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Used test: BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class: costs

Buy either of these desirable family cars at a year old instead of new and you'll save more than £10,000, but which is the better option?...

BMW 1 Series driving

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Bought new, the 118d was the more expensive car by nearly £1000, but bought at a year old as here it's the cheaper car by £1500. Both cars look great value, though, with savings on the new price of £11,000 on the A200d and £13,000 on the 118d.

Both cars will cost the same amount to tax every year, but the A200d will cost a fraction more to insure, and around £500 more to service over a three-year time period. Conversely, both our test cars did well in our fuel economy test, but the A200d eked out 3.1mpg more at 52.3mpg versus 49.2mpg. 

Both cars get a decent tally of kit, including climate control, leather seats (faux leather/faux suede in the A200d) and 18in alloy wheels. The 118d tops that list with heated front seats and power-folding door mirrors, while the A200d throws in tinted rear windows. 

Mercedes A-Class driving

Both cars come with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance as standard, to which the 118d adds traffic sign recognition. The A200d has a better Euro NCAP safety rating, though, with higher category scores thanks to better whiplash, chest and pedestrian protection.

There's good news from the 118d when it comes to reliability – it finished first in the family car section in our most recent 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey. Diesel-engined 1 Series models are twice as dependable as their petrol counterparts, it turns out; only 5% had a fault, compared with 10% of petrols. This latest version of the A-Class finished in a rather disappointing 19th place out of 26 cars. 

BMW as a brand scored a respectable ninth place out of 31 manufacturers in the same survey; alas Mercedes finished in a very poor 26th place.


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