SLEEK LOOKS: The A-Class borrows design cues from bigger fashions
It is the same old suspects, with BMW’s 1-Collection, Audi’s A3 and Mercedes’ A-Class proving well-liked with British drivers.
And it is this A-Class that has modified essentially the most because it was first launched, evolving from a quirky-looking upright hatchback right into a glossy, polished and mature proposition.
And with this newest model packing a wealth of know-how, Mercedes continues to reinvent its compact mannequin for a complete new era of householders.
The A-Class has a giant following within the UK – in actual fact we’re the most important worldwide marketplace for Mercedes, with greater than 43,000 offered right here final yr.
Beforehand diesel variations of the A-Class have been hottest with consumers by a snug margin, whereas about half had been chosen with an computerized gearbox.
Unmistakably nonetheless an A-Class this new era mannequin boasts a better variety of increased high quality supplies.
It has additionally borrowed quite a few design cues from bigger fashions, with the end result being a automotive that manages to look up to date, but additionally acquainted.
For now the engine alternative favours petrol.
Two turbo-petrols, a 1.three and a couple of.Zero-litre (badged confusingly because the A200 and A250) are being provided alongside a single 1.5-litre turbo-diesel, with a seven-speed dual-clutch computerized gearbox the default transmission.
Extra engines of each fuels and a six-speed guide gearbox will arrive later – the latter anticipated by the tip of 2018.
The small capability 114bhp 1.5-litre A180d diesel punches effectively above its weight with a Zero to 60mph time of 10.5 seconds and a 125mph high velocity, whereas the 161bhp A200 petrol mannequin is unsurprisingly a bit quieter and prone to attraction extra to personal consumers who will not be pounding motorways day by day.
The 221bhp 2.Zero-litre petrol is the punchier alternative (Zero to 60mph in 6.Zero seconds), geared toward drivers with extra sporting leanings.
It is no AMG monster – two variations of that are coming later – however does a great job of unlocking a number of the automotive’s potential.
Nonetheless, again in the actual world it is laborious to argue with the 68.9mpg common gasoline financial system of the A180d, putting it a big distance forward of the A200 and its 51.4mpg, when you journey loads and are nonetheless completely happy to embrace diesel energy.
Previous A-Lessons have by no means been positioned as finely-honed driving machines however this variant is noticeably extra polished than the final.
The steering boasts a helpful weighty really feel and, no less than when fitted with adaptive suspension, copes effectively with less-than-perfect highway surfaces.
In brief the driving expertise may be enjoyable. It is also a significantly clean operator whenever you’re not in a rush.
Key to this efficiency are these engines, which ship a great mixture of energy and refinement.
The accessible and inexpensive nature of the A-Class makes it an excellent candidate to introduce new know-how.
That is most blatant within the cabin, the place an all-digital show dominates the facia.
Contact management options closely, with the screens and a brand new enter controller providing tablet-like performance.
Mercedes seems eager to blur the road between how we use cellphones with how we work together with its vehicles.
The heavy emphasis on tapping and swiping to regulate key capabilities will little question be second nature to tech-savvy consumers, though others can be confronted with a steep studying curve.
DUBBED “MBUX” this new method controls all the things from the audio controls to the way you work together with the navigation system and encompasses voice management that’s extra intuitive than of previous.
The Mercedes has borrowed design cues from bigger fashions
The default association is a pair of seven-inch color screens – one for the same old devices, the opposite for audio or navigation and a bunch of different providers.
Upgrading at further value leads to one or each screens increasing to 10.25-inches.
Immediately swiping or tapping the right-hand display screen has changed the necessity for a rotary controller.
An oversize laptop-style trackpad affords extra management, though at first swipe we’d hardly name it intuitive.
Apply helps enhance your success charge, although.
The A-Class can be a fraction bigger in all the important thing areas.
Millimetres rely on this enterprise and head, leg and shoulder room have all been improved barely to make the cabin extra snug.
And it is also quieter than earlier than due to a brand new streamlined form and an improved give attention to general refinement.
KEEPING IN TOUCH: An all-digital show affords tablet-like contact management
Three trim ranges – SE, Sport and AMG Line – and a £25,800 base worth see the A-Class supply each ample tools ranges and an interesting entry worth to an expertise rising ever nearer to that of the flagship S-Class.
Make no mistake, the A-Class is a giant deal for Mercedes.
For all its excessive tech and suave appears: it has to attraction to a broad church; from firm automotive drivers to low-mileage personal homeowners.
First impressions recommend it is acquired that job nailed down, blurring the traces between automotive and equipment due to Mercedes’ embrace of linked applied sciences.
However it’s additionally potential to take pleasure in and use the automotive in its most simple type, a “posh” five-door hatchback.
With even the SE variants gaining necessities comparable to digital radio, a mass of energetic security options, sat nav and keyless ignition, there is not any purpose to slum it.
Sport and AMG Line add greater wheels, upgraded upholstery and some exterior styling tweaks.
Opposite to any issues that this newest A-Class was pitched solely to tech-savvy consumers, it truly is a automotive for everybody.
Certain you will sacrifice a number of the expertise when you select to not embrace the brand new know-how however immerse your self within the handbook, or ask a young person when you get caught, and you will find the added worth is value the additional head scratching.
A daring assertion on many fronts this newest A-Class has the potential to slide painlessly into your life.
Its premium badge, appears and superior options can have each purists and a brand new era of householders nodding with approval.
The brand new A-Class prices from £25,800 within the UK
Mannequin: Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Value vary: £25,800-£30,240
Engine vary: Turbo-petrol – 1.three, 2.Zero-litre; Turbo-diesel – 1.5-litre
Energy: Zero to 60mph in 6.Zero seconds, 155mph high velocity (2.Zero)
Common gasoline financial system: 68.9mpg (1.5TD)
CO2 emissions vary: 108-141g/km
Rivals: Audi A3, BMW 1-Collection, Volvo V40