This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback review.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: 3.2 out of 5 3.2
  • Looks stylish but quality disappoints
  • Ergonomically-arranged controls
  • Easy to attain a good driving position

Because it’s a Mercedes-Benz you will have high expectations of an expensive-feeling interior, but when you look at some of the hard plastics that are not in your immediate line of sight, disappoint follows.

The circular air vents look classy and the curvature of the surfaces looks intriguing, but the overall environment isn’t as pleasing as the Audi A3 Sportback or even the button-laden Volvo V40. That said, the A-Class is extremely well thought-out in terms of layout and ergonomics, although Mercedes’ characteristic left-hand column stalk controlling indicators, lights and wipers is a faff until you’ve learned how to operate it instinctively.

It’s similar to most other Mercedes models with a floating multimedia screen on top of the dashboard. A central dial between the front seats allows you to scroll between the sat-nav and entertainment menus, and although this multimedia system has got plenty of functionality, it can be a little distracting and confusing.

We’re not overly fond of the electric parking brake, because you push it to apply the brake and pull it to release it which is counter to the operation on a normal mechanical handbrake.

Borrowing many parts from the regular A-Class, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 is a familiar place to be. Of course, it does feel far sportier than your common-or-garden Mercedes hatchback. There are coloured bezels for the vents and obviously those sports seats mark this out as something pretty special.

  • Pre-2015 models have firmer ride quality
  • Diesels are noisy at lower speeds
  • A 45 is a very stiff performance hatch

Comfort has never been a particularly strong suit of this generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class, particularly in terms of its ride quality, but other areas niggle, too.

Compared with most rivals, the diesel engines are particularly clattery, the saving grace being that at motorway speeds they settle down to a background thrum and don’t sound especially intrusive. Choose the petrol versions for a quieter experience all-round.

Road noise is well-contained but you do get a little bit of wind noise from the windscreen pillars when you get around the 70mph mark.

The seats are comfortable and well bolstered, and the wide range of adjustment on the steering and driver’s seat means you can get a good driving position whatever your size.

Legroom in the back seats isn’t particularly impressive so those over six foot tall might feel a little cramped with limited headroom, too.

Ride quality was poor on earlier models, especially when fitted with sports suspension, but following the 2015 facelift, this was remedied to a degree. It’s still not as comfortable in an A-Class as it is in VW’s Golf, but it’s far more tolerable than it once was.

Very stiff Mercedes-AMG A 45

Although it has some extremely comfortable and supportive seats, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 AMG isn’t a car you’d buy to be cosseted in. The problem is the ride, which is what we’d generously call “firm”. In fact, it’s downright jolty on anything other than glass-smooth roads. Get it onto a race track, however, and it really comes into its own.

Road and tyre noise seem like silly things to pick out for the A 45 since that engine roar dominates any aural aspects of the car.

There’s a choice of two suspension systems – an AMG Sports Suspension and AMG Performance Suspension. The former is slightly softer, but not by a huge amount. Following the facelift in 2015 the cabin got slightly quieter thanks to improved aerodynamics.