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Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class 2008 Review

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Upgrades include some exterior visual tweaks to freshen the A-Class and B-Class, revised interiors and the addition of a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel in the A-Class.

The A180 CDI costs $39,990 and is available with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic.

For the first time an active parking assist reversing system is also available in the both the A and B Class.

The system is $4680 option on the A170 and A 180 CDI as part of a `metro' pack that includes CVT automatic, cruise control and 12-volt socket in the luggage compartment.

The system is standard on the A200 three and five-door and turbo.

On the B Class the same system costs $4160 on the B180 CDI and B200 as part of the same option pack but comes standard on the B200 turbo.

The parking system uses ultrasonic sensors to identify suitable parking spaces and then automatically guides the car into the space.

It is similar to that available in some Volkswagen models.

Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman, David McCarthy, expects a strong take up of the new parking system as well as the new turbo-diesel in the A-Class.

“We think the A180 CDI will attract more people to the brand,” he says.

Both A and B-Class sales have dipped this year by more than 30 per cent in the lead up to arrival of the newer models.

Although the C-Class remains the volume Mercedes seller here, McCarthy says he expects both the A and B to lift volumes, particularly with the availability of the turbo-diesel in the A-Class.

He believes the A180 CDI will at more than 300 sales to a yearly sales expectation of about 1000 A-Classes.

The new 80kW/250Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel A-Class is the sixth model in the brand's entry lineup and shares its engine with the B-Class.

In the A180 CDi it hits 100km/h in 10.8 seconds and delivers peak power at 4200 revs and peak torque between 1600 and 2600 revs.

The frugal diesel has a combined fuel economy figure of 5.2 litres/100km.

Like all A-Class models, the A180 CDI boasts a comprehensive safety story with electronic stability control, anti-skid brakes, brake assist, acceleration skid control, eight airbags, and a full-sized spare wheel.

Comfort features include climate control air conditioning, multi-function steering wheel and display, AUDIO 20 sound system, Bluetooth connectivity and a split-fold rear seat.

Moving up a notch, the B-Class gains minor cosmetic updates like its smaller brother, from the bumpers and headlights to the interior seat trim and upgraded audio systems.

The front bumper gets a larger air intake and more aggressive treatment.

The visual upgrades also include body coloured exterior mirrors, door hands and lower side skirts on all models.

Inside, the B-Class, already well known for its roomy interior gets new materials with brushed aluminium highlights on the dashboard.

A reach adjustable steering and hill-start assist also make an appearance.

In common with both the A and B are new flashing brake lights that activate if the driver hits the brakes in an emergency when travelling more than 50km/h.

In the B-Class the hazard warning lights also come on in emergency braking manoeuvres above 70km/h.

Prices for both A and B have risen slightly with the equipment upgrades and fresher looks.

The A-Class is up between $500 and $800 depending on the model and the B-Class has risen $400 across the board.

The entry 1.7-litre A170 coupe costs $35,500, rising to $49,500 for the top-range A200 turbo.

ON THE ROAD

We've never been a huge fan of the A-Class and the changes to the latest model have only reinforced this thinking.

That said, there are plenty of pluses.

It's a great commuter car, nippy around town, frugal and easy to park.

However, at higher speeds on the highway the car's short wheelbase and upright stance shows up some shortcomings that are inherent with building a car like the A-Class.

The little hatch can be buffeted by cross-winds and road noise intrudes rather too much for a Mercedes, even if it's an entry Merc.

The ride is also geared to comfort rather than handling but it must be remembered that this is not a sportscar.

Although the driving position is good, with a broad panorama of the road, the electro-mechanical power steering is numb and feels disconnected to the road.

However, on the plus side, the A-Class has impeccable safety credentials with a five-star crash rating and impressive arsenal of active and passive safety gear.

It is well build and provides a feeling of being carved from stone while the interior ambience is appropriate to the brand.

The new 80kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel works well in the A-Class. It provides plenty of low and mid-range response and a combined fuel figure of 5.2 litres/100km.

As peak torque of 250Nm is delivered from 1600 revs the little hatch is reasonably perky off the mark and can keep up with freeway traffic.

The CVT auto works well with the diesel too, providing just the right response at any speed.

Given the price points of the range the A-Class makes a reasonably alternative.

But there are still many other small European hatches that deliver more driver involvement, equally impressive amounts of room and also have that crucial Euro badge to impress the neighbours.

 

Pricing guides

$8,855
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$5,500
Highest Price
$12,210

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
A170 Avantgarde 1.7L, PULP, CVT AUTO $7,400 – 11,440 2008 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2008 A170 Avantgarde Pricing and Specs
A180 CDI Avantgarde 2.0L, Diesel, CVT AUTO $7,700 – 11,990 2008 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2008 A180 CDI Avantgarde Pricing and Specs
A180 CDI Classic 2.0L, Diesel, CVT AUTO $6,900 – 10,670 2008 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2008 A180 CDI Classic Pricing and Specs
A180 CDI Elegance 2.0L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $7,200 – 11,110 2008 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2008 A180 CDI Elegance Pricing and Specs
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.