Mercedes-Benz A Class variants
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Mercedes A-Class (A35) review – is it better than an Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series?

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Total cash price £32,999. Borrowing £26,399 with a £6,600 deposit at a representative APR of 12.9%.

49 monthly payments
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6000 miles

Mercedes A-Class buying guide

Sharply designed, great to drive and practical for families, a used Mercedes A-Class has something to offer everyone. The mini Merc’s real USP is bringing big-car quality to hatchback interiors. Just look at the latest generation’s slick digital displays, metal-plated switchgear and air vents like jet engines – it’s properly premium.

What Mercedes A-Class trim levels are there?

The current A-Class (2018-onwards) trim levels kick off with SE and move up through Sport, Sport Executive Edition, and then the AMG Line versions, which bring more sporting flair to the mainstream A-Class models. Pay attention, though, because there are several of these AMG-style versions, including AMG Line Edition, AMG Line Premium Edition, AMG Line Executive Edition, and AMG Line Premium Plus Edition.

SE comes with plenty of kit, such as cruise control, sat nav, keyless start, auto lights and alloy wheels. There are also two crisp screens for the driver to use, but note that parking sensors or a reversing camera weren’t necessarily fitted as standard.

Sport adds bigger alloy wheels plus upgraded headlights and tail-lights, helping to give the A-Class a smarter appearance. Sport Executive Edition changes the look of the alloy wheels and adds desirable features like a bigger touchscreen, leather upholstery, separate air con controls for the driver and passenger, and heated seats.

AMG Line cars are popular for their sporty looks – spot the starry grille, deeper air vents and grey alloy wheels. Inside, there’s red stitching and silver touchpads on the steering wheel. The seats are more supportive for fast cornering. Standard AMG Line cars come with a similar level of equipment to the Sport model – you’ll need to look for AMG Line Executive, AMG Line Premium or AMG Line Premium Plus for a more luxurious equipment list and bigger screens.

Used Mercedes A-Class hot hatches come in two temperatures, namely the piping hot A35 AMG (latest generation only) or absolutely scorching A45 S AMG, which debuted in the previous-generation A-Class but has become even more serious for the new one. All these AMG variants get a dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive. You also get a chrome two-bar grille, a big spoiler and gaping exhaust pipes. Confusingly, though, you still need to upgrade to the A35 Executive for the bigger screens and extra ambient lighting.

Mercedes A-Class interior and technology

While the 2012-2018 A-Class marked a big push upmarket and had a touchscreen as standard, the latest model teleports tech to the next level with the MBUX infotainment system, which originally debuted in the ultra-luxurious S-Class.

MBUX is available across the A-Class range, and replaces traditional analogue dials with a seven-inch digital instrument display that runs seamlessly into another seven-inch touchscreen for infotainment functions (upgrading to 10.25-inch on the Executive editions). Having the bigger screens certainly fills the space better, but the smaller screen still features all the functions you might want.

If you’re upgrading from a less premium brand than Mercedes, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the interior quality. All the materials are top-notch, from the man-made Artico leather to the metal switches.

Compared to the last A-Class, there’s more space in the rear seats of the latest one. Your friends won’t feel as cramped in the current car, although the sports seats in AMG Line editions reduce visibility for those in the back. The A-Class has a slightly smaller boot than many similarly sized hatchbacks – but it’ll still be big enough unless you’re planning to buy most of Ikea. Note that the plug-in hybrid offers a bit less space (310 litres versus 355 in the petrols) because of where the batteries are placed.

Mercedes A-Class engine range explained

With a range of petrol and diesel engines, plus a plug-in hybrid and two fire-breathing AMG editions, there’s an engine in the A-Class to suit every buyer.

(Most popular!) Mercedes A-Class A180 petrol

The A-Class engine range kicks off with the A180. This engine, a turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol with 136hp, is plenty for a car of this size. It offers nippy acceleration and the best fuel economy figures of any purely petrol A-Class, with up to 47mpg quoted by Mercedes. A few years ago, that would have been good for a diesel engine.

Mercedes A-Class A200 petrol

The A200 has the same 1.3-litre petrol engine, but tuned slightly differently to produce 163hp. As such, it’s a little quicker off the line, yet still returns over 45mpg if you drive carefully. The 1.3-litre engine is a little coarse when you put your foot down, but is a good all-rounder for town driving and longer trips. Both the A180 and A200 have previously been available with a manual gearbox, although newer cars are automatic-only.

Mercedes A-Class A250 petrol

With a 224hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, the A250 is the fastest petrol A-Class this side of the AMG range-toppers. The A250 has a more refined engine than the lower-powered versions, and it offers a refined and powerful drive. It might be able to outsprint the VW Golf GTI hot hatch, but don’t think of the A250 as a racetrack-muncher. The A250 is a comparatively rare engine and has recently been withdrawn.

Mercedes A-Class A180d diesel

Diesel still plays a big part in the Mercedes A-Class lineup, and Mercedes’ diesel engines are great choices for high-mileage drivers. The most economical is the 1.5-litre A180d, which is said to manage over 65mpg at a steady cruise. With 116hp, it’s not hair-raisingly quick, but the performance on offer is perfectly adequate.

Mercedes A-Class A200d diesel

The A200d diesel has a 2.0-litre diesel engine with 150hp, exactly matching the BMW 1 Series 118d and Audi A3 35 TDI. It isn’t much less economical than the A180d, yet knocks 2.5 seconds off the acceleration time (8.1 seconds versus 10.6 in the A180d) for a much nippier feel.

Mercedes A-Class A220d diesel

Mercedes’ most powerful diesel A-Class is the A220d. It uses the same 2.0-litre engine as the A200d but boosts power to 190hp for an even brisker seven-second 0-62mph time. Most buyers find that the A200d is enough for their needs, so the A220d is another uncommon choice.

Mercedes A-Class A250e plug-in hybrid

Mercedes also offers a plug-in hybrid A-Class for the first time. Badged A250e, this version uses the same 1.3-litre petrol engine as the A200, but paired with an electric motor for a total output of 218hp. But with a 10.6kWh battery also on-board, the A-Class PHEV can drive up to 44 miles on electric power and officially returns up to 250mpg. Used as intended – with regular charging – it can knock a considerable amount off your monthly fuel bills.

Mercedes A-Class A35 AMG

If speed is a higher priority than saving fuel, you’ll want to look at the range-topping Mercedes-AMG A35 and A45 S versions. The A35 is new for this generation and is the lower-powered hot hatch, leaving the A45 S to compete with sports cars and supercars for pace. The A35’s 2.0-litre petrol engine produces 306hp, and grippy four-wheel drive enables all-weather confidence and rapid off-the-line speed.

Mercedes A-Class A45 S AMG petrol

Currently the most powerful hot hatchback you can buy, the Mercedes-AMG A45 S is in a totally different league to the A35. Power stands at 421hp, and it’s one of the fastest-accelerating cars you can buy without spending Ferrari money. Obviously, insurance is expensive and fuel economy is a long way down the priority list, but you do get the A-Class’ spacious cabin and state-of-the-art dashboard.

Your Mercedes A-Class questions answered

While the vast majority of used Mercedes A-Class cars are sold as a five-door hatchback, you will occasionally find the saloon version. It’s well worth checking out – just don’t confuse it with the really quite similar Mercedes CLA!

The Mercedes A-Class is a little over 4.4m long and 1.4m tall, meaning it’s marginally bigger than a BMW 1 Series but compact enough to easily slot into a tight parking space. It’s more spacious than the previous-generation A-Class, and is big enough to fit a pram or holiday luggage.

The Mercedes A-Class isn’t immune from electrical glitches or minor problems, but most cars will prove to be utterly dependable. For ultimate peace of mind, consider an extended warranty if you’re buying a slightly older A-Class.

The A-Class may prove to be more expensive to maintain than something like a Ford Focus, but servicing costs shouldn’t be extortionate. Mercedes offers a service plan to let you pay for multiple services upfront or over a set number of months, which will save you money compared to not having a service plan.