The old A-Class was something of a stuffy family mini-MPV. In 2012, Mercedes decided to attract much younger buyers to its brand but turning the latest A-Class into its first genuine rival to premium hatchbacks like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. So, the current car bears no resemblance to its predecessor, looking much sportier, with a much lower roofline and detailed creases on the body. You can get it with a range of engines, including an A180 CDI diesel that emits less than 100g/km, making it tax-free – the first Mercedes to do so – and an entry-level BlueEFFICIENCY model. The current top performer is the A250 208bhp 2.0-litre turbo version, but an A45 350bhp AMG model is just around the corner. Prices are competitive with the A3 and 1 Series, but the optional extras are pricey and can push the list price sky-high pretty quickly.