Sound quality is excellent, and the system is very easy to use ...
Comfort and Refinement
Most cars have four air vents across the dashboard. The A-Class has five, partly for aesthetic reasons but also to ensure good delivery of airflow around the cabin. Mercedes has always paid keen attention to seat structure and comfort (“we know what is good for your spine” we were once told emphatically by a Mercedes engineer) and the A-Class’s seats are very good in this respect. The front ones are strongly contoured to hug you in position on the corners, and the back seats are also well-shaped and less bench-like than some rivals’.
Engine refinement is very acceptable and wind noise over the body is generally low. This is not a car to tire you quickly on a long trip.
Safety and Security
Safety systems galore are built into the A-Class. According to Mercedes’ chief executive at the time of the car’s launch, “A is for attack”, meaning the sales potential of a car that looks and drives much better than its predecessor, but defence is just as much a strong point. Its safety rating is Euro NCAP 5-star, and measures include an active bonnet: the clamshell-shaped bonnet automatically pops upwards by 65 mm in any frontal accident, to protect any impacting pedestrian by lifting the metal away from hard points on the engine below. The front seat belts quite aggressively pre-tension into the correct position.
There are active braking system and electronic stability and skid control systems, crash-responsive emergency lighting and collision prevention assist. There is also a sensor that monitors the driver’s steering inputs to check for early signs of fatigue, to trigger a warning that it may be time to take a rest from the wheel on a long journey.
The test car’s audio system comes with a 5.8-inch tablet-style colour display pre-wired for the Becker Map Pilot satellite navigation system. There are six speakers, a telephone keypad, Bluetooth and USB ports for connecting external devices. Sound quality is excellent, and the system is very easy to use.
- Audi A3
- BMW 1-Series
- Ford Focus
- Volvo V40
What We Liked
- The prestige of that three-pointed star on the bonnet
- Excellent driving manners
- Holds onto the bends really well
- Plenty of adjustable for a perfect driving position
- Grippy seat belts give a reassuring tug on start-up
- Stylish looking and streamlined
- High quality cabin with sporty touches
- Efficient seven-speed auto gearbox
- Good size boot
What We Disliked
- Multi-function stalk for indicators and washer/wipers takes some getting used to
- Steering just a touch weighty around town
- Ride quality just a bit jarringly firm
- Electronic handbrake tucked away under the dash
- Quite pricey for a car of its size
What We Would Like To See
- A bit more supple cushioning in the ride quality
What a long way the A-Class has come since the original short, lofty school-run special. The current Merc A is a svelte-looking, stylishly kitted out, smart executive car. Built to a high standard and good-to-drive, it has a lot going for it if you don’t mind quite an unforgivingly firm ride.25 March 2014
Mercedes Benz A Class Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mercedes Benz A250 4MATIC|
|Body Type||5-door Hatchback|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||6.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed||149 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5-Stars|
|Warranty||3 Years / Unlimited Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 25/03/14)||£30,905|