I must admit that I have never been a great lover of the Mercedes-Benz Class A, at least until now. Although interesting design, and my attractive taste, once you got behind the wheel you discovered that neither were as solid as one expected from a model of the famous German brand nor its interior was up to it. Come on, that except for appearance did not fall in love, precisely.
Now there is a new generation of the Mercedes-Benz Class A on the market, which by the way we already drove in a first contact, and it is the turn to test it more thoroughly to discover if this evolution of the Mercedes-Benz compact really means or not the necessary step forward.
Although very in line with its predecessor in terms of general forms, and therefore also quite attractive (although in the end it is a matter of taste) this Class A 2018 stands out above all for the new headlights, which give the model a renewed look, sharper and in my opinion also more seductive.
The back is perhaps the one that provokes more disparity of opinions. That if it looks like other models, if it has an Asian look … The only downside that I find are the false escape exits – they are embellishments – that are so fashionable in an infinity of models, and that I see totally unnecessary.
The best is always inside
For many the main problem of the outgoing Class A was precisely the interior, both for the design and the quality of materials and finishes. Bad adjustments, crickets, etc … I was not up to what should be a Benz with all the letters, and in this new generation have been remedied, fortunately.
In fact, the Class A 2018 passenger compartment is probably the best of the model. The stepped design of the dashboard is maintained, but everything looks a lot more careful and, in general, a more premium and quality environment is breathed. The upper plastics are rubbery and can be ordered, for example, open pore wood moldings or authentic polished aluminum, as in upper segments, among other interesting materials.
It is true that there is also some shocking detail, such as the simple and plastic that are the controls for window regulators, to highlight something, but the important thing is that it is an infinitely better interior than the previous one, and is just what was expected from This model, because it was crying out for a cabin at the height of the brand. I would even say that it exceeds expectations.
I also did not like the detail of finding only Type C USB sockets, since I could not even charge my mobile phone have normal USB cable. Fortunately, Bluetooth supports music streaming through the smartphone, and I was able to listen to my music without having to connect the cable phone.
On the other hand, the digitization in this case is here to stay, and is that since the version of access to the range are incorporated two digital screens (7-inch series both), which act as an instrument panel and multimedia display. An intermediate option combines a 7-inch screen with another 10.25-inch screen, while the top-end has two 10.25-inch screens.
The instrument panel has three different designs (Modern Classic, Sport and Understated), but above all, each watch allows to change the information shown (using the touch controls of the steering wheel), so that in the table we can see, for example, simply information of consumption and the navigator map, without lap counter or speedometer. There are endless possibilities to configure what information we want the table to show, totally to the liking of the driver.
Special mention deserves the steering wheel, which at least in the tested version (line AMG Line) is worthy of superior segments and is spectacular in a compact model. As we already knew, this steering wheel inherits it from the S-Class, and has metal moldings and keypads that give it a sublime look and feel. In addition, it incorporates touch controls (one to control each screen) and a lot of useful controls. In this sense, a ten.
What is not standard, yes, is the augmented reality for the navigation system (346 dollarss), something very interesting and I really wanted to try (after listening to opinions of colleagues who were in the presentation, and after having I saw some images about it) but that this unit in question did not equip.
In terms of habitability, the rear seats are ideal for two adults, but the central square is more for a rush or for children. In any case, the space for the legs is correct (there are several centimeters left for a person of 1.80 meters in height, with the front seat adjusted for someone of the same size) and so is the head, although less generous.
Finally, it should be noted that the trunk has grown in this generation, now reaching the 370 liters capacity (1,210 maximum, with the rear seats folded down -40: 20: 40 and with trapdoor that connects trunk and passenger compartment) and being located by both halfway between its two main rivals, the BMW 1 Series (360 liters) and the Audi A3 (380 liters).
A more solid and efficient model
After one of the most important aspects that needed change, which is the interior, we arrived at another fundamental point, that of driving. Here Class A also required a repository, and the truth is that they have given it. Now the model is much more solid than before. More car, as they say.
When I speak of solidity I mean the sense of strength and robustness that the car transmits when driving it, when facing potholes, etc … And in this sense the Class A seems to me much superior to its predecessor, which was not as good as it should be. Initially have been in this aspect. A great fault of the previous, solved at a stroke.
Once underway and when we started to face curves, the precision and aplomb offered by this new Class A, the ease with which it changes direction and, in general, how satisfying it is to drive it, is striking. In addition, it is surprising the distance of the adhesion limit (the tires are Bridgestone Turanza in dimensions 225/45 R18), since to find understeer we will have to force a lot the speed of entry to the corners.
In the changes of support is especially good, since it does not lose composure at any time. To the ability of grip is added a rear train that goes very well attached to the asphalt and that does not move from the site even when we try to provoke it. Maybe fun is not your strong point, but efficiency is.
The model gives a feeling of being well soundproofed, but it is not outstanding in this regard either (at 120 km / h there is aerodynamic noise in the passenger compartment and also some rolling). What does call attention, for good, is the comfort of the suspension, which allows you to binge for kilometers without major problem and also enjoy curved areas when appropriate.
The gasoline engine of the A 200, which is a 1.3-liter four-cylinder turbo, offers an output of 163 hp at 5500 rpm and a maximum torque of 250 Nm from just 1,620 laps. In practice, the car accelerates briskly and moves with surprising ease. Of course it has more than enough strength to enjoy driving and for most situations.
Where it does not shine so much this propeller is in refinement, since it is something sonorous and, in addition, from the half of the cuentavueltas the sound is not especially interesting, reason why it does not invite you to raise it too much of revolutions (although it rubs the 6500 rpm).
On the other hand, the comfort that facilitates an automatic change when moving around town, for example, is somewhat overshadowed by the abruptness of this double clutch when maneuvering at low speeds. Let’s say you have to get used to the way the car responds, since the response to the accelerator is not as precise as we would like (with little gas, there is hardly any response and with a little more gas the response is too much alive).
And … how about this 1.3 liters in terms of consumption? During our test, in which we traveled a little over 550 kilometers in almost a total of 10 hours behind the wheel, we obtained an average of around 8 liters per hundred kilometers, driving mainly on secondary roads. In a motorway, that figure could only be reduced by one liter without difficulty, although in sports driving, riding 10 liters is also easy.
As you know, this Class A incorporates the latest technology in the German house, which includes the MBUX and the voice recognition system Hey Mercedes! u Hello Mercedes!.
Basically, it is a Siri-style system, capable of answering our questions and even acting on some car system at our request. To activate the recognition just need to say “Hello Mercedes” or simply “Mercedes” (also works), at which time the car will ask us what we need (on screen) and respond loudly: “Yes?”
If we have cold or heat, for example, we can ask the car to change the temperature of the air conditioner, saying simply “I’m cold” or “I’m hot”, but the functions are many more. You can also, for example, ask about the outside temperature or include a destination in the browser, but without the need for complicated voice commands. “I want to go to …” is enough for the car to fix the destination in this well-known location, and the same happens if we want to call a contact on our agenda, for example.
Standard equipment and prices
All versions of the Class A range include standard equipment such as the MBUX multimedia system, keyless access and start, driving mode selector (Dynamic Select), reversing camera, active lane change detector, rain sensor or LTE connectivity module (for Mercedes me connect services).
In addition, the so-called Progressive line includes high-performance LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, diamond-effect grille, low-cut comfort undercarriage, comfort seats, automatic climate control, carbon-effect trim, chrome accents, upholstery in imitation leather Arctic and fabric, black covered ceiling, etc …
Among the most interesting options include driving assistants as Distronic adaptive cruise control (within the package “assistance to driving”) or dead angle control (622 dollars), as well as the 360 degree camera, heated seats (402 dollars) or with lumbar support, the glass sliding roof (1,289 dollars), the Head-Up Display (1,244 dollars), the hard disk navigator or a myriad of tapestries, rims and decorative moldings, for example.
A few days ago announced the base price for the most affordable version, the A 180 gasoline engine with 1.33 liters and 136 hp, which starts of 28,800 dollars. Even so, it is slightly more expensive than its two main competitors, the aforementioned Series 1 and A3.