Mercedes A-Class

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Words ByJohn McIlroy

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The new Mercedes A-Class had an unusual debut at Geneva 2012, with Daimlers 58-year-old boss Dr Dieter Zetsche attempting to crack jokes with youthful designers and engineers at the cars reveal. Mercedes desperately wants younger buyers and new customers to the brand to be attracted by the new five-door hatchback.

To achieve this, Mercedes has lowered this generation of A-Class, making it a much more conventional rival for the BMW 1 Series, or VW Golf. The company has also packed it with fresh infotainment technology, offering what looks like an excellent degree of smartphone integration right across the range.

It looks impressive enough, although inside, some of the more hidden plastics looked and felt a bit cheaper than the corresponding parts in the new Audi A3, or Volvo V40.

This may yet be compensated by an aggressive price; the A-Class had been expected to drift upmarket, but Merc sources at the launch said the aim is to keep it at the current cars cost levels. If that has been achieved, then it could really attract the new buyers Mercedes so badly craves.

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John McIlroy

See also: All Geneva motor show 2012 news