Used Mercedes A-Class review: 2012 to 2018 (Mk3) - Interior, comfort and safety

The Mercedes A-Class’ interior is well-designed, looks great and has most of the tech you need, but it might suffer from rattles in a used model

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

The Mercedes A-Class generally feels like a premium product when you step inside: most of the materials used are of a decent quality and everything is well laid-out and is easy to use, but owners have told us that rattles can develop and build quality isn’t as good as expected.

At least it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position thanks to a good range of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel. Having the headlight and windscreen-wiper controls on a single column stalk is a traditional Mercedes touch that takes a bit of getting used to, but actually makes a great deal of sense over time. You sit low down so it’s comfy and feels sporty, although visibility out the back could be better.

What’s the Mercedes A-Class like inside?

The A-Class’ dashboard design doesn’t really impress. Sure, everything’s present, correct and works as you’d expect, but one of the reasons people spend the extra cash on premium hatchbacks is because they’re supposed to feel special inside. The A-Class’ awkwardly perched infotainment screen is the chief offender in this area, because it looks like you could have picked it up on eBay and fitted yourself, even though  it’s intuitive to use and works well.

Carbon-fibre and metal-look trims add to the expensive feel of the A-Class, but poke around and you’ll find plastics that let the rest of the interior down. In this respect, the Mercedes loses ground to the Audi A3, which has a cleaner, more modern-looking design that’s aged better.

What’s on the equipment list?

Whichever A-Class you choose, you’ll get a decent amount of standard equipment. Pre-facelift models from 2012-2015 came with steel wheels on entry-level trims, but had air-con as standard. SE added alloys, a multifunction steering wheel and sat-nav, then Sport added cruise control.

From 2015 on, versions had a 5.8-inch infotainment display, 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a reversing camera and ‘Artico’ imitation leather seats. Other equipment added with this range update included keyless-go, a reversing camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Sport gets 17-inch alloy wheels, a silver-trimmed grille and polished chrome exhaust pipes. Sport Edition gets a different five-spoke alloy wheel design, along with LED headlights, tinted glass, a black headliner, sat-nav and sports seats.

AMG Line models are fitted with bigger brakes and wheels, sportier suspension and a radiator grille with chrome pins for a unique look. Inside, carbon fibre-look trim, stainless steel pedals and a sports steering wheel alter its character.

The A250 AMG looks very similar to AMG Line cars, save for some red trim inserts in the front and rear bumpers, but gets quite a bit of additional kit, including folding door mirrors, a Parking Pilot system that means the car can steer itself into a space, heated front seats and ambient lighting.

Attractive options to look out for on used models include adaptive cruise control (which can keep a safe distance from the car in front before returning to a pre-set cruising speed) and adaptive dampers on higher-end trims that help to soften the suspension.

How safe is it?

The A-Class scored five stars for safety when Euro NCAP crash-tested it in 2012. All models come with a full array of airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and ISOFIX child-seat mounts. Particularly beneficial on long journeys is the attention-assist system. This detects driver fatigue at speeds between 50 and 110mph. If it detects you’re getting drowsy, it emits an audible warning.

Finally, collision-prevention assistance warns you if it senses an imminent collision and prepares the brakes for an emergency stop. Optional safety features include active cruise control (which keeps a safe distance from the car in front) and a blind-spot warning system – they’re worth looking out for on a potential used purchase.

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