Review: Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018)

Rating:

High quality interior. Strong diesels. A250 AMG Sport 4MATIC the best of the range. Big sellers and generally reliable.

Handling not up to BMW 1 Series. Suspension fairly firm. Lot of complaints about 7G-DCT in B-Class, but not in A-Class.

Recently Added To This Review

13 August 2019

Report of clearcoat lacquer over "Juniper red" paint of 2012 Mercedes-Benz A200 AMG Sport starting to fail. Other reports of the lacquer over "red" paint and "Fire Opal Red" paint failing on C-Class... Read more

29 October 2018

Report of fuel system problems with 2016 Mercededs-Benz GLA 250 (petrol) AMG line at 20k miles after running 400km at 130kmp on French Autoroutes using 95RON petrol and then refuelling with 95RON. On... Read more

21 June 2018

Report of 4Matic system of 2015 Mercedes-Benz A250 4Matic showing '4matic unavailable' warning sign came up and car would not start. Once left for a while it starts and drives but the warning sign stays... Read more

Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018): At A Glance

After two incarnations of its sandwich-floor mini MPV, Mercedes Benz decided that its A-Class shoud be a conventional front wheel drive premium hatchback. It's lower and wider with a more muscular look as it aims to take on the likes of the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. (The B-Class retains the mini MPV design.)

The more purposeful look isn’t all for show though. Mercedes-Benz has put considerable effort into ensuring the body is stiff. This improves cornering and agility, making for a more engaging drive. Refinements to the suspension and steering have also been made with the aim of offering an involving, fun car. It’s effective – the new A-Class can be driven at speed with confidence.

While the shape of the car may be a radical departure, that doesn’t mean it's impractical. The boot is more than big enough for a trip away or a family shop plus the rear seats offer enough space for adults, even if headroom is a little tight. There’s plenty of technology on offer too and even basic models get a collision mitigating brake system designed to prevent and minimise low speed accidents.

Engines use the traditional Mercedes-Benz naming system. Six are available – A180 petrol and diesel, A200 petrol and diesel, A220 diesel and A250 petrol. The most efficient engine in the range is the A180 BlueEfficiency Manual which has CO2 emissions of just 98g/km. Enthusiastic drivers will go for the A250 ‘Engineered by AMG’ model which can accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds.  

And don't worry if you've still got a soft spot for the old, more upright A-Class. Its spirit lives on in the B-Class, which gets many of the features of the new A-Class, but in a more spacious package.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2012 A200 Road Test

Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG Road Test

Mercedes-Benz A220d 2016MY Road Test

What does a Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018) cost?

List Price from £23,160
Buy new from £18,831
Contract hire from £198.79 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4292–4299 mm
Width 1780–2022 mm
Height 1418–1438 mm
Wheelbase 2699 mm

Full specifications

The boldly styled exterior creates high expectations for the cabin. Thankfully it matches for the most part. The bucket style seats look the part and are comfortable, easy to adjust and supportive. The driving position is low down, the controls are all easy to reach and everything is laid out in a logical fashion. The controls are pleasingly solid to operate and give a high quality feel, with neat Mercedes-Benz details like the ‘cross’ air vents.

That quality feel is present in the materials too. There’s a soft touch dash covering and most of the plastics feel as though they’ll stand the test of time. Higher grade models get some top quality seat coverings that further add to the upmarket feel. It’s not perfect, though – the sat-nav and infotainment screen could be better integrated – it looks ‘plonked on’ where it is at the moment.

That said, it’s a good system to use. Navigating the menus is as simple as turning one chunky dial and it’s easy to access the features you’ll need. Key information can be displayed in a small screen in the instrument binnacle, so you can keep your eyes on the road more easily.

There are plenty of cubby holes and storage bins for keeping your odds and ends while the big storage compartment between the front seats includes connections for USB devices, phones and iPods so you can keep them out of sight. There’s plenty of room for luggage too, with an ample sized boot and split-folding rear seats for bulky items.

The rear seats themselves offer a reasonable amount of leg room and headroom is adequate, but the tapering roofline means taller passengers will hit the side of their head through twistier roads. That said, access isn’t too bad and that issue won't affect children as much as it does taller adults.

While the cabin is comfortable, well designed and of high quality it can get a little noisy over rough road surfaces, with tyre noise intruding noticeably. There’s a fair bit of noise from the suspension over bumps. It’s not so intrusive that it’s distracting or problematic, but it does detract from an otherwise first rate cabin.

Standard equipment from launch (November 2012):

A-Class models come with stop/start, comfort suspension, electrically adjustable door mirrors, air-conditioning, electric windows, multi-function steering wheel, adaptive braking system, hill start assist, automatic headlights, ABS, attention assist, collision prevention assist, Bluetooth, USB and aux-in and daytime running lights.

SE models add cruciform air vents, leather gear lever, sports seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, artificial leather and cloth upholstery.

Sport trim adds cruise control with speed limiter, chrome twin exhausts, automatic windscreen wipers and 17-inch alloy wheels.

AMG Sport trim models have sports suspension, a dynamic handling package, selective damping, AMG styling, retuned power steering, run-flat tyres, flat-bottomed steering wheel with perforated leather, carbon-fibre look trim, artificial leather trim with red stitching and 18-nch alloy wheels.

Engineered by AMG models come with the seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox, lowered suspension, LED tail lights, xenon headlights and diamond pattern radiator grille. 

Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018) like to drive?

You'd be disappointed if the new A-Class didn’t have the handling to match its bold new look. So Mercedes-Benz has increased body rigidity and fitted multi-link rear suspension. What that effectively means is that the car is agile, balanced and feels nimble through the bends. The steering feels heavy but precise and the driving position – much lower than the old A-Class – suits the new handling.

Unfortunately the ride has suffered as a consequence. It feels unsettled over undulations while it clatters over potholes. Balancing comfort with enjoyable handling is always tricky and the issue can be mitigated somewhat by choosing a base, SE grade or Sport model, which come with Comfort suspension. Cars in AMG Sport trim and above come with a stiffer set up are expected to be more popular.

There are three CDI diesel engines in the range – the A180, A200 and A220. The most efficient of these is the A180 BlueEfficiency manual, which is actually a 1.5-litre Renault engine. If that puts you off don't worry – it’s smooth and offers official fuel economy of as much as 74.3mpg, along with free annual VED thanks to 98g/km emissions. Rather confusingly the automatic version of the A180 diesel isn’t the same engine. Instead it’s a 1.8-litre Mercedes-Benz engine and is less efficient.

The A200 CDI offers a balance of economy and performance so no surprise that it's likely to be the bestseller. It produces 136PS and 300Nm of torque, with emissions of 118g/km when coupled to the smooth seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The diesel line-up is topped off by the A220 CDI, with a slight performance hike over the A200 but without any real hit to the economy. It’s only available with the automatic gearbox though.

The petrol range consists of the A180, A200 and A250, the former two of which are actually the same engine but tuned for different power outputs. Picking between these two comes down to preference, but both have average claimed economy of around 51mpg and emissions between 131g/km and 134g/km.

The pick of the petrol crop is the A250. It produces 211PS along with 350Nm of torque and can sprint from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds. It makes a characterful burble and on the road it’s pretty versatile, offering a good amount of torque across the rev range. It suits the firm, stiff chassis quite well and is the choice for keen drivers. It is only offered with the dual-clutch automatic - which is generally fairly smooth and can be overridden by the driver with steering mounted paddles. Emissions are 145g/km and combined cycle economy is 45.6mpg. 

In our opinion the A250 AMG SPORT 4MATIC has proved to be the best A Class. The dual clutch transmission is not overwhelmed by the power and torque and never irritatingly hesitates when entering a roundabout or exiting a side street. The handling is fine and acceleration strong. It also grips better than the B220 4MATIC. A far better choice for day to day use than the A45 AMG.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
A 180 50 mpg 9.2 s 131 g/km
A 180 Automatic 53 mpg 9.1 s 124 g/km
A 180 d 71 mpg 11.3 s 102 g/km
A 180 d Automatic 69 mpg 11.6 s 101 g/km
A 200 50 mpg 8.4 s 132 g/km
A 200 Automatic 53 mpg 8.3 s 124 g/km
A 200 d 64 mpg 9.8 s 111 g/km
A 200 d Automatic 69 mpg 9.7 s 103 g/km
A160 51–52 mpg 10.6 s 124–126 g/km
A160 Automatic 52–54 mpg 10.4 s 119–126 g/km
A180 50–51 mpg 8.9–9.2 s 127–134 g/km
A180 Automatic 52–55 mpg 8.6–9.1 s 119–131 g/km
A180 BlueEfficiency 51 mpg 9.2 s 129 g/km
A180 CDI 71 mpg 11.3 s 102–105 g/km
A180 CDI Automatic 66–71 mpg 11.6 s 98–101 g/km
A180 CDI Eco 79 mpg 11.3 s 92 g/km
A180 d 72–81 mpg 11.3–11.6 s 89–103 g/km
A180 d Automatic 74–76 mpg 11.3 s 98–101 g/km
A200 50–53 mpg 8.1–8.4 s 131–134 g/km
A200 Automatic 52–53 mpg 7.8–8.3 s 124–126 g/km
A200 CDI 63–64 mpg 9.8 s 111 g/km
A200 CDI Automatic 69 mpg 9.7 s 103 g/km
A200 d 66–69 mpg 9.3–9.8 s 106–116 g/km
A200 d Automatic 71–74 mpg 8.8–9.7 s 99–108 g/km
A220 CDI 67 mpg 8.2 s 107 g/km
A220 d 69 mpg 7.5 s 107 g/km
A220 d 4Matic 59 mpg 7.5 s 124 g/km
A220 d Automatic 69 mpg 7.5 s 107 g/km
A250 42 mpg 6.4 s 158 g/km
A250 4Matic 42 mpg 6.3 s 154–156 g/km
A250 4Matic Automatic 43 mpg 6.5 s 154 g/km
A250 Automatic 45–47 mpg 6.3–6.6 s 140–148 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

77%

Real MPG

21–75 mpg

MPGs submitted

364

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Where can I buy a space saver wheel for a Mercedes A-Class?

I have just bought a new Mercedes A-Class and discovered it hasn’t got a spare wheel – just a repair kit. Can you tell me where I can buy a new space saver wheel? I also need a jack and brace.
These companies should be able to help: http://www.tyremen.co.uk; My Tyres (https://bit.ly/2I7N1bv)
Answered by Honest John
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What Cars Are Similar To The Mercedes-Benz A-Class W174 (2012 – 2018)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Petrol engine, Diesel engine, Economical, High quality interior, Modern technology and Small family.

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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 50%
  • 4 star 17%
  • 3 star 17%
  • 2 star
  • 1 star 17%

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