The 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Caroline drives the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has been the entry into the Mercedes-Benz range for 20 years. The A-Class started out as something of a mini MPV but morphed into a sleek, low slung hatchback in 2012. Now the A-Class is back for a second iteration in hatchback form and it’s looking better than ever. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has also seen a revolution in technology, so things are looking very shaky indeed for ‘old’ rivals like the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series.

Pricing for the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class range starts from €31,600 in Ireland placing the A-Class truly in the premium end of the hatchback market. But is it worth it? Is the new A-Class really a cut above?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class brings its A game in the looks departments. Designers at Mercedes-Benz sharpened their pencils and got to work at making the new A-Class more chiseled and masculine than the car it replaces. The AMG Line models look particularly good with a sportier styling kit and 18” five spoke alloy wheels.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class

What’s it like inside the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class?

Things really get exciting when you slip inside the new A-Class. There’s a completely new interior and in terms of technology, style and premium finish, rivals like the A3 and 1-Series just don’t serve up the same experience anymore. There’s a fine mix of materials and striking new design elements like the sporty turbine effect air vents. The digital screens and instrumentation look amazing and the steering wheel is a masterpiece itself. It just makes everything else in the class seem really dated. The new MBUX infotainment system responds to commands of ‘Hey Mercedes’, but the swipe and tap controls on the steering wheel still do a neat job of controlling the infotainment system for this driver.

Ok, so that’s all very impressive but is the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class any good at carrying people? Typically your premium hatchback is style over space but the new A-Class has a longer wheelbase to improve interior space and there’s more shoulder, elbow and headroom. In the rear the legroom is looking a little more generous, though a large transmission tunnel and relatively narrow middle seat mean that this is still more of a place for two than three. The boot is now 29 litres larger than before at 370 litres, which not far off what you will find in a Volkswagen Golf.

Rear legroom in the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Rear legroom in the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class

What are my engine options?

There are also some nice engine options for the new A-Class including two new four-cylinder petrol engines (1.3-litre A200 with 163hp and 2.0-litre A250 with 224hp) and a new four cylinder diesel (1.5-litre A180d with 116hp). 6 speed manual and 7 speed dual clutch automatic gearboxes are available. An A160 and A160d will join the range later.

My test car was the new A200 model, which has an amazing 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine pushing out 163hp. The refinement is excellent, the power delivery with the automatic transmission simply amazing, and it has the ability to shut down two cylinders under low load to save fuel. My overall fuel consumption over a week of driving was 6.4l/100km and I was really enjoying this car! Motor tax for this model is €270 per year. The new A-Class also has selectable driving modes, including a sport mode that adds more urgency to the throttle response – though it’s rarely needed.

So how much does this all cost?

Well the A200 AMG Line Automatic on test had a list price of €37,690, though petrol models start from €34,235. There are three trim levels – Style, Progressive and AMG Line – and the range kicks off currently at €31,600 for an A180d automatic in Style trim. Standard equipment includes 16″ alloys, air con, active lane keeping assist, digital instrument cluster, MBUX multimedia system with touchscreen and touchpad, cruise control, Dynamic Select, heated front seats, reversing camera and part leather upholstery.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class range starts from €31,600 in Ireland
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class range starts from €31,600 in Ireland

Progressive adds more chrome and carbon fibre effect trim to the cabin, automatic climate control, 17″ alloys, LED  headlamps, visible tailpipe trim elements and rear apron with trim in chrome.

AMG Line adds a sport steering wheel, brushed stainless steel pedals, direct-steer system, aluminium trim, sports seats, 18″ alloys, AMG bodystyling, and diamond radiator grille with chrome pins.

What’s the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class like to drive?

On the road the new A-Class feels fun and sporty. The steering is light but precise and the car feels neat and agile through corners. Refinement and comfort are generally good though this sporty model had audible road noise at high speeds on the motorway and the sports suspension picks up more of the road surface beneath you. The A200 offers exciting performance while being reasonable to run as well.

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class packages the quality and style of Mercedes-Benz with a surprising fun to drive character that makes it a must for a test drive! The new A-Class comes to market with impressive new technology, interior quality and design and all this makes rivals like the A3 and 1-Series feel a bit less salubrious than what they once were. Technology lovers will enjoy the new interior and infotainment, while the new engines are pretty much faultless too.

The baby Merc doesn’t come cheap and ‘less premium’ rivals would be more practical and comfortable. But for style and prestige in the compact segment, it doesn’t come much better than this.

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class sets new standards in the premium hatchback class
The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class sets new standards in the premium hatchback class

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz A200 AMG Line Automatic
€37,690 (Range starts at €31,600)
Engine: 1.3-litre turbo petrol
Torque: 250Nm
8.0 seconds
Top speed: 225km/h
5.2-5.6 l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax:
€270 per year

Caroline Kidd