes have offered multiple trim levels, so there is an A-Class covering a wider range price bracket, therefore making them more affordable. The one downside though, is that you need to either pay for a higher spec model or purchase various additional packages, to get most of the good features and technology. The package I would be most tempted to select would be the Premium Package, as although it cost £3K, the larger screens, smartphone connectivity and other items included make it great value for money.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The new A-Class has improved the space it now has, both inside the cabin and in the boot. In the front, driver and passenger should find a generous amount of legroom and headroom; even the really tall should have little to complain about. Moving to the rear and you find additional legroom and headroom compared with the previous model. It will fit a couple of tall adults in with relative ease, although the middle seat is best left to be used by a child due to limited foot space and legroom thanks to the raised central tunnel.
There are various useful storage compartments, such as; a large door pockets, a couple of cupholders, a spacious glovebox and a large storage compartment under the front centre armrest.
The boot has also grown in size and is now 29-litres larger than before, with a new capacity of 370-litres, which will rise to 1210-litres with the rear seats folded down. It is pretty much on par with the rest of the premium rivals and is large enough to fit a week’s worth of luggage for most families.
The A-Class scored an impressive 5-Star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, which is no surprise given the vast amount of safety features and what Mercedes like to call “Intelligent Drive Systems”. Some of the standard features across all models include; multiple airbags, Speed Limit Assist and Collision Prevention Assist.
Some of the additional safety options available at an additional cost include; traffic sign recognition, blindspot monitoring and Active Parking Assist with Parktronic.
The Mercedes A-Class is a superb premium hatchback suitable for most families and offers one of the best interiors on the market. With a large selection of engines, trim levels and optional packages, there is an A-Class for everyone.