The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is an impressive family car that feels like a proper 'premium' vehicle thanks to its superb in-car technology and impressive interior layout. It's also much more practical than the model it replaces, with extra space in the front and back plus there's now a bigger boot with a wider loading space. Most Motability customers will order the upmarket Mercedes-Benz A-Class as a 5-door hatchback, but there's also a 4-door saloon version that some will prefer.
Mercedes-Benz vehicles are not currently available to order through the Motability Scheme (section updated October 2023).
Want a case study in how to change brand perception? You're looking at it right here with this fourth generation Mercedes A-Class. This car aims to make this famous marque one that more younger buyers could consider.
As before, we're told to regard this A-Class as what the market calls a 'compact premium family hatchback' - in other words, a Focus or Astra-sized car with superior quality and a bit of extra badge equity. It's the kind of very profitable product that all the mainstream makers wish they could sell but which is primarily defined by this car and its two closest competitors, the Audi A3 and BMW's 1 Series. The frumpy first and second generation A-Class contenders didn't really threaten these two rivals in any meaningful way, but this car's MK3 model predecessor really did. With its successor, Mercedes has sharpened up the looks, improved interior space and dialled in a great deal more safety and media connectivity.
The entry-level A200 variant is likely to be most popular featuring a new 1.4-litre 163hp unit available with either 6-speed manual or 7G-DCT dual-clutch auto transmission. Rest to 62mph in the manual model takes 8.2s. Next up is the A220 with a 190hp 2.0-litre engine and is the only derivative to offer a 4MATIC 4WD option. That variant sits just below the A250, which uses that 2.0-litre petrol powerplant in a 224hp state of tune. Rest to 62mph here takes 6.2s. Both the A220 and the A250 are only offered with a 7G-DCT automatic gearbox. At the top of the range is the 2.0-litre hot hatch Mercedes-AMG A35 4MATIC, which unfortunately is not available to order through the Motability Scheme. There are three diesel alternatives, all offered only as automatics. The first is the A180d, which puts out 116hp and uses the 7G-DCT auto gearbox. Next up is the A200d which has a 2.0-litre 150hp engine. Beyond that lies the top A220d, which tunes the same unit up to 190hp. The A200d and A220 use an 8G-DCT auto.
What else do you need to know? Well the suspension is the usual torsion beam rear set-up on most models. The 'DYNAMIC SELECT' driving modes system is standard, as usual enabling you to tweak steering feel and throttle response. At extra cost, adjustable damping can be added into it. Some of the autonomous driving capability from larger Mercedes models has been built into this one, meaning that, in certain situations, the A-Class, if appropriately equipped, will effectively be able to drive itself on dual carriageways at cruising speeds.
There's a choice of five-door hatch or saloon body shapes. Either way, from the outside, this fourth generation A-Class delivers a more progressive design with a low bonnet and flat, more angular LED headlamps. The car is visually extended by its now longer wheelbase and a smart character line along the side. The bonnet slopes down more heavily than in the preceding model series, emphasising the more dynamic, upright front. Larger wheel arches housing bigger rims (ranging from 16 to 19 inches) help too, making this A-Class sit more squarely on the road.
It's the interior that sees the really big changes though. The usual instrument setup has been completely dispensed with, so the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard can extend from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity. A virtual instrument screen (of either 7-inches or 10.25-inches in size) replaces the usual dials and can be joined with a centre-dash infotainment display (again either 7-inches or 10.25-inches in size) to create one continuous monitor, much as you get in larger Mercedes models. That extra wheelbase means more interior space - and with the hatch, the 370-litre boot is 29-litres larger than before too.
If you were to buy this car outright, prices start at around £26,000, which gets you either the A180d diesel variant or the petrol A200. There are three main trim levels - 'SE', 'Sport' and 'AMG Line'.
Every A-Class model comes well equipped. The entry-level 'SE' trim features twin seven-inch displays including a central touchscreen with MBUX multimedia system featuring 'Hey Mercedes' voice activation. Plus there's comfort suspension, alloy wheels, a DAB radio, Artico man-made leather and Bertrix fabric upholstery, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist, a Keyless-Go starting function and air conditioning.
This new generation A-Class is much better connected than before. Navigation functions, for example, can now be based on traffic feedback from so-called 'Car-to-X communication' where information gets fed in from other similarly-equipped road users. As usual, there's a downloadable 'Mercedes Me' app that connects you into your car and can tell you things like local fuel prices or the availability of parking spaces at your destination.
Mercedes-Benz turned things around with its third generation A-Class, recreating it into the kind of car a younger, sportier buyer could consider. This sleeker, more sophisticated, bigger and better connected fourth generation model version continues that theme and lays down quite a challenge to its Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series rivals.
And in summary? Well those who can afford the Advance Payment prices and like the driving experience will find this contender sporty, self-assured and possessed of a feel-good factor that really does make you feel special if you've specified your chosen variant correctly. Which is exactly what owning a car of this kind should be all about.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Mercedes-Benz A-Class through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local Mercedes-Benz dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.