Mercedes A-Class hatchback (2013-2018) - Interior & comfort
The Mercedes A-Class has a well-built interior, but can’t match the Audi A3 for when it comes to aesthetics
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, easy to use and feels built to last. We’d like to see just a little more flair to the design, though, as it’s ever-so-serious and grey in there – even if the carbon-effect trim of the AMG Line model adds a touch of modern class.
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 light 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 for a sporty feel – although visibility out the back could be better.
On the move, you really feel the high-spec A250 AMG and other AMG Sport models’ hard suspension. The optional 18-inch alloy wheels only make the car feel even firmer, so models lower down the range are much more comfortable. The A45 AMG model also has a stiff ride, but this’ll be less of an issue for the enthusiastic drivers likely to buy this version.
Mercedes A-Class dashboard
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, something the Audi A3 most certainly manages. The A-Class’ awkwardly perched infotainment screen is the chief offender in this area, as it looks like you could have picked it up on eBay and fitted yourself – even if 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, but we think most buyers will be happy to accept some quality shortfalls in return for the Mercedes’ fresher design.
Whichever A-Class you choose, you’ll get a decent amount of standard equipment. All versions have a 5.8-inch infotainment display, 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a reversing camera and ‘Artico’ imitation leather seats.
Sport feels classier thanks to 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, Parking Pilot, heated front seats and ambient lighting.
There are a huge number of options to add to your A-Class, making it very easy for the purchase price to spiral upwards. Attractive options include the 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. However, while some rivals allow you to add this sort of kit as individual options, they're part of packs on the A-Class, priced in the region of £1,000-£3,000.