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Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2018–)

Last updated 24 February 2019

Completely re-worked A-Class with new petrol engines. Excellent infotainment and tech. Luxurious interior. Improved ride quality.
The looks aren't proving universally popular...
Updated 24 February 2019

Report of problems with August 2018 Mercedes Benz A-Class: car has been in and out of the garage at least once a month. Gearbox and electronics and lag on power and then all of a sudden kicking into...

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The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has always lagged behind rivals such as the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3. But this model, launched in 2018, combines an upmarket interior with sophisticated semi-autonomous technology and a drive that's potentially the best in class.

The cabin quality is enhanced with more soft touch materials while the design echoes the latest E-Class. The dashboard is dominated by twin HD displays that - depending on spec - will measure between seven and 10.25 inches apiece.

Like Audi’s virtual cockpit system, the driver gets a digital instrument binnacle that can be customised to show navigation directions, traffic reports and in-car settings.

The A-Class is more practical, too, with 370 litres of bootspace - more than both the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series when the rear seats are in place.

Ride quality and comfort is better than before, even on 19-inch wheels, thanks to the 30mm longer wheelbase and reworked multi-link rear suspension. Mercedes-Benz promises affordable fuel costs too, with the A180d 116PS diesel returning an official 68.8mpg and 108g/km of CO2.

Given the backlash against diesels, petrol power is far more prominent in the A-Class than before, despite most sales of the previous model going to the A180d. A new 1.3-litre engine features cylinder deactivation tech that saves fuel by switching from four to two-cylinders under light loads.

The entry-level 1.3-litre unit is the only engine to get a manual gearbox and produces 163PS with an advertised 55mpg. The 2.0-litre 224PS petrol - linked to a more substantial seven-speed dual clutch auto, can return 40mpg.

As well as all-new mechanical underpinnings, the A-Class boasts an array of semi-autonomous tech that allows it to effectively drive itself under human supervision. Operated by a system of radar and cameras, the A-Class is able to control its speed, change lanes and read traffic signs. It also performs a full automatic emergency stop if required and applies the brakes if it detects a rear-end impact.

Although the new A-Class might not look much different to its predecessor, it's a huge improvement in terms of the interior and how well it drives. Most buyers will go for the A180d and that's a fine choice, although the petrol engines are equally good. What's ultra-impressive is the technology on offer - although in true premium German car style, you'll have to be prepared to spend money on extras.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2018 Range Road Test 

List Price from £23,075
Buy new from £18,745
Contract hire from £209.08 per month

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