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

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.

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Ask Honest John

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
Which automatic car is best for a disabled driver?
"Due to a leg injury, I find it hard to use a clutch efficiently. I have a loss of feeling in my leg which makes it hard to gauge the bite when driving. Like many with injuries or disabilities, a manual is no longer an option. I am looking for a reliable and good automatic to get around. I have started looking at the Mercedes-Benz A-Class CVT and Ford Fiesta automatic. These have generally good feedback and I can find several for around £6000 with 70,000 miles on the clock. Do you know of any major issues with these models? Do the gear boxes last? Do they suffer any major rust issues? "
Nice to drive, but such serious issues with Fiesta PowerShift clutch packs that Ford is being ordered to buy the cars back in some countries. See: Old model A Class CVT here:
Answered by Honest John
Mercedes A-Class driveshaft issue
"My 38-month A-Class, two months out of warranty and 39000 on the clock, has been diagnosed with driveshaft failure. Last month, the nearside front brake calliper failed, so the front brakes had to be replaced. There isn't a driveshaft available in Europe to repair it, and until I place an order which then cannot be cancelled, I will not be given an ETA for delivery of the part. I am inclined to get shot of it rather than repair, is this a good idea or not?"
This situation is sufficiently ridiculous for me to take it up with Mercedes Benz. Please can you give me your permission to do so, plus your full name and address and the registration and full details of the car. Also, who replaced the brake calliper? If it was not an MB dealer then it's possible that something they did disturbed the hub and driveshaft and led to the failure.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

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