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Mercedes-Benz A-Class overall verdict
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The Mercedes A-class really is a wonderful small car in its latest iteration. It’s not the prettiest thing, but with a huge range of engines and lovely interior it makes a lot of sense.
Most of the variants are firm to combat bodyroll - the ‘A' used to have stability issues but these days they handle brilliantly without too many downsides. They aren't actually fun as such, but certainly more than just capable. The long-wheelbase version is great for a small family, and the high-ish seating position is a boon for smaller drivers.
A huge choice of motors mean that there's an A-class to suit every taste. Try the 1.7-litre with 85kW if you live in town and want to get in people's way on the motorway. The two-litre petrol and diesel variants are much more on the pace. There's a 142kWTurbo too ($46,000? are you kidding?), which is quick but silly.
Has a pert kind of charm, but it's a bit practical to qualify for coolness.
Built to modern Merc standards in the latest versions, so after a few years in the wilderness, it is back in business. Solid materials usage, great quality, proven engines and drivetrains - a truly premium little car.
So it's never going to be as fluid as a Focus or even a Golf, but the A-class still manages to get around corners without too much fuss. Faster versions are too hard and engineered around a relatively high c-of-g, but there's surprising fun to be had.
Sandwich flooring means the engine and drivetrain are mega-compact and tucked away from the driver, so the A-class feels like a mini MPV rather than a medium hatchback. Has 435litres of bootspace with the seats up and a Transit-tastic 1995litres with the 60/40 split fold rear seats flattened. The boot is also pretty mouthy if you've got odd shapes to transport.
Cheap for a car with a three-pointed star on the front - thanks to relatively cheap insurance valuations. Servicing is steep.
More Mercedes-Benz A-Class cars we've driven...
- January 2006