Used Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2013 - 2018) Comfort

Review by Keith Jones on
Last Updated: 03 Aug 2016
3.5
Shunning the previous two generations’ MPV-like, high-roofed looks, the third iteration of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is sleeker and longer, with styling that could turn the heads of traditional Volkswagen Golf buyers. Rivalling the likes of the Audi A3 Sportback, BMW 1 Series and Volvo V40 in the upper echelons of the mid-sized family hatch market, the A-Class itself is also the basis for several other cars.
3.9 out of 5

Comfort

  • Pre-2015 models have firmer ride quality
  • Diesels are noisy at lower speeds
  • A 45 is a very stiff performance hatch

Comfort has never been a particularly strong suit of this generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class, particularly in terms of its ride quality, but other areas niggle, too.

Compared with most rivals, the diesel engines are particularly clattery, the saving grace being that at motorway speeds they settle down to a background thrum and don’t sound especially intrusive. Choose the petrol versions for a quieter experience all-round.

Road noise is well-contained but you do get a little bit of wind noise from the windscreen pillars when you get around the 70mph mark.

The seats are comfortable and well bolstered, and the wide range of adjustment on the steering and driver’s seat means you can get a good driving position whatever your size.

Legroom in the back seats isn’t particularly impressive so those over six foot tall might feel a little cramped with limited headroom, too.

Ride quality was poor on earlier models, especially when fitted with sports suspension, but following the 2015 facelift, this was remedied to a degree. It’s still not as comfortable in an A-Class as it is in VW’s Golf, but it’s far more tolerable than it once was.

Very stiff Mercedes-AMG A 45

Although it has some extremely comfortable and supportive seats, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 AMG isn’t a car you’d buy to be cosseted in. The problem is the ride, which is what we’d generously call “firm”. In fact, it’s downright jolty on anything other than glass-smooth roads. Get it onto a race track, however, and it really comes into its own.

Road and tyre noise seem like silly things to pick out for the A 45 since that engine roar dominates any aural aspects of the car.

There’s a choice of two suspension systems – an AMG Sports Suspension and AMG Performance Suspension. The former is slightly softer, but not by a huge amount. Following the facelift in 2015 the cabin got slightly quieter thanks to improved aerodynamics.

3 out of 5

Practicality

  • Interior and boot space aren’t strong points
  • Reasonable number of storage cubbies
  • Five-door bodywork; no three-door this time

Buyers on the look-out for a premium hatchback are a picky bunch, and along with the cachet of the Mercedes badge, a comfortable ride, solid performance and fuel consumption they’ll want a quality interior with bags of space.

The A-Class does offer a decent amount of space for the driver and front passenger but it doesn’t have much legroom in the back and the boot is surprisingly small – practicality isn’t a strong point of this Mercedes.

The luggage compartment is a bit short and not particularly deep although the bootlip is helpfully shallow. There’s some extra space available underneath the boot floor but the chunky rear lamp clusters eat into the width, restricting the size of the rear aperture.

With the rear seats in place there’s 341 litres of space, expanding to 1,157 litres with both sections of the standard 60:40 split bench folded over.

The awkwardly-shaped rear doors seem somewhat restrictive because of the sloping roof and the intrusive wheelarches. There’s storage space in the central tunnel behind the gearlever – automatic models have an extra space where the manual’s lever is located – a couple of cupholders in front and averagely-sized door cubbies as well as a glovebox that’s not exactly capacious, either.

Forward visibility is fine, but the small rear window and chunky pillars can cause a few problems when you are trying to reverse park.

Get a Mercedes-Benz A-Class valuation

How does the boot space compare?

391 litres
Mercedes-Benz A-Class (13-18)
341 litres
330 litres
280 litres
4 out of 5

Behind the wheel

  • Looks stylish but quality disappoints
  • Ergonomically-arranged controls
  • Easy to attain a good driving position

Because it’s a Mercedes-Benz you will have high expectations of an expensive-feeling interior, but when you look at some of the hard plastics that are not in your immediate line of sight, disappoint follows.

The circular air vents look classy and the curvature of the surfaces looks intriguing, but the overall environment isn’t as pleasing as the Audi A3 Sportback or even the button-laden Volvo V40. That said, the A-Class is extremely well thought-out in terms of layout and ergonomics, although Mercedes’ characteristic left-hand column stalk controlling indicators, lights and wipers is a faff until you’ve learned how to operate it instinctively.

It’s similar to most other Mercedes models with a floating multimedia screen on top of the dashboard. A central dial between the front seats allows you to scroll between the sat-nav and entertainment menus, and although this multimedia system has got plenty of functionality, it can be a little distracting and confusing.

We’re not overly fond of the electric parking brake, because you push it to apply the brake and pull it to release it which is counter to the operation on a normal mechanical handbrake.

Borrowing many parts from the regular A-Class, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 is a familiar place to be. Of course, it does feel far sportier than your common-or-garden Mercedes hatchback. There are coloured bezels for the vents and obviously those sports seats mark this out as something pretty special.