Mercedes-Benz A Class Hatchback 2005 - 2008

Mercedes-Benz A Class Hatchback 2005 - 2008

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • It comes with a surprisingly spacious and airy interior
  • Good build quality
  • Economical running costs

Cons:

  • There are cheaper and better cars available
  • It’s noisy at speed

Overview

The A-Class is the smallest and most affordable car from Mercedes competing with the likes of the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series. Its unusually tall body gives it the look of a people carrier rather than a supermini, but this height was designed for a reason, which is to provide the passengers with plenty of head and legroom. The build and ride quality of this new model is a vast improvement over the previous generations and it comes with a wide choice of engines.

Exterior and Interior

This new generation A-Class is a better looking vehicle than the previous model, but it still keeps its unusual people carrier styling. It comes as either a three or five-door version, but we’d suggest going for the five-door, especially if it’s going to be used as a family car. Due to its tall shape there is plenty of head and legroom for both the front and back seat occupants and it helps to give it an air of being larger than it is. The three-door model does feel more enclosed than the five-door and the seats are all a little firm, but they are still comfortable enough. The boot is a decent size being bigger than both the Audi A3 and the BMW 1-Series and comes with a nifty adjustable height floor giving you the option of a deeper boot when needed. The cushions from the backseats can also be removed and stored in this deeper boot space, so that when the split folding rear seats are down the boot is a perfectly flat space. An optional extra allows the back and front passenger seats to be removed completely giving you even more flexibility. The old A-Class wasn’t quite up to scratch when it came to the interior quality, but thankfully this new model has rectified that with only high class materials being used throughout and the build quality is finished to a high standard with everything feeling well built. The entry level Classic comes with a CD stereo and electric front windows, but we’d go for the SE trim as it adds air-con and comes with more equipment. However, if you want the maximum amount of equipment then the Elegance SE is the best choice.

Performance and Economy

Choosing the right engine for you is important especially in the A-Class as there is a big difference between the entry level and more powerful units. The A150 accelerates from 0-60mph in 12.5 seconds with an economy of 45mpg. It is the engine that we would avoid though as it needs to be worked hard in order to get any decent level of power. The A170 is more impressive being just under 2 seconds faster to 60mph and still achieves a respectable 42mpg. The A200 is the pick of the petrol engines reaching 60mph in 9.5 seconds and still achieves a respectable 39mpg. The turbocharged A200 is just over a second and a half quicker than the standard model at 7.7 seconds to 60mph, as expected it is the least economical of the engines achieving just 34mpg. The diesel engines are the more popular and sensible choices combining both power and fuel efficiency effortlessly. The entry level A160 is the most frugal achieving 57mpg, but it is also the slowest at 14.5 seconds to 60mph. The A180 is a much better engine managing 56mpg as well as being 4 seconds faster going from a standing start to 60mph in 10.5 seconds. The A200 CDI is the best overall engine though as it is the second fastest engine available being slower than just the turbocharged petrol going from 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds whilst still achieving 52mpg. A BlueEFFIECIENCY diesel was added to the range in 2009 that uses the same engine as the A160 CDI but now manages to squeeze 62mpg out of the engine whilst maintaining the same 14.5 seconds to 60mph. Insurance costs range between group 6 for the entry level petrol and diesel engines to group 14 for the turbocharged petrol.

Like to Drive

The ride in this new model is an improvement over the previous model with the handling being sharpened and the body roll in the corners has been minimised too. The suspension is still a bit stiff making town driving uncomfortable, but on motorways it feels a lot smoother. The steering does still lack feeling and is too light for motorway cruising, but it proves useful in town and in tight spaces. The raised driving gives good views of the road ahead, but with the steering wheel not adjusting for reach it may be hard for some drivers to get comfortable. For a car with this price tag this basic feature is surprisingly not included and does make a difference to the overall feel for the car.

Faults and Repairs

The previous model was an absolute shocker when it came to reliability with it suffering from multiple faults. This newer model has proven to be better, but check the electrics and the suspension when you look at one as that is where the main faults were in the older model. As for services they will cost a lot more than the average supermini due to Mercedes high labour costs. Repairs won’t be cheap either with the average repairs on the older model coming in at around £5,000.