This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

If you're used to larger Mercedes saloons, the A-Class may come as a surprise. It's far from premium - either in feel or appearance - and lacks the luxurious feel you expect from the German make. Build quality is good, but it's robust rather than inviting. The high seating position means visibility is good, but the driving position is poor with no reach adjustment on the steering wheel - almost unbelievable in a car with a price tag of at least £14,000.

On the plus side the dials are clear and easy to read while the stereo and ventilation controls are straightforward to use.

Thanks to its tall shape, the A-Class feels spacious with excellent head and legroom. However the edge is taken off comfort by the poor ride which fidgets over uneven surfaces and struggles to iron out potholes. There's also considerable wind noise at speed and many of the engines sound intrusive. The smaller petrols have to be revved hard - and don't sound very pleasant as a result - while the diesels are just plain noisy.

Rear space is decent, although the three door model feels claustrophobic in the back, while the seats are comfortable if a little firm.