Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The majority of A Class buyers won’t be paying cash; they’ll be signing up to a PCP finance deal. If you’re planning to do that, an A Class will generally cost you more per month than its premium-badged rivals, including the Audi A3, although prices might vary from month to month depending on manufacturer and dealer incentives.
If you’re a company car driver, you’re right to be tempted by the hybrid A250e; its low CO2 emissions of 34g/km result in cheap benefit-in-kind tax. There’s good news for private buyers, too; the fact that the A Class is predicted to hang on to more of its value than rivals – including the A3 and the BMW 1 Series – over three years will help mitigate the fact that it costs slightly more to buy. Reasonable discounts are also available on the brochure price; click here to find out how much you could save.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level SE trim gets you most of the basics, including (relatively small) 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control and keyless go.
But since budget motoring isn’t really what the A Class is about, we’d recommend stumping up a bit extra for mid-rung Sport trim. This gets you more attractive 17in wheels, more powerful LED headlights, dual-zone climate control and various styling enhancements.
Range-topping AMG Line is also tempting but pushes the price into the territory of larger cars, such as the BMW 3 Series. For that reason, we’d stick with Sport trim and add the Executive Package, which gets you an enlarged infotainment screen, front and rear parking sensors as well as heated front seats. If you’re feeling flush, the pricier Premium Package adds all of that and more, including the larger digital instrument display that we mentioned earlier, keyless entry, an upgraded stereo and cool-looking ambient lighting.
In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, the A Class didn’t score at all well, finishing in 26th place out of 31 cars in the family car class. For comparison, petrol-powered versions of the Audi A3 placed ninth, with diesel-fuelled versions coming 10th.
As a brand Mercedes came a disappointing 24th out of 31 manufacturers. BMW and Audi only finished slightly higher, though, in 21st and 20th place respectively.
Safety and security
Euro NCAP gave the A Class a five-star (out of five) safety rating, with higher scores across the board than the A3 and 1 Series managed. That’s because even the most basic versions come with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, seven airbags, a system that monitors the driver’s alertness and a pop-up bonnet to help cushion a pedestrian in the event of an impact.
Meanwhile, traffic sign recognition (a system that uses a camera that recognises speed limit signs and displays them on the dashboard) and blindspot monitoring are on the options list.
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