In-depth reviews

Mercedes A 250 e hatchback review

"The Mercedes A 250 e is one of the most stylish and compelling plug-in hybrids yet"

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Low running costs
  • Electric range
  • Great design

Cons

  • More expensive to buy
  • Small boot
  • Firm ride

Manufacturers are rushing to launch electrified versions of their cars, and the Mercedes A-Class is one of the most desirable yet. We've named it our Best Plug-In Hybrid for 2022, as part of our Best Car Awards ceremony. Badged A 250 e, it looks just as good inside and out as the regular car, but boasts the advantage of an official 257mpg fuel-efficiency figure.

That's thanks to its large 15.6kWh battery pack and electric motor, making it possible to drive for up to 37 miles before the 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine is needed. Trifling tailpipe emissions of 37g/km will make it compelling for company-car drivers who pay tax according to CO2-based Benefit-in-Kind bands.

With 215bhp from the combined efforts of the engine and motor, the A 250 e is also pretty quick, getting from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds. In electric mode, it'll let you accelerate quite briskly too, up to a top speed of 87mph before the petrol engine kicks in. Power is fed to the front wheels by an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which can be a little jerky, even in electric-only mode. Handling is confidence-inspiring, with plenty of grip and reactive steering, despite the extra weight of the hybrid powertrain.

Available in AMG Line trim, or Executive, Premium and Premium Plus, the A 250 e is well-equipped from the off, with alloy wheels and LED headlights. Interior quality is first-rate, and looks especially good when two 12.3-inch screens are fitted side-by-side across the dashboard. Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system will feel familiar to smartphone users, with a similar interface and voice controls that use artificial intelligence to recognise questions like "Where's the nearest Italian restaurant?".

We know safety is up to scratch thanks to a five-star Euro NCAP crash test result. Reliability is decent, and respondents to our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey seem to be pretty happy in their A-Classes.

MPG, running costs & CO2

A 37-mile driving range cuts CO2 emissions dramatically

The Mercedes A-Class has become incredibly popular, so it's good news that company-car and private buyers alike now have access to a plug-in hybrid version. The 1.3-litre petrol engine, 101bhp electric motor and 15.6kWh battery pack also ensures it has the hardware to really impress, with an electric driving range of up to 44 miles. In real-world testing we found this range is achievable, with the trip computer showing a range just a few miles short. In official figures, this results in staggering WLTP figures of 257mpg and 32g/km of CO2 emissions. As a result, BiK payments will be a lot lower than for petrol and diesel rivals.

Charging from a home wallbox takes just under two hours (with a 7.4kW supply), while a public DC charger should top up the battery pack from 10 to 80% in less than 30 minutes. Buying the A 250 e in the first place is likely to be around £1,500 more expensive than for a petrol equivalent but for many the reduced costs will make it worthwhile. Road tax will cost the slightly discounted VED rate each year, but Mercedes owners have told us that servicing costs tend to be rather high. The A 250 e also sits in insurance groups 28 and 29 out of 50, which are fairly high for a family hatchback.

Engines, drive & performance

A solid all-rounder but issues like a jerky gearbox mean it isn't perfect

With 215bhp from its combined petrol engine and electric motor, the A 250 e is no slouch, getting from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds. Unlike some PHEVs that seem overly keen to use their combustion engines, the A 250 e will also allow a pleasing amount of acceleration in electric-only mode at speeds of up to 87mph. This is all the better considering the 1.3-litre petrol is rather coarse when working hard, which doesn't really fit with the Mercedes image.

The addition of an extra motor and batteries does mean the A 250 e is around 150kg heavier than a regular A-Class, but this is only noticeable on really windy roads. Grip is plentiful and the steering responds quickly, but firm suspension means some bumps are particularly noticeable inside. More disconcerting are the shifts from the eight-speed gearbox, which aren't especially smooth in pure electric mode.

Several driving modes are offered, including ‘Electric’, ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Individual’. In electric mode the steering wheel paddles are used to adjust regenerative braking instead of changing gear, which can be a bit confusing at first. This is especially the case because touching a paddle in Comfort mode can bring the petrol engine into life when you weren't intending to. Comfort acts like the hybrid mode found in many PHEVs, balancing electric and petrol power.

Interior & comfort

The Mercedes A-Class has one of the best interiors of any family car

We're big fans of the A-Class' interior, which is right at the top of the pile for a family hatchback. Nothing changes for the PHEV version, but the A 250 e is limited to AMG Line, Executive, Premium and Premium Plus trims, so you can’t get it in a standard A-Class entry-level specification.

A seven-inch screen is standard but the 10.25-inch display in higher trims looks better as the bezel around the smaller item is a bit clumsy. In top versions the central display flows seamlessly behind the steering wheel, creating a really upmarket setup complemented by circular metallic air vents.

Practicality & boot space

The battery pack cuts into boot space

Front-seat occupants are well served, with lots of room and supportive seats. These also offer lots of adjustment, so you should be able to find your ideal driving position. Storage is quite good too, with door bins able to swallow drinks bottles and a central armrest that also doubles as a cubby. Headroom is decent, but there isn't quite as much legroom as you'll find in a Volkswagen Golf or BMW 1 Series. The middle rear seat isn't a great place to sit either, thanks to its raised shape.

The boot is affected by the large battery pack but it should still be big enough most of the time. It measures 310 litres behind the seats (down from 370) and 1,120 litres with them folded down. The rear bench also splits 40:20:40, allowing two adults to sit in the back with the middle seat folded down for long items like skis or flat-pack furniture.

Reliability & safety

A five-star safety rating is good news for owners

The Mercedes A-Class performed well in our 2020 Driver Power survey, coming 36th out of the top 75 models in the UK. However, while respondents loved its styling and driving characteristics, reliability and build quality were scored below average. Encouragingly, only 12.8% of owners actually reported a fault in the first year.

Safety should be excellent, with independent crash-test body Euro NCAP giving the A-Class a five-star result. It's fitted with the latest safety features, including autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. While it costs extra, an optional Driving Assistance Package may also appeal to long-distance drivers, with even more kit to make driving more relaxed.

Recommended

Mazda CX-60 will get new six-cylinder diesel engine in 2023
Mazda CX-60
Mazda
5 Jul 2022

Mazda CX-60 will get new six-cylinder diesel engine in 2023

Cupra Leon Estate review
Cupra Leon Estate driving
Cupra Leon Estate
30 Jun 2022

Cupra Leon Estate review

Top 10 best used hybrid cars 2022
Corolla best hybrid cars
Best cars
29 Jun 2022

Top 10 best used hybrid cars 2022

Top 10 best company cars 2022
Hyundai Ioniq 5 front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
24 Jun 2022

Top 10 best company cars 2022

Most Popular

Electric MG 4 to arrive in September
2023 MG 4 - UK front
MG
4 Jul 2022

Electric MG 4 to arrive in September

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Car technology
22 Jun 2022

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Facelifted Volvo XC60 driving - front
Deals
1 Jul 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

More on A 250 e hatchback

Top 10 best company cars 2022
Hyundai Ioniq 5 front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
24 Jun 2022

Top 10 best company cars 2022

There are so many attractive choices these days that picking the best company car can be quite a challenge. We look at the best of today's most popula…
Top 10 best hybrid family cars 2022
Hyundai Tucson front quarter
Hybrid cars
4 May 2022

Top 10 best hybrid family cars 2022

Need a practical car with very low running costs? Read our guide to the best hybrid family cars
Top 10 best plug-in hybrids 2022
Hero
Best cars
20 Apr 2022

Top 10 best plug-in hybrids 2022

The best plug-in hybrids offer good electric range, low running costs and strong performance
Top 10 most economical family cars 2022
Skoda Octavia hatchback
Best cars
26 Jul 2021

Top 10 most economical family cars 2022

Choose one of our top ten most economical family cars and you'll save money while being able to carry passengers and their luggage.

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022