Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2012 – 2018) Review

Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2012 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Classy in every way, the Mercedes A-Class is a great small hatchback that comes with lots of equipment and delivers plenty of comfort.

+High-quality interior. Strong diesels. Good record for reliability. Option of four-wheel drive.

-Handling not up to BMW 1 Series. Suspension fairly firm. Not as roomy as the biggest in the class.

Insurance Groups are between 13–33
On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure

It might have been a more conventional small hatch than the sandwich-floored previous Mercedes A-Class models, but this car brought more sophisticated looks and equipment. The diesel engines are notably frugal and you can also have this Mercedes A-Class with four-wheel drive for added all-weather ability. Downsides are few, although limited rear headroom is one of them, and it’s not as crisp to drive as a BMW 1 Series. Read on for our full Mercedes A-Class review.

After two incarnations of sandwich-floor mini-MPV, it was decided that the Mercedes A-Class should 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 of the same period. The Mercedes B-Class retained the mini-MPV design for those who wanted it.

The more purposeful look wasn’t all for show, though. Mercedes put considerable effort into ensuring the body is stiff. This improves cornering and agility, providing a more engaging drive, and makes it safer in a crash.

Refinements to the suspension and steering were made with the aim of offering an involving, fun car. It’s effective – the Mercedes A-Class can be driven at speed with confidence.

While the shape of the car was a radical departure back to the class norm, that doesn’t mean it’s impractical for those buying used.

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 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. There’s also a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.

Enthusiastic drivers will go for the A250 ‘Engineered by AMG’ model which can accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds.  

Read our review of the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class here.

Ask Honest John

My daughter bought a car with sat nav but it's missing the SD card, can I ask the dealer to pay for this?

"My daughter has bought a secondhand Mercedes A-Class and subsequently discovered there is no SD card for the sat nav. Does she have any rights for the garage seller to pick this cost up? What kind of cost would it be please?"
We would expect the SD card for the sat nav to be included with the car, but the fact that it was not there is potentially just an oversight by the dealership and not necessarily something they would have picked up on. You could approach the dealer about this matter, but we would not necessarily expect them to pick up the cost for this. There are available online from multiple retailers for anything from £30 to £50 depending on the specification of your car.
Answered by David Ross

Is it worth paying more for premium diesel?

"I have tried using premium diesel, in my 69 Reg Mercedes-Benz A-Class AMG Line Premium. It works out expensive compared to ordinary diesel, even after taking into account the marginal increase in MPG. Would more frequent use of diesel treatments, like Forte, which is used at every service, give smoother and better fuel economy at lesser expense than premium diesel? I clock anything up to 15,000 miles annually. "
Premium diesel doesn't actually boost the octane rating like premium petrol, so the economy benefit will be slight (if at all). Its main benefit is keeping fuel systems clean of soot deposits, but as you already use it regularly and the car is quite new this is unlikely to be a big issue. Diesel treatments again are largely focused on cleaning. If the cost is an issue then we'd alternate tanks between regular and premium diesel.
Answered by Lawrence Allan

Should I continue to have my car serviced by the dealer?

"I have a 2015 Mercedes-Benz A-Class with 10,000 miles, which has been serviced at a Mercedes dealership. Would you recommend I continue dealership servicing? My service plan has expired, should I pay annually or take out another plan? Thank you."
A premium car like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class will always be more desirable when it is sold with a full dealer service history than one without. That said, if you plan to keep the car for the long term then you may prefer to save money and have it serviced outside of the dealer network. There are some excellent independent Mercedes-Benz specialists out there. And the quality of the work will be just as good as the dealer and a lot cheaper. The only drawback will be the fact your car may miss out on updates that are usually applied by the dealer during the annual service.
Answered by Dan Powell

My car isn't reliable and keeps refusing to start. Can I get my money back?

"I got my car - a 2015 Mercedes A-Class - at the end of January. Twice it’s been recovered from my drive as it wouldn’t start. The dealer I got it from is saying it’s a software update that needed doing that’s why it wouldn’t start the second time. I don’t understand how a software update will stop your car from starting! I’ve had a warning Light on saying “without changing gear consult workshop". Where do I stand? Can I ask for my money back? The dealer has covered the cost of everything so far but I have lost all faith and it’s not reliable."
If the dealer is unable to fix the car then you may be entitled to a refund, minus a fair deduction for the usage you've already had from the vehicle. However, given that these deductions can be quite expensive, it may be better to work with the dealer to find a solution. Personally, I would return the vehicle and ask them to replace it with another 2015 A-Class in similar spec. For your legal rights, see:
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2012 – 2018) cost?