Mercedes-Benz A-Class: New King Of The Premium Compact Hatch Niche?

Given that it rivals the Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1-Series, the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class needs to be pretty darn good to attract customers.

Its predecessor wasn’t that bad to begin with, so with some fine-tuning and a lot of new technologies jammed into it, Merc’s compact hatchback is more mature than ever.

Wind noise has been heavily suppressed, and road noise is quite similar to the Audi A3. Also, it handles as one would expect from a model in this segment. There’s plenty of grip, the steering is said to impress and, overall, the new A-Class feels well composed.

Also Read: Driven: 2018 Mercedes A-Class Lives Up To The Hype – But Only Just

WhatCar, who reviewed the A-Class, were also very impressed with the interior, especially with the dual-screen layout that dominates the dashboard. The infotainment system is quite easy to use, not to mention that it looks impressive, storage spaces are satisfactory and boot space is more than decent.

Getting in and out of the back seats is a bit tricky due to the rear wheel arches, but once inside, passengers will find that the 2019A-Class is just as roomy as the Audi A3 and a bit more spacious than the BMW 1-Series.

There are a few drawbacks when it comes to choosing Stuttgart’s hatchback over some of its rivals, such as the build quality on certain parts and the fact that it’s more expensive. However, in return, customers will get a car that’s very well equipped, reasonably spacious and good to drive. Is it the best premium hatchback on sale today? Click and find out.


  • Bash

    Neither of these three is my cup of tea. The is Golf is.

  • Research Janitor

    King of boring.

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    An expensive Megane.

    • Miguel Candelario

      Yes, this is what Renault would like.

  • Paul

    Not really a bad looking car, but still… No Thanks.

  • Christian Wimmer

    My A250 AMG Line arrives on Tuesday. Can‘t wait!

    I‘m biased, but the new A-Class is very impressive. I‘ve driven the A180d and A200 AMG Line, loved them both. The 1.33-l turbo engine in the A200 was especially mind-blowing. It was peppy, rev-happy, refined and had no noticeable turbo lag. Interior is great. Not on the level S-Class (duh), but class appropriate. A big improvement over the last model (and its B-Class, CLA and GLA variants).

    An argument can be made that the W177 A-Class is currently the king in its class. It does not drive as sporty and the BMW 1er or Audi A3, but where it counts (roominess, technology etc.) it delivers. However, I felt that both the A180d (standard trim) and the A200 AMG Line drove pretty well in their own way. They can be described as sporty and well-handling, especially for the average consumer and even a spirited driver (especially with the AMG Line trim and suspension tweaks).

    As with all newer cars, I wish there was a way to PERMANENTLY deactivate Start-Stop. I‘d remove that feature if I could.

    • uS’gedlemba

      What’s wrong with Start/Stop? I’ve come to appreciate it.

      • Christian Wimmer

        I don‘t like Start-Stop. In my opinion it‘s a gimmick that really has marginal fuel economy benefits.

        I‘ve read that the Start-Stop system is good for about 500,000 cycles, which seems rather low for me since I keep my cars 10+ years and drive a lot, including a lot of city driving. The constant start-stopping could turn out to be a durability issue. Hence I prefer to deactivate it and never use it.

  • ThatGuy

    Im not a major fan anymore of Mercedes-Benz. Their reliability since their 1998 cars have dropped way to much.
    But they still make some of the nicest looking interiors of any car manufacturer.
    And its is true they are the kings of the Premium Compact Hatch segment. They ousted Audi and BMW from that spot which i respect, regardless if they using engines in association with renault. BMW did the same with Peugeot and moved that engine to the mini(Prince Engine) too.

    Though i would have a megane over this for sure. Maybe a Golf as well. To be honest when it comes to range toppers many cars might be faster but the GTi is an epic car. Owned a few and driven the new once(through friends). The AMG and RS3 and M1 are epic cars but the GTi always feels a bit special to drive. It like the perfect balance better civility and hoolgan fun. That Monday easy drive to work and the friday hooligan, B-Road drive home.

    But go on you Benz, you rocked this segment with only your second gen, i take my hat off.

    • uS’gedlemba

      To my recollection BMW never used the Prince engine on the BMW brand it was for the standard 1.6 mini not even the Cooper S and JCW versions as they’ve always been on the 2.0 engine. It seems BMW got the short end of the stick as PSA have successfully benefitted more from this engine being in service for 12 years as their sole Petrol engine while BMW bailed out on it

      • ThatGuy

        BMW used it in the for F20 116i and it was termed the N13 engine, came out in various markets, not all but a few, africa and certain parts of Europe, though it came out in 2011, it was essentially the prince engine with tweeks.

    • Christian Wimmer

      I know people glamorize the old Benzes, but they had their issues. And I am saying this as a Mercedes fan. The difference is that nowadays we know what their weakspots are, how to effectively (and cheaply) repair them and it helps that there‘s a community of clubs, online forums etc. that can help owners in regards to repairs, spare parts etc.

      Due to the nature of my job I am exposed to a lot of older cars, including many Mercedes‘. A classic Mercedes would be fun, but NOT as a daily driver. Modern Mercedes‘ are simply better. Faster, handle better, quieter, are more refined, far more comfortable, safer, more fuel efficient etc. It‘s no comparison. I would also claim they are better built than the older Benzes. Their interiors are better put together, the materials are better, they do not rust and so forth. Newer Benzes are more complex, true, but the old Benzes were also considered complex cars in their time, and they are reacting to market demands.

      In my opinion the „Dark Ages“ for the company began in the mid-1990s and ended in the early 2000s. At the time I worked for Mercedes and saw the downfall and the rise of their products. I am 110% serious when I say this, but I truly believe that nowadays the company builds better cars than they have ever built before. That‘s my personal opinion based on my experiences and the experiences of my family, who have driven Mercedes since the 1980s.

      • ThatGuy

        Same here have many family memebers with Benz too, the 1998 Mercedez C-Class 230 Kompressor can still compete and even beat a few of these new ones. One the new one being more reliable, i think a bit mechanically, but lets use a 2015 C-Class 270 Diesel, that hit a pothole, not very hard and boom engine light, ABS and many others, electronically they are not more reliable, and thats the thing most cars give electronic faults and those are expensive and time consuming.

        On a whole all cars mechanically, or say 90% in this world are very good, not the same as the 80ies where people stood at the side of the road when it rained i.e. the VW beetle.

        If you think about it no real cars is bad, most drive very good and far softer than any 90ies car, these days its taste and preference. Style and so forth.

        Its just i seen to many Benz go out electronically, and Benz does not like supporting customers when it goes south. I really like them but they just dont give a shit.

        I respect the engineering and like before i said their interiors aer mint, not many can ever compare but for everything else there is Audi, BMW and Lexus.

        Beautiful cars pitty they hate customers and electronics.

  • Robert

    It seriously looks like a bad version of a Hyundai i30/Elantra GT.

  • Miknik

    In the base model, you get a torsion beam rear axle and a Renault/Dacia Diesel (shared, e.g. , with a Duster), fora horrendous price. Now if that ain’t premium…

    • Christian Wimmer

      The lower end models get the torsion beam rear axle suspension. What‘s the problem? The people going for those models obviously don‘t care and purist „driving“ isn‘t on their mind. I‘ve experienced a base A180d (great engine BTW) and the handling was perfectly fine, even with that „outdated rear suspension.“

      An enthusiast will most likely go for the higher-spec models, which have the multi-link rear suspension. I think it‘s a smart move from the company. Why drop a more expensive suspension into lower end models when literally 99% of consumers in that sector won‘t care?

      • Miknik

        Because it is a premium car. If ya “will do” attitude is just fine, any non premium model will do just fine, or, better in many cases. The Renault 1.5 dCi is a nice, but decidedly average engine, again, nothing a non premium maker (e.g., Renault themselves) can’t offer….

        • Christian Wimmer

          It is a premium car from a premium brand, but at the same time many buyers of the lower end models are – if we’re going by the cliche in my country – literally a grandpa and grandma or a young mother and they won‘t care.

          I‘ve driven an A180d and A200 AMG Line with the torsion beam rear axle and they felt and drove fine. You could toss them around in a spirited manner and they actually took it very well. Again, for the average buyer of this premium hatch it‘s not an issue. I doubt they even know the difference between a torsion beam rear axle and multi link suspension. 🙂

          I understand your point of view perfectly, but I also understand why MB opted for different rear suspension systems on different models.

  • uS’gedlemba

    The only thing premium about the German trio is you have to pay a premium to get them on par with the “cheaper” brands spec-wise. At one point it was a point of contention that premium means RWD; guess the posts have been shifted.

  • Kagan

    not from that picture, uuuuuuuusch

  • ThatGuy


    I agree, im in S.A. and some Benz are great here but at that sales and when people family i know who have the 2014 C270 Diesel, 2014 C200 Kompressor, 2009 C180 Kompressor had issues the dealers always had issues with warranty replacements, it took time eventually changed under warranty but the time without a car and hired cars is not cool from a Executive Car Manufacturer.

    I owned VW and never had any issues, never really had to claim under warranty only take in for Recalls when required and like you had a great experience.
    With BMW also the same great even under warranty claims, even out of warranty pricey but epic at delivery.

    With my lexus everything replaced without a hiccup and always get a lexus or toyota loan car weather in or out of warranty and motor plan. Even wife the wifes renault i never had a issue or fight or irritation

    My thing is you correct region to region it differs but most people globally get the short stick from them, Europe im not sure, i think there they go all out. But what irks me is the price and time they take from you but when it came to the sale everything was a executive joy after that it was uphill. Im not saying hell, but difficult.

    If you want hell Ford/GM, Fiat, Chev, Opel, Hyundai(in S.A.) are best to go with.

    See the sale part is always great, its ownership where the real gremlins come out and you see how little car place care or put their customers first.

    But this is my experience, not everyone has lived and seen it, others have hasd the best from them and i get that i know people that say that, its just those they jilted are more than those happy. In that respect i stay away………

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