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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 205 reviews
4.1 out of 5

  • Practicality
  • Performance
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  • Value For Money
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.

  • Practicality
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4.7 out of 5
Ivan Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive Auto

Really like the interior of the car, modern and lots of gadgets. Very comfortable ride and quick. Was considering Audi and BMW, but glad with the choice I made and would not swap.

  • Practicality
  • Performance
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  • Comfort
  • Value For Money
4.6 out of 5
Brian Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive Auto

exactly what I want in a car like this, cannot wait until it is time to renew my lease and change to an electric one.

  • Practicality
  • Performance
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3.9 out of 5
Andrew Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A180 AMG Line Executive Auto

The vehicle is a small compact car but has all the latest technology and has a great engine performance. Never gone wrong

  • Practicality
  • Performance
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  • Value For Money
4.7 out of 5
Lesley Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A35 4Matic Premium Plus Auto

Easy handling, ability to change from sport to comfort with it still holding the road well

  • Practicality
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3.9 out of 5
Joanne Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A180d Sport Executive Auto

Need to be higher up, the vehicle is great but a little low for me.

  • Practicality
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5.0 out of 5
Zoe Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive Auto

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  • Value For Money
3.0 out of 5
Helen Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive Auto

To small under power engine

  • Practicality
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4.3 out of 5
Steve Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A250e AMG Line Auto

The car is great, economically and from a handling perspective. The one big dislike is that I found the paint work is not very good and on my first year have found some nasty chips on the bonnet which I would not have expected from a car of this class. With COVID I have not travelled as much and if I compare that to my previous lease where I had not chips or minor ones then it really looks bad considering the miles I done prior to covid

  • Practicality
  • Performance
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4.9 out of 5
Emma Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A180d AMG Line Executive Auto

Love my Mercedes a class amg. The interior is gorgeous, it's great on diesel too. Only thing I have noticed is a slight rattle with the parcel shelf every now and again but other than that its great

  • Practicality
  • Performance
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  • Value For Money
5.0 out of 5
Andrew Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Premium Auto

  • Practicality
  • Performance
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  • Value For Money
5.0 out of 5
Kevin Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive Auto

Great company to lease from, always at hand when you need them! Smooth delivery and great car. The car is a beautiful drive, very smooth and comfortable & looks great inside and out!

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3.6 out of 5
Sebastian Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Premium Plus Auto

Had a few reliability issues and the local Mercedes dealership has been quite hard work, therefore would be reluctant to take on a Mercedes again in the future.

  • Practicality
  • Performance
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4.1 out of 5
Amy Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A180d AMG Line

I love my Merce extremely comfortable, excellent effigy fuel consumption. Feel safe as houses too. Think I’m a mercedes driver for life now 😊

  • Practicality
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2.6 out of 5
Graham Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback A200 AMG Line Executive

Uncomfortable compared to Audi & knowhere near as nice to drive

  • Practicality
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