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Mercedes A-Class interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

It’s easy to get comfortable in the A-Class, with a good range of movement in the seat and steering wheel, which has both reach and rake adjustment. The seats in the front look and feel nice but could do with both a little more side bolstering and lumbar support – the seats in a Ford Focus are noticeably more comfortable on a long drive. In the back, the seats are fairly hard and upright, despite being trimmed in nice-quality materials, so aren’t the best place to while away long journeys.

There are only a handful of physical controls on the dash for the climate control and a few on the centre console for the infotainment system, so it doesn’t take long to get to grips with the cabin’s main functions. That said, the steering wheel is cluttered with buttons, and it’s not always obvious what functions the touchpads on either side control.

Visibility is average for the class. Your view out the front and sides isn’t substantially obstructed by the car’s pillars but, like so many rivals in this class, over-the-shoulder visibility is compromised by thick pillars behind the side windows. A reversing camera is standard across the range, while parking sensors are also fitted to most models.

Standard equipment

When the current A-Class first launched, there were three trim levels – SE, Sport and AMG Line – complemented by a choice of three main options packs – Executive, Premium and Premium Plus.

SE is the entry point to the A-Class range. You get 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, part-faux-leather upholstery, air conditioning and cruise control. There’s also the basic infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth and a built-in sat nav. This trim was discontinued around 2021, with newer A-Classes all coming in Sport trim or higher.

Sport ups the ante with 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, a sportier steering wheel and two-zone climate control.

AMG Line sits at the top of the range and mimics the look of the full-fat AMG high-performance options. You’ll find five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels that look similar to true AMG versions, along with an aggressive AMG bodykit. There's also a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel and upholstery using both faux-leather and artificial suede.

Once you've chosen your trim, you can choose an options pack to go with it. Executive pack – which is now standard on the most recent A-Class model years – includes automatic parking and all-round parking sensors, a larger central infotainment screen, heated front seats and electrically folding side mirrors.

Next up is the Premium pack, which can be specced on Sport trim and higher. This gains a larger driver's screen to match the larger centre screen, adjustable ambient interior lighting, an upgraded stereo and a rear armrest.

Finally, the Premium Plus package adds electrically adjustable front seats, posh adaptive LED headlights and an openable panoramic glass roof.

We reckon the sweet spot in the range is cars fitted with the Premium pack – which means Sport Premium or AMG Line Premium. You get the largest screens complemented by ambient lighting, which really help to lift the interior above lesser versions.

Infotainment and audio

There’s a total of three different infotainment setups available in the A-Class – all fitted to the same ‘pod’ unit mounted on top of the dashboard. The basic version has a pair of seven-inch screens. With thick bezels and, on cars before 2021, no standard-fit Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, this setup feels a little lacklustre.

Cars with the Executive pack swap the central screen out for a larger 10.25-inch unit, which means there’s more space available and clearer on-screen buttons that are easier to hit with your finger. We prefer the setup in the Premium pack, however, which gets a pair of 10.25-inch screens giving it a more contemporary look. All versions include a trackpad in the centre console that lets you adjust the system and input sat nav destinations without using the touchscreen – a nice touch considering many rivals have eliminated this feature.

There’s nothing wrong with the entry-level stereo, but the upgraded system in cars with the Premium pack brings a little more bass and sparkle to the sound. You can have a posh Burmester stereo on AMG versions, which will keep audiophiles happy.

Rear seat space

Passenger room in the back of the A-Class is one of its weaker areas. It’s a little smaller than a BMW 1 Series and, while being a similar size to an Audi A3, the curved roofline means smaller side windows and a more claustrophobic experience. Tall adults can sit in the back behind similarly sized front passengers, but there’ll be next to no spare legroom in which to stretch out.

There are Isofix mounts on the two outer rear seats, but you’ll find you have to bend over quite far to secure your kids in place because of the low, swoopy roofline. Thankfully, the rear doors do open wide to make entry a little easier.

Boot space

If you’re only using your A-Class for typical day-to-day driving tasks, the 350-litre boot should be more than enough, swallowing a couple of suitcases or the weekly shop with ease. However, larger items such as a pushchair or bicycle will probably need the rear seats folded to fit.

You gain 45 litres of space in the A-Class saloon but the smaller opening means it’s harder to get awkwardly shaped items loaded. You also lose around 50 litres of boot space if you choose the plug-in hybrid A250e due to the large battery pack under the floor.

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