Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2005 – 2012) Review

Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2005 – 2012) At A Glance


+Much better execution of original A-Class concept. Feels far higher quality, especially inside. Easy to park.

-Not 'special' to drive. Smaller petrol engines are underpowered. Expensive compared to the competition. Rust problem in doors emerging.

Insurance Groups are between 9–16
On average it achieves 87% of the official MPG figure

If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Mercedes-Benz A-Class review

The first big improvement of the new A Class is the feeling of heavy, Germanic solidity. There's nothing flimsy about it. The plastics are thick. The pile of the upholstery and carpeting is deep. Even the feel of the rear seats as you fold them is reassuringly over-engineered. Unlike the original, it's a proper Mercedes in miniature rather than just a small car with a Mercedes badge.

It drives and handles like a larger, heavier car too. It's quiet, refined and smooth. You could step out of an old W123 E Class or a W126 S Class into a new A Class and feel the cars were made in the same factory by the same people (even though they aren't). If you had driven a company Mercedes for the last 20 years of your working life, a new A Class would be the perfect retirement car. All the quality, without the length.

I drove to the launch in Mercedes new small trendy car, the Smart ForFour. And the contrast could not be greater. The Smart is chic and cheerful, not really a Mercedes at all. The new A Class is altogether much more grown-up.

It needs to be, because it certainly isn't cheap. Though prices start at £13,655, and that's actually a few pounds less than the old base-level A Class, the money asked soon escalates and especially if you start adding extras. The A170 Elegance 5-door is £17,305 for starters, before you add the goodies on the test car that took it up to a cool £20,345. While the A200 Avantgarde SE 3-door starts at £18,120 yet the extras on the 7-speed CVT ‘Autotronic' I drove lifted it to a jaw-dropping £26,170. Way above many C Class and even more than the cheapest E Class.

Mercedes Benz A-Class 2005 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2005 – 2012)


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


Real MPG

27–60 mpg

MPGs submitted


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.

Satisfaction Index

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Ask Honest John

Should I stick with my Mercedes or swap it for a Fiesta?

"I have a lovely 2011 Mercedes A160 Blue Efficience petrol. It has 78,000 miles and enjoy driving it. I have been offered a 2015 Ford Fiesta Titanium X, 34,000 miles, one owner, £0 road tax, much more economical, all optional extras and at a good price. The problem is that a mate has said that this is an 8 year old Ford which will very soon experience all sorts of electrical problems due to the excess of electronic extras. He says keep the solid, reliable, quality, simpler Mercedes. My garage mechanic/MOT man says he would much rather have a Fiesta in the workshop than my A160 Merc. What do you think?"
This is quite a common dilemma, and there is a reasonable argument on both sides, but the most important opinion is your own. You say your Mercedes is lovely, has only 78,000 miles and you enjoy driving it, so you need to ask yourself if you really want to change it. A known, well-maintained car that has been in your care for some time is arguably worth more than the potential reliability of something else. It is understandable that your mechanic would prefer the Ford, but this might well be because he has worked on hundreds of them because of their popularity and parts are easy to get hold of. Your Mercedes might well be more expensive to maintain, but if it is running well and has been serviced there is no reason why it cannot continue to do so for many years.
Answered by David Ross

Can you recommend an alternative to a Mercedes-Benz A-Class?

" What car is similar to a 2010 Mercedes-Benz A-Class?"
A 2010 Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Should I buy a used Mercedes-Benz A-Class as my first car?

"Would a Mercedes-Benz A-Class from circa 2005 make sense for a new driver on a budget?"
There are better first car choices. A Mercedes-Benz will be expensive to insure for a new driver - especially if they're quite young - and that generation A-Class wasn't particularly good, even when it was new. I'd look at something like a Ford Fiesta instead.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Is 7mpg normal for a 2005 Mercedes-Benz A-Class?

"I just bought a 2005 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Elegance SE automatic 134PS. So far I've done 45 miles and already used £40 of fuel. Is this normal? I drive in the city. "
No, definitely not. You should be getting better than 7 miles per gallon. Get the car checked.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2005 – 2012) cost?