Review: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2012 – 2018)
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.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class (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.
What does a Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2012 – 2018) cost?
Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2012 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
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 (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.
What's the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (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.
|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 (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.
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.
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