The first time I drove the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class was two years ago during the global launch event in Croatia. At the time I fell in love with Merc’s latest entry-level offering. Unlike the B-Class or the previous-generation CLA, the A-Class felt as luxurious as any other Mercedes-Benz.
It was the first to offer the MBUX system which is now available on just about every new Mercedes-Benz, from the GLE to the G-Class. You just didn’t expect to see such an advanced infotainment system in a luxury automaker’s most affordable model. The A-Class didn’t have too much AMG input, but it felt fast enough, and handling was spot on. After flying back home and thinking about the A-Class for a bit, I concluded that it offered the level of luxury Mercedes-Benz buyers expected with no compromise.
Unlike previous Mercedes-Benz entry-level models, it wouldn’t just impress buyers moving up from mainstream automakers. It would impress buyers who were used to luxury nameplates. Two years later and after driving the Mercedes-Benz A-Class for a longer period of time on local roads, I still feel the same way about the A-Class.
Sure, its MBUX system isn’t exclusive anymore and after having spent time in more upscale M-B products like the aforementioned GLE and G-Class, it’s certainly easier to pinpoint cost-cutting measures in the A-Class. Still, for $38,300, you get a lot a bang for your buck.
The Mercedes-AMG A 35 is also offered, but my tester was the A250 Hatchback with 4Matic all-wheel drive which is standard in the hatch. There’s also a sedan that starts at $37,300. There’s no point in my opinion about going for the sedan. The hatchback looks better (that’s opinion), has more power (that’s a fact) and is more versatile (that’s a fact) for only $1,000 more.
Now, you will need to add a few options to get the MBUX system which is included in the Premium package for $2,950. That’s not bad at all given that you also get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Blind Spot Assist, Keyless Go, wireless charging, and auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors. A 64-colour ambient lighting system is also added. You’ll be just over $40,000 but you’ll have the goods to justify it.
Of course, you can also choose to add traditional Mercedes-Benz advanced safety technologies that can essentially drive the car for you by remaining in the centre of the lane, braking to a full stop, automatically avoiding obstacles, and changing lanes automatically when the turn signal is activated. These futuristic technologies worthy of a $100k+ luxury sedan are just $1,900 extra.
Back to MBUX, you may be wondering what it is exactly. In simple terms, it is housed within a 10.25-inch screen (don’t opt for the Premium package and you get a 7-inch screen) and features advanced voice command and personalization options. You can essentially interact with your vehicle through natural language. The cabin is too hot? Use the command “Hey Mercedes, it’s hot in here” or something similar and the system will turn the heat down. Does it always work? No. Is it better than most similar systems? Yes. Can you find such advanced infotainment features in direct A-Class rivals like the BMW 2 Series or the Audi A3? No.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that delivers 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The A-Class sedan offers only 188 horsepower. You will reach 100 km/h in about 6.2 seconds and you can enjoy the A 250 year-round thanks to 4Matic AWD. So, should you buy a 2020 Mercedes-Benz A 250 Hatchback?
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Mercedes-Benz A 250 Hatchback
- It’s a ton of fun to drive and feels sporty and agile. It’s more than fast enough and drives like a breeze through the city.
- It offers plenty of value, even when you add a few equipment packages. For a little over $40,000, you have a very equipped luxury vehicle with advanced connectivity and safety technology
- It feels a notch above the 2 Series and A3 in terms of refinement. It also feels more powerful and more luxurious
- The dashboard is stunning with the dual 10.25-inch screens of the Premium package. The graphics change according to the drive mode and the menus are all colourful and very well designed.
- MBUX isn’t perfect, but it’s better than most similar systems
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Mercedes-Benz A 250 Hatchback
- Can be a bit harsh on broken roads with the 18-inch wheels. The A-Class looks luxurious inside, but it drives a bit rough and can be a bit loud
- The Hatchback has 371 litres of cargo space which isn’t much. A Volkswagen Golf R does better.
- Speaking of the Volkswagen Golf R, it offers quite a bit more performance and versatility for the same price.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class blows away its competition from Audi and BMW with its luxury, refinement, design, and technology. The only real competitor it has is the Golf R which outshines the Merc on performance for the same amount of money. But if you want the silver star emblem without breaking the bank and want to feel like you’re getting more than your money’s worth, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback is a great option.