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Car Review

Mercedes-Benz A-Class review

£23,485 - £55,235
Published: 23 Mar 2023


What is it like on the inside?

It's not like any other car, especially not in a sensible class like this. The dash is a low-bulk piece of furniture, with the screen system on top. The centre console is pushed away from you too, so the overall effect is of pared-back lounge luxury. At night, illumination of strategic interior parts adds a nicely theatrical – and practical – note.

If you specced it up, this generation of A-Class always had an impressive pair of 10.25-inch high-res screens. Now, post-facelift, that big-glass cockpit is standard. It has live-traffic navigation, full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (again, newly standard) and multiple selectable display options, graphic schemes and colour combos.

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It learns your habits, so if you listen to different radio stations at different times of the day, or enter different nav destinations on different days of the week, it'll make those suggestions. (Like Apple has for years.) The whole system is called MBUX for Mercedes Benz User Experience. Because everything's an experience these days.

Two sets of steering-wheel controllers let the driver do anything that's on the screens, but they've become small and fiddly touchpads in the facelift car whereas some were actual switches before. And the touchpads are too sensitive to accidental operation, but somehow inconsistently not sensitive enough when you're trying to swipe them. We found ourselves missing the tunnel-mounted controller that was fitted pre-facelift. At least the climate controls are hardware buttons.

General material quality is high. It's well-made and stylish, with rich metallic sheen on the jet-turbine vents and switches. Although it's annoying that perhaps the flimsiest and cheapest-feeling mouldings are the two you often use: the column stalks, which operate wipers, indicators and transmission selection.

Augmented-reality sat nav is standard high up the range. It plays a video of the road ahead onto the centre screen, overlaid with big arrows hovering over the right road at a junction. It's both impressive and distracting. The top version gets a head-up display which is much more effective to our eyes.

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The seats are widely adjustable and supportive for the long haul. But negotiate not to be a rear passenger. The bulky front seats in all models with AMG in their name – ie all but one version – steal leg and foot space.

The boot is a bit shallow too, and records just 355 litres to the top of the seat-back. It's even less with the parcel shelf in place.

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