Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive: Mercedes A-Class - Final Report
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Our Fleet Test Drive: Mercedes A-Class - Final Report

Date: 21 February 2014   |   Author: Guy Bird

Too few new cars have a tangible wow factor, but for the past six months it always felt special getting behind the wheel of our Mercedes A-class.

This feeling came not only from the A's shapely new hatchback exterior [1] and generally high interior quality, but because so many members of the public - especially young ones - gave the car so much respectful attention on the road in a way I didn't experience during recent UK drives of the more sedate BMW 1-series and stealthier Audi A3. 

The trio of metal-dipped interior centre vents - that felt colder and thus more metallic and high quality when the aircon was on - was a particular highlight [2] and symbolised the great fit and finish of the cabin (with the sharp and poorly finished section on the inside shoulder of the centre console the exception that proved the rule).

Interior space is slightly compromised by the sportier exterior proportions, and rear door and hatch apertures aren't class-leading for packing people and luggage in, but my young family of four never felt cramped. 

An only average 341 litres 'seats-up' boot space meant summer holiday luggage required the loan of a roof box [3], but that too was no hardship (nor did it weaken the car's kerb appeal).

The 200 CDI engine proved a decent unit, with a good balance of power versus real-world economy (42.3mpg) and was a breeze to use with steering-wheel-mounted paddles and the automatic gearbox.

It didn't hurt that our early demonstrator car was loaded with an eye-popping £12,460 of extras that brought the OTR price to £37k and some change, but to keep costs down we'd have happily lived without items like the £1430 intelligent light system, although the £2100 Comand Online system with its 7-inch tablet-style colour screen and satnav proved indispensable and user-friendly. 

The biggest downside to our particular A-class was the multiple dealer visits it had to make. Warning lights came on and resulted in the replacement of a part relating to a potentially faulty airbag, while a preemptive recall and a flat tyre also resulted in drop-offs to or collections from Mercedes Bromley, where staff did a great job of minimising the hassle. We hope it's new model teething problems.

Finally, if we had our time with an A-class again, we'd opt for Comfort suspension for London's potholed and speed-bumped roads rather than the unforgiving Sport.

But overall, the car left us with many more good memories than bad, and its appeal seems already to be achieving Merc's goal of attracting younger customers.

The average age of a UK A-class driver is now just 43 - versus a Merc brand average of 55 - and 70% of those customers are 'conquests' from other marques. Audi and BMW now have a real contender in the premium hatchback segment.        


Mercedes A-Class
Mileage: 10,488 miles
Claimed combined consumption: 65.7mpg
Our average consumption: 43.9mpg
Forecast CPM: 51.7p
Actual CPM: 54.1p
P11D price (without options): £24,910
Price range: £20,715-£38,190
Depreciation cost: £14,460
Fuel cost: £5738
SMR cost: £2221
VED: £60
National Insurance: £1891
Insurance: £3105
C02 (tax): 114g/km (17%)
BIK?@?20/40% per month: £71/£141


  • Great looks, competitive tax
  • Low standard spec, small interior space