At The Wheel: The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Despite its premium price tag the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is one of the biggest selling cars in the UK. Its success was largely based on the fact it was, and still is, the most affordable way into owning a Mercedes. And all the prestige of ownership associated with it, despite being more expensive than most of its competition.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

And now there’s an all-new model promising more technology, more performance and a more refined driving experience. The original was a great success, have Mercedes improved upon the new model or unnecessarily tampered with success?

Well, it may not look all that different on the outside, but climb in and you’re welcomed to one of the finest cabins around that’s awash with swathes of leather, aluminium and cool ambient lighting. Two fully digital tablets rest on top of the dash and are controlled by all manner of functions; the most interesting of which is Mercedes’ new voice control system, which works in a similar way to Siri on your iPhone. Shout ‘Hey Mercedes’ and the car’s virtual assistant is able to help you with everything from tuning the radio to finding the nearest petrol station.

As the A-Class is box-fresh you’re engine options are quite limited initially; there’s the usual array of petrol and diesel models before a fuel-sipping plug-in hybrid and 400bhp Mercedes-AMG models land next year to bookend the lineup.

But if a luxurious, refined and well-rounded hatchback is currently on your wish list then the A-Class is certainly worth a closer look. There’s a real air of sophistication to everything the A-Class does; it’s not truly exceptional in any one area but as a package it works – and its work well.

The suspension does a great job of ironing out the UK’s rutted roads to deliver a cushioned ride, while the 161bhp 1.3-litre engine, combined with its seven-speed automatic gearbox, does a decent job of allowing you to make quick but smooth progress. In short, Mercedes have made small, incremental improvements to an already excellent offering – making the new A-Class a winner. Prices start at £25,800.

Images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz UK

Jonathan Burn

Jonathan Burn is a world renowned automotive journalist, and Ape's resident car expert with a deep appreciation for anything that drives fast.