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Why Lease The A-Class Hatchback?

Photo of Martin Gurdon by: Martin Gurdon

Martin Gurdon is a freelance motoring journalist, writing for the Sunday Telegraph, Evening Standard and Diesel Car magazine.

The Mercedes-Benz A Class started off as a clever supermini, but has morphed into a bigger, top ten selling aspirational hatchback rival to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series.

It’s well liked by Nationwide Vehicle Contracts’ customers – for whom the 180d diesel is the most popular version. They give it four out of five stars for looks, performance, comfort and equipment, with one customer remarking: "My Mercedes is the most comfortable car I have driven. Running costs are great. I cannot fault it and would definitely have another Mercedes. Highly recommended."

Practicality

With its narrow headlamps, big grill and broad rear, the A Class is a distinctive looking five-door hatchback – and there’s also a four-door saloon. Inside you’ll find room for five, just, and four would find it a pleasant environment, with rear passenger head and knee room being pretty good for all but the very lanky. Front seat occupants have plenty of space, the driving position is good, and the car is roomier and has better oddments storage space than its slightly claustrophobic predecessor.

Hatchback load space with the rear seats in place is 370 litres. They have backrests that split three ways when folded forward, creating a 1,210 litre luggage deck, accessed through a broad tailgate. 

Interior

The interior looks sharp and modern, with only a few elements, such as the row of centre console switches feeling slightly cheap.

The dash itself is clever and sophisticated with distinctive turbine air vents and twin-display control centre with screen (available in 7 and 10.25 inch forms), steering wheel and touch pad controls. This offers an apparently endless selection of systems, including voice control, and in some versions sat nav that mixes real world video of roads and junctions with road sign-like virtual reality graphics. This is clever and effective, and like most of the car’s controls intuitive to use. 

The safety kit list is a long one, and includes window and driver’s knee–level airbags together with automatic front passenger airbag deactivation if a child seat is fitted in the front. The A Class has a suite of modern active and passive safety systems including lane keeping, speed limiting and pedestrian detection. The car achieved a five star Euro NCAP crash test rating.

What's it like to drive?

The current A Class appeared in 2018, and other than an expansion of engine choices the car has barely changed since. It’s offered in SE, Sport and best-selling AMG Line trim levels, with a selection of options packages from the £1,395 Executive pack to Premium Plus, costing £3,595.

Engine-wise you’ll find 1.4 and 2.0 petrols, 1.5 and 2.0 diesels, and a plug-in hybrid. There are seven and eight-speed self-shifting transmissions or six-speed manuals.

DAB radio, air conditioning, alloy wheels and keyless entry are all standard, along with the car’s distinctive twin screen, virtual reality instruments. One Nationwide Vehicle Contracts' customer commented: "The gadgets are great and the car looks great inside and out."

The 2-litre diesel 220d AMG Line we drove was a quick car. Think seven secs 0-62 and 146mph top speed (along with a claimed fuel consumption of 65mpg and emissions 114g/km). It had an eight-speed self-shifting transmission that was rapid and smooth. The engine was slightly course when accelerating, but refined at cruising speeds, and provided instant power when required. Wind noise and tyre roar were pleasingly subdued.

Despite being fitted with low profile types and big, twinkly, 18-inch alloy wheels, the car’s ride was firm rather than harsh. It cornered very tidily, aided by quick, accurate steering, and it didn’t roll much when being pushed through bends. The brakes were excellent. As with less powerful A Class models, it has a 45 and half litre fuel tank. About average size-wise for a model in this class. 

Verdict

This is certainly a car with a broad range of qualities and a broad appeal. Very young drivers might well find the insurance prohibitively expensive and would be better off with something like a Citroen C1 supermini, but plenty of people in their later twenties and early thirties are delaying starting driving, and for them, the A Class would make an attractive entrée into car ownership.

Blessed with an aspirational badge, nice to drive, easy to live with and packed with clever features and safety kit, it’s not hard to see why the A Class has won Mercedes so many friends. As one A Class-driving Nationwide Vehicle Contracts' customer said: "The vehicle looks good, is easy to drive and I would happily recommend it." 

Customer Reviews

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback
Average Rating Based on 204 reviews
4.1 out of 5

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3.6 out of 5
Andrew Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A220d AMG Line Auto

Don’t like some of safety features like road lane departure which I find unnerving and dangerous. Pain having to switch this off every time you start up

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4.0 out of 5
Harriet Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A220d AMG Line Executive Auto

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1.7 out of 5
Duncan Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A250e AMG Line Premium Auto

The vehicle is a plug-in hybrid car and does neither very well. The drive system is very jerky and unresponsive when switching between electric and petrol drive systems. The battery is very small and rarely gets more that 15 - 20 mikes range even when fully charged.

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3.4 out of 5
Emma Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A250e AMG Line Executive Auto

I think for the money there are better vehicles out there. I l like the interior of the vehicle, but due to it being a hybrid the fuel tank is small. The seats are also uncomfortable in the front.

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4.0 out of 5
Claire Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Premium Plus Auto

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4.9 out of 5
Samantha Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Premium Plus Auto

Love the car, particularly the interior

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4.7 out of 5
Aliyah Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 Sport Executive Auto

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3.1 out of 5
Paul Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 Sport Executive Auto

The car developed a fault in the first couple of months, the active lane assist is scary as it corrects your driving unnecessarily and I have to disable it everybtime. The sensors are too sensitive and beep as if I am going to hot stuff that isn’t there. The heating controls are random and complicated. The drive itself is excellent. The seatbelt light come on on the main panel even when you have it on and you have to cancel it. The phone connection is confusing and has to be reconnected periodically. The delay on the set up of the multi screen when starting means I’m halfway down the road before I can select anything.

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5.0 out of 5
Adrian Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 Sport Executive Auto

Great looking car with loads of extras. Handles well and the performance is really good.

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4.7 out of 5
Kathryn Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A180 Sport Executive Auto

Good quality build, good to drive and very comfortable. Mercedes after care very good. Servicing costs a little higher than other manufacturers.

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4.3 out of 5
Shaun Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line MY21.5

MB one of best car makers in the world

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2.7 out of 5
Allan Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Auto

Would prefer a more comfortable journey

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4.4 out of 5
Connor Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive

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4.7 out of 5
Paul Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive

The comfort and handling of the vehicle is second to none. The only draw back we found was that the boot space wasnt as much as in other vehicles we have had.

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3.6 out of 5
Andrew Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive

Too small. If I could I would love to get a bigger car prior to expiry of my lease. Lovely car tho.

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