Mercedes A-Class saloon
"The Mercedes A-Class saloon is full of the latest technology, but with a more conservative and slippery shape than the hatchback"
- Clever and attractive interior
- Refined road manners
- Efficient engines
- Restrictive boot opening
- Not a driver's car
- Pricey options
Anyone considering a Mercedes A-Class may be surprised to learn a saloon is also available in showrooms. The three-box bodystyle is something of a dying breed in the UK, but think of the A-Class saloon as a mini-Mercedes C-Class and it may begin to hold more appeal.
The small four-door even has a few advantages over its big brother, starting with its svelte shape. Mercedes designers and engineers have spent many hours optimising the latest A-Class in the wind tunnel, not only making it the most aerodynamic car it sells, but that any manufacturer sells, which pays dividends for efficiency, emissions and refinement.
Secondly, the A-Class has Mercedes' latest and greatest infotainment system, which is more powerful than the one in the C-Class. Getting rid of mechanical gauges altogether, the twin-screen setup boasts slick graphics courtesy of the latest MBUX operating system. It also features a new kind of voice control for the brand that you wake up by saying "Hey Mercedes" - it can interpret the sort of questions you might normally ask 'Siri' on your phone or 'Alexa' at home.
Trim levels include Sport and AMG Line, both of which are well equipped, but packs of extras (called Executive, Premium and Premium Plus) can be added to ramp up the technology and features. As you'd expect for a Mercedes, there's also a broad array of individual options to pick from.
Thanks to an increase in length, the A-Class saloon has a 420-litre boot – 50 litres bigger than the hatchback's and just five litres shy of the Audi A3 saloon's. There's plenty of space for adults in the front and back seats, too, but some might be put off by the fact the boot opening isn't quite as large as a hatchback's
Engines include a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol A 200 with a surprising 161bhp, giving it a 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds. It's nippy on paper, but feels strained if you demand too much from it. Unlike every other A-Class saloon, it comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but Mercedes' seven-speed automatic gearbox is optional and this combo returns up to 47.9mpg. For even better fuel economy, there's a single 1.5-litre A 180 d diesel, returning up to 64.2mpg. It's the slowest version, though, making 114bhp and taking 10.6 seconds to do 0-62mph.
As with the A-Class hatchback, Mercedes has concentrated on boosting comfort, so while the saloon is an excellent motorway companion, it doesn't feel as sharp as the Audi A3 saloon or a BMW 2 Series. There's plenty of grip, but the steering is slower to respond, meaning here it resembles a C-Class that's shrunk in the wash.