In-depth reviews

Mercedes A-Class saloon review

"The Mercedes A-Class saloon is full of the latest technology, but with a more conservative and slippery shape than the hatchback"

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4.0 out of 5

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Pros

  • Clever and attractive interior
  • Refined road manners
  • Efficient engines

Cons

  • Restrictive boot opening
  • Not a driver's car
  • Pricey options

Verdict - Is the Mercedes A-Class saloon a good car?

Anyone considering a Mercedes A-Class may be surprised to learn a saloon is also available in showrooms. The three-box bodystyle was something of a dying breed in the UK, but arrivals like the A-Class saloon and Audi A3 saloon have turned heads. Think of the A-Class saloon as a mini-Mercedes C-Class and it may begin to hold particular appeal.

Mercedes A-Class saloon models, specs and alternatives

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, making it one of the most aerodynamic cars on the market, which pays dividends for efficiency, emissions and refinement.

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Secondly, the A-Class has Mercedes' stunning MBUX infotainment system, which was more powerful than the one in the C-Class when it was launched. Getting rid of mechanical gauges altogether, the twin-screen setup boasts slick graphics courtesy of the latest 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 have recently been streamlined into four grades, Sport Executive, AMG Line Executive, AMG Line Premium, and AMG Line Premium Plus, each one ramping 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.

The current engine lineup comprises a trio of turbocharged petrols (including the AMG A 35 range-topper), a turbocharged diesel, and a plug-in hybrid that combines a petrol engine with an electric motor. It’s likely that most private buyers will go for the petrols, especially as the A 200 (with a surprising 161bhp) has a 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds. It's nippy on paper, but feels strained if you demand too much from it. Mercedes has recently dropped the manual gearbox option, so the A 180 and A 200 petrols are now equipped with a seven-speed DCT only, while the A 250 e and A 200 d both get an eight-speed auto, also dual-clutch.

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The A 200 d diesel will appeal to high-mileage drivers with the promise of nearly 58mpg, but the most efficient on paper is the 250 e plug-in hybrid. It offers up to 44 miles of range on electric power alone, though to get close to the 353mpg combined consumption figure you’ll need to ensure the battery pack is topped up wherever you go.

Sitting at the top of the line-up is the AMG-tuned A 35, with standard-fit 4MATIC four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. It’s the most powerful and fastest version of the saloon, capable of launching from 0-62mph in under five seconds.

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. There's plenty of grip in the A-Class saloon, but the steering is slower to respond, meaning here it resembles a C-Class that's shrunk in the wash.

Other rivals include the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, Mazda3 Fastback and Toyota Corolla saloon, plus Mercedes’ own CLA coupe.

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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