Mercedes-Benz A180 d review
The Mercedes A180 d is a stylish and smart premium hatchback with a high-tech interior and a focus on comfort
While the hatchback has been part of the motoring landscape for several decades now, the advent of the ‘premium’ hatchback has been a more recent phenomena and the three main protagonists are the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the BMW 1 Series and the Audi A3. The newest of these is currently the A-Class and in entry-level A180 d form it’s keenly priced and offers much of the style and class that you would more normally associate with Mercedes’ larger cars.
What you won’t get with the A180 d is blistering performance. It’s powered by a revised version of the 1.5-litre engine that appeared in the old A-Class. It’s not desperately potent but it has been retuned to focus on economy and refinement and it certainly scores well here, being quiet under all but the hardest acceleration, making the A180 d a very pleasant companion on the motorway. If you put more emphasis on performance, the A200 d would be a better bet, particularly given there’s very little to choose between the two models in terms of fuel economy.
The A180 d is equipped with a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and should return over 50mpg in mixed driving, with official figures of 53-61mpg under the new WLTP testing regime. While the gearbox is slick in its operation there is one area where the A180 d shows its entry-level status and that’s with its rear suspension; it has a simpler layout than some of the more powerful models in the range. For the vast majority of the time the A180 d does ride very well though, it’s only on extremely bumpy sections that it feels a little fidgety.
The A180 d generally rides as well as any of its rivals, although one caveat is that the larger 18-inch wheels on the AMG Line trim level do make the ride less supple. While the A180 d offers excellent refinement what you don’t get – even in the more muscular AMG Line models – is a driving experience that could be in any way described as sporty. The steering is slow to respond and offers little feedback to the driver. There’s plenty of grip but it’s just not a hugely rewarding car for the keen driver.
The interior is excellent, feeling stylish, classy and a definite step up from the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3. The one interior caveat is that while front seats occupants have plenty of room, those in the rear may feel a little cramped, even if there’s nothing wrong with its 370-litre boot space.
Overall, the Mercedes A-Class’s interior is comprehensively equipped and offers a pair of seven-inch infotainment screens – one behind the steering wheel and one mounted centrally on the dashboard. These screens do work well and endow the dashboard with an uncluttered look. The screens can be upgraded on the options list to larger 10.25-inch versions, which do offer considerably improved functionality but are expensive at over £2,000.
Buyers can choose from three trim levels on the A180 d: SE, Sport and AMG Line. All are well equipped with sat nav, air conditioning, cruise control and Active Brake Assist while the Sport adds larger alloy wheels, LED headlights and plusher trim. AMG Line models have sporty styling, sports seats and 18-inch wheels.
Mercedes chose to concentrate on comfort and refinement when it designed the new A-Class and when judged by these criteria it’s a great success. You could argue that its interior is even classier than the one in the C-Class, and it’s certainly a very comfortable car to drive. If you’re looking for a sporty hatchback, however, you might be better off looking at its rivals, or at least going for a more powerful version than the A180 d.