The Mercedes A-Class is a stylish, premium hatchback and a rival to the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3. Unlike those cars, it is available only with five doors. However, there is also a saloon version, called the CLA.
The A-Class’s extrovert design will be enough to convince some buyers to part with their money, but those looks mean practicality isn’t as good as it should be. The rear seats feel cramped and there’s less head- and leg room than you’ll find in most other five-door family hatchbacks. Meanwhile, the quality of the interior isn’t as good as you’ll find in rivals such as the Volvo V40 and Audi A3 Sportback. Combine that with average boot space, a firm ride, noisy engines and high prices, and the A-Class becomes a difficult car to recommend.
It does come with a generous amount of safety kit, though, and will hold its value relatively well, but there are other competitors that perform equally well in these areas, and which are better to drive.
Our favourite version is the A 180 d SE. Its ultra-low running costs and small wheels help soften the model’s lumpy suspension, and it’s affordable. The exception in the range is the high-performance Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC. It’s expensive compared with rivals such as the BMW M135i, but is great fun to drive with secure handling and impressive, straight-line performance. Being a hot hatch, the ride is firm but very well controlled.