Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2018) Review

Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The latest A-Class is Mercedes at its best. It’s sophisticated and civilised on the road, it’s packed with technology, and the interior has proper wow-factor.

+Innovative infotainment system that looks great, really posh-feeling interior, comfortable and secure to drive.

-Merely so-so on practicality, Smartphone integration should be standard across the board, A200 petrol engine not refined enough.

New prices start from £31,840, brokers can source from £46,521
Insurance Group 28
On average it achieves 86% of the official MPG figure

The previous Mercedes A-Class was successful despite its abilities rather than because of them, but the latest 2018 version stands with the very best cars in the premium hatchback class. The competition - in the form of the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf - is extremely good in a vast number of ways, but so is the A-Class. Well worthy of your consideration.

The A-Class has come a long way since the early days. First introduced in 1997 as some weird scaled-down MPV-type contraption that’d fall over at the merest sight of an elk, it would gradually morph over the years into a more conventional prestige hatchback that would form the entry-point into Mercedes-Benz ownership, and delight image-conscious buyers on a budget along the way.

For all their popularity, though, previous versions of the A-Class have been, well, not all that good. Not bad, you understand, just not as good as the excellent cars with which they were required to compete, those being the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. These rivals were better to drive, more practical and higher in quality than the A-Class, and of course, no less desirable.

This fourth-generation model, though, is a different matter entirely. While the Audi and BMW are better and more desirable than ever, the baby Benz has really caught up.

Finally, it delivers the comfortable, sophisticated driving experience that you expect from a Mercedes, while it also has its rivals matched on space and versatility. Where quality is concerned, it still doesn’t have quite the bullet-proof solidity of assembly that its rivals do, but if anything, it has them beaten for poshness and theatre.

Much of that is thanks to simply stunning materials, and the rest is down to the high-tech infotainment system that dominates the cabin, with its twin screens, sharp graphics and feature-rich functionality.

The list of standard equipment is a little bit hit-and-miss (not all versions have Apple Carplay/Android Auto, for example), but most of what you need is provided, plus more besides. Safety kit is also well catered for, and with a range of punchy and efficient engines, running costs will be on a par with those of the key rivals, as will purchase prices.

Is it the best car in the class? Well, no, we don’t think so: we think that honour falls to the BMW 1 Series once all things are considered. However, the margins are tight, and different cars suit different people. If you’re after a comfortable car that dazzles with its infotainment kit and its luxurious interior, then the A-Class might well be pick-of-the-class for you.

Ask Honest John

I'm looking for a medium-sized hatchback. What's the best model to buy?
"I've got up to £25k to spend. I'm looking at the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 (either the Style or the R). It's a Golf-size car I want, with a diesel engine and automatic gearbox. Is the Golf a better option than a Focus, Astra etc?"
The latest Golf is an excellent car and is unlikely to disappoint – but it's no longer the class leader it once was. If practicality is a concern, look at the Skoda Octavia, while the Ford Focus is a good alternative that's a little more enjoyable to drive. Alternatively, premium contenders like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class will all feel a bit more special but won't cost a great deal more to run.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Which is better, the Audi A1 or Mercedes-Benz A-Class?
"I’m retiring soon and wish to treat myself and buy a nearly-new petrol, manual car. Bearing in mind servicing cost, depreciation and resale - should I buy an Audi A1 Sportback or a Mercedes A180? Thanks."
Both are good choices. It depends on your requirements, really. The Audi A1 is smaller and will be more suited to city driving, while the bigger A-Class will feel more suited to long motorway journeys. As a comfortable car for your retirement, we'd recommend the A-Class.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can I choose where my car is repaired when I make a claim?
"I damaged my 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class and unfortunately I had to initiate an insurance claim via my insurer. I was keen to get the car repaired at the local main dealer but my insurer said this would then need them to get an assessor to validate the claim and could slow the repairs. They suggested it was sent to their preferred repairers. It took a week for the car to be collected and has now been with them for over a month awaiting parts and there is no end repair date other than a regular text message saying waiting for parts. In the meantime, my insurer provided a hire car which was unfortunately not suitable due to its size and I'm having to pay £7 per day for an alternative automatic. Is there anything I can do on the basis if my car cannot be repaired due to the unavailability of parts?"
You always have the right to choose where your car is repaired, I would have insisted it go to your Mercedes approved repairer. Regretfully, there is not much you can do about the non availability of parts as that's not the insurer or repairers fault, it is largely down to Covid. Unless you paid for a guaranteed hire car, you are certainly not entitled like for like. All you can do at this time is be patient. Hard to hear, I know, but things are not normal currently and that has to be factored in. You can raise a complaint with the insurer, and advise you feel you were steered into using their repairer and wish you had chosen your own repairer. If the car cannot be repaired due to non availability or parts, your insurer "could" provide you with a "cash in lieu" of repair to fulfil their contract. This would leave you with a car unrepaired and no parts to repair it, but the insurer WILL have fulfilled it's contract. I suggest caution on your part.
Answered by Tim Kelly
We have to choose a company car. Would you go diesel or electric?
"My wife has to choose a company car - a Mercedes-Benz A-Class 180d Sport or a Kia E-Niro. Interior and luggage space is not a consideration. She has not driven either and claims not to care much about such things, but likes the A-Class aesthetics and dislikes the Kia's looks. She drives up to 20,000 miles a year, but no trip is over 200 miles. Which car do you think most people would be happier in over two years?"
I'd go with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It's a stylish hatchback with a fantastic interior. The 180d will easily cope with the 20,000 miles a year and the A-Class is much more refined than the Kia on the motorway with less road and engine noise.
Answered by Dan Powell

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

Buy new from £46,521 (list price from £51,235)