What's the used Mercedes A Class hatchback like?
Innovation is no guarantee of sales success. Despite the first and second iterations of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class being very safe and space-efficient, with their clever ‘sandwich’ floor layout, neither was a smash hit. Meanwhile, rivals like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series were lapping up buyers looking for a family car with a premium badge and a sporty image.
So, a radical rethink was in order. The third generation A-Class, launched in 2013, was longer, lower and infinitely more stylish, while conforming to the class norm, unlike its upright and stubby predecessors.
The A-Class grips well and feels flat and stable – a stark contrast to the preceding models. What really lets it down, though, is the quality of its ride, which is unnecessarily firm. Over broken British roads, it can be unyieldingly uncomfortable and noisy, with bumps both large and small sending shock waves through the body. AMG versions are even firmer, and as such definitely best avoided.
The interior is of unalloyed sportiness. The firm seats grip you securely and the driving position is low and fairly adjustable to suit all sizes. However, there’s not a great deal of space up front.
The impression given by the style of the dashboard and surroundings gives the A-Class a distinctly classy feel, even if the quality of materials don’t stand up to the plushness of the Audi A3 upon closer inspection.
Space in the rear is in rather short supply, with limited head room and three people abreast being an uncomfortable squeeze that could be endured only for short journeys. Perhaps surprisingly, the boot is a good size, especially with the rear seats dropped, but access to it through the narrow aperture limits what you load into it.
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