First drive: Mercedes A-Class

  • Image boosted
  • New engines
  • Range simplified
The Mercedes A-Class is a real quandary car. On the plus side, it’s cleverly packaged and trendy; on the downside, it’s expensive and powered by outdated engines. This face-lift has to address the issues.

Not much has changed on the outside of the latest version: the radiator grille, bumpers and lights are new, there are larger, reshaped door mirrors and extra body-coloured trim. Subtle tweaks, but enough to give its image a boost.

Inside, new trims make the cabin look classier. The plush plastics and top-notch fit and finish make the A-Class’s interior as good as some of Mercedes’ pricier models. It’s practical, too, offering you family-car passenger space in a car that’s shorter than some superminis.

The range has been simplified, so there aren’t any cheap models that are short on kit, or high-powered versions that cost over £20,000. That makes sense, as does the decision to add systems that stop the petrol engines at standstill, to improve fuel economy and emissions, but you’ll have to wait until next spring for that.

There’s also the choice of two very frugal 2.0-litre diesel models, and the 160 CDI is available with a £390 BlueEfficiency option pack, to improve emissions and fuel consumption further.

Prices have gone up, but both an auxiliary input socket and Bluetooth come as standard.

Factfile
Price £14,365-£18,815
On sale now
Engine size 1.5/2.0 td
Price from £14,365/£15,145
Power 94bhp/81bhp
0-62mph 12.6sec/15.0sec
Top speed 109mph/106mph
Economy 45.6mpg/57.6mpg
CO2 g/km/tax 148/17%/128/18%

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