3.9 out of 5 3.9
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Tech-filled premium hatchback can challenge the best

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback (18 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £23,755 - £44,795
Lease from new From £271 p/m View lease deals
Used price £12,750 - £35,910
Used monthly cost From £318 per month
Fuel Economy 33.2 - 256.8 mpg
Road tax cost £140 - £475
Insurance group 17 - 37 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Striking interior design
  • Impressive petrol economy
  • Refined and punchy diesel engines
  • High-tech features
  • Sleek exterior looks

CONS

  • Some cabin quality concerns
  • AMG Line models could ride more smoothly
  • Some practicality and visibility issues
  • Not quite as good as the BMW 1 Series
  • Tendency to feel a bit hyperactive

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback rivals

Written by Keith Adams on

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class may be the smallest model in the German manufacturer's model range, but it's very much cast from the same mould as its larger siblings. Sporting a shark-like front end, sleek exterior design and an outstandingly-modern interior, plus that powerful Mercedes image, there's no wonder it's such a popular choice for family hatchback buyers. With a wide variety of engines and trims, it sits at the top of many car buyers' shopping lists.

The A-Class faces stiff competition from the Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1 Series when it comes to fighting for the overall best premium hatchback crown. But Mercedes has packed a vast array of advanced technology inside this car - some you won't even find in the top-end S-Class luxury saloon just yet - and it will certainly appeal to punters who want to feel like they're getting something different and new.

However, it's not just BMW and Audi it needs to see off, as there are some excellent family hatchbacks from brands that are considered less premium and more mainstream. Anyone shopping for this kind of car would do well to check out the tech-laden Volkswagen Golf, for example, not to mention the popular and extremely accomplished Ford Focus.

Impressive interior tech is a highlight

The A-Class plays the baby Benz card more than ever, with a raft of high-tech equipment. Though much of it is optional and pricey, this makes the cabin generally feel more upmarket than you’d expect for a car of this size, and the interior design is exceptionally eye-catching.

The latest MBUX infotainment system impresses with bright screens for the dials and the media system, but it's worth noting that the standard set-up features two smaller 7.0-inch screens that look a little lost in the dashboard. If you want the most advanced 10.25-inch screen configuration, you'll need to dip into the options list and pay extra.

The interior is dominated by the dual screen set-up, and these control almost all of the car's auxiliary functions. Controlling all this is a choice of touchpad, touchscreen or a new voice control system, which is one of the best in the business. At launch this was more advanced than the infotainment systems than found in the E-Class and S-Class.

There's an A-Class for everyone

The A-Class is available in a wide choice of engines and trim levels to ensure that just about every possible buyer is catered for. The entry point is the SE model, which is reasonably well-equipped (cruise control and a suite of advanced safety systems are the highlights), but to get more standard equipment – and flashy looks – you need to head for the Sport and AMG Line cars. A vast options list completes the personalisation process.

In terms of power units, diesel starts with the 116hp A 180 d, followed by the popular 150hp A 200 d filling the mid-range, and the 190hp A 220 d topping the lot. Petrol buyers can pick from the 136hp A 180, 163hp A 200 and 190hp A 250. Then there are hybrid and two Mercedes-AMG hot-hatch models on top of that.

Petrol hybrid A 250 e, Mercedes-AMG A 35 and A 45

The most recent addition to the range is the A 250 e petrol plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). As with all PHEVs, this one has the potential for some impressive fuel economy – but only if you keep it charged up, thanks to its claimed 44-mile pure-electric driving range. With 218hp, a 6.2-second 0-62mph time and 149mph maximum speed, this might be an eco-friendly model but it's also the most powerful A-Class short of the AMG versions. It promises huge tax savings for company car drivers.

As for those AMG models, the Mercedes-AMG A 35 is a 306hp, all-wheel drive hot-hatch every bit as quick as its hottest rivals from Honda, BMW and Audi, with 0-62mph taking just 4.7 seconds and top speed rated at 155mph, while the 420hp Mercedes-AMG A 45 is an absolute animal with the most powerful four-cylinder engine of any production car, and detailed in our separate A 45 AMG review.

So, the A-Class comes in a considerable variety of different types. In the market for a posh-hatch? Then read on.

Dealwatch special

Our leasing partner, ZenAuto is offering Mercedes A-Class from £271 per month. The usual terms and conditions apply.

View deal

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback rivals

Other Mercedes-Benz A-Class models: