Recently, my friend got his hands on the new Mercedes A-Class for the day, and luckily, he was kind enough to let me tag along with him for a few hours. As such, I’ll begin by saying that this article isn’t a full-on review. To review something, I feel that I’d have to have driven it further than up and down a carpark! However, I’m still keen to share some of my initial thoughts on the fresh-faced A-Class.
The model we have here is a 180d in Sports trim. The 180d is no fire breather, it's fitted with a 1.5L diesel engine, which sends a mighty 116hp to the front wheels via a seven-speed automatic gear box. As you’d expect, this means the 0-62mph time is nothing to write home about, but in reality, a figure of 10.5 seconds feels adequate enough, I think this is due to the handy 260nm of torque on offer. Although we didn’t test the manual mode, the gearbox does a fine job and when at speed, the 180d settled into a relaxed cruise. Now, I’m not going to slag the engine off for not being quick enough for one simple reason. Let’s face it, nobody who wants a performance car is going to buy the A-Class with this engine, they’re more likely to step up to something like the A250. As such, I’m confident that the people who buy this car will be happy with the performance on offer. My only real critique of the engine is that it sounds a little rough at idle, but this isn’t something I really noticed once the car was moving.
To me, and in my opinion, to a lot of potential customers, the biggest allure of the new A-Class is the interior. Mercedes have really gone to town. Whereas the previous generation A-Class had a somewhat awkward looking screen perched on top of its dashboard, the new car features a very impressive and sleek looking sheet of glass. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure on the new design in photos, but in person it works very well. The dashboard takes on a kind of tier design with the screen integrating nicely on top. Moreover, not only does the design look good, the screen does a fantastic job of putting all the car’s multimedia functions at your finger tips. Mercedes-Benz User Experience or MBUX for short, is the name that Mercedes have given this system. Whilst some may miss the conventional dials, the screens are IPad like in quality, so I don’t really think this is an issue. Various screen sizes are available depending on how much you’re willing to spend. I believe the car here had the 10.25inch touchscreen display in the centre of the dash, and the standard 7inch display in place of a conventional speedo.
As well as being touch screen, you can also control the tech with an array of buttons and switches. Whilst daunting at first, I’m sure you’d get used to them and their functions very quickly. For the most part, the interior felt like a very up market place to be. The seats felt comfortable yet supportive and some of the switchgear that controlled things like volume felt very premium indeed. However, a few touch points felt oddly cheap. Whereas the volume control gave a satisfying, clicky type feedback when used, the temperature controls for the Air Con felt like they were about to snap off, if pressed with too much vigour. There was also an odd piece of hard plastic used in front of the leather like arm rest. These are only minor things, but they do subtract from an otherwise premium feeling cabin.
Cheap materials are present, but that dosen't stop it from being a very nice place to sit. © - BecauseCars
Finally, I feel as though I should mention that the A-Class seemed too big for a KFC parking space. Whether this is down to the car being lengthy or the space being unusually small, I’m not sure. However overall, I think the A-Class makes sense as a premium hatchback, you get a well thought out and extremely techy interior, a comfy ride and most importantly, a three-pointed star on your steering wheel.
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