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Mercedes-Benz A-class review – high-tech hatch takes aim at 1-series and A3

Antony Ingram
11 Jun 2018
Verdict:

Now in its fourth generation, the Mercedes A-class is unrecognisable from the car that kicked things off two decades ago.

Evo Rating: 
For 
Class-leading tech. Luxurious interior
Against 
It’s no hot hatch. Rivals are more fun to drive
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Design

Mechanically the new A-class is fairly unremarkable, with a steel structure (slightly wider and longer than before, liberating greater interior and luggage volume) and MacPherson struts with passive dampers at the front. The rear setup varies depending on spec, with more basic models (all A180ds and non-AMG Line A200s in the UK) getting a torsion beam, and more powerful cars (A200 and A250 AMG Lines) gaining a multi-link rear, both again with passive dampers. All use variable-ratio, electrically-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.

Visually the new A-class still has close links to its predecessor, with a relatively unremarkable two-box form that’s identifiable as a Mercedes-Benz more from its details than any consistent Mercedes design language (and it still lacks the innovation of the first two A-class generations) but place new next to old and there’s little doubt the new car is more attractive than before.

The bonnet line seems lower and the new front end with its slimmer grille and headlights is less porcine than before. The same applies to the rear end, though the thinner tail lights sit less comfortably here in what’s still a relatively chubby rump.

Things are better down the sides, where Mercedes’ new design direction has led to much cleaner surfacing without the random cuts and slashes present in the old car’s panelwork, and overall the car looks like it’s been on a bit of a diet - even if, with a starting kerbweight of 1375kg, it’s only 20kg lighter than before.

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