Our Fleet Test Drive: Mercedes A-Class - 1st Drive
10 December 2013
Author: Guy Bird
|Mileage:|| 7774 miles|
|Claimed combined consumption:|| 65.7mpg|
|Our average consumption:|| 48.7mpg|
|Forecast CPM:|| 51.3p|
|Actual CPM:|| 52.7p |
|Why we're running it:|| To see if the new A-class can beat Audi or BMW|
Now comes the big test.
We've driven the A-class on smooth continental tarmac in sunny locales for a few days, but for the next six months we'll be living with it on the UK's pot-holed roads to see if it can steal sales from younger drivers who might otherwise choose the Audi A3, BMW 1-series, top-end VW Golfs plus the new Volvo V40.
In an image-driven market, its exterior appearance is a great start . Visually dynamic from all angles, it looks and feels suitably low-slung where the older A-class was high-sided. None of its rivals stand out more. The interior is also a very smart place with sleek black sports seats and brushed aluminium accents - especially the cool jet-style air vents - collectively creating a sophisticated yet calm space .
Interior room is compromised by the sportier exterior proportions, though, with noticeably smaller rear door and boot apertures , reducing headroom for 6ft-plus passengers and creating only average boot space, better than the V40 but worse than the A3 and 1-series.
But the engine we've chosen should be ideal. Our 136hp 1.8-litre A200 CDI auto is punchy, easy to use and still offers 114g/km and 65.7mpg, meaning no first-year VED and a 17% BIK rate for 2013/14. On our first mixed-use drive we managed 48mpg without effort.
Sport spec includes two excellent standard safety items: Collision Prevention Assist - which warns drivers of impending accidents and primes Brake Assist for maximum braking when the driver does react - plus Attention Assist to monitor signs of driver tiredness and alert as necessary.
You also get Bluetooth and natty two-tone alloys for the initial £24,745, but in order to sample the full breadth of the range's offering, this car has been loaded to the rafters with £12,460 of extras by Mercedes, including the £2100 Comand Online system featuring a bigger seven-inch tablet-style screen and colour satnav plus a £1430 intelligent lighting system with headlights that 'see round' corners.
Bumping up the price to a whopping £37,205, at least we'll get the chance to test a wide variety of kit on one car, so we can report back on the bits we'd keep and others that you would be able to do without.
- Great looks, competitive tax
- Low standard spec, small interior space