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Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 review

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It’s no secret that Mercedes-Benz Australia wants to compete in the affordable small-car market in this country. Well, in the top end of the affordable market - you wouldn't expect the iconic German luxury marque wanting to be down amongst the cut-throat entry-level Asian cars.

This small Mercedes-Benz will appeal to the young and the young at heart. A combination of style and image means that something like 1000 Aussie buyers have already shown a serious interest in it, an interest likely to result in many names on dotted lines. If you’re halfway interested it might be an idea to get in touch with your local Mercedes dealer soon to avoid a waiting list.

In September an extra-hot A45 AMG will be introduced. The ’45’ doesn’t stand for the engine size but to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the founding of AMG, the hot ‘tuning’ arm of the Mercedes-Benz group. Expect a price tag in the vicinity of $80,000.

Value

We attended the global launch of the A-Class in Europe midway through last year. Now the car has made it downunder - and has a price list starting at just $35,600 plus on-roads for the A 180.

Despite that low price, for its upmarket class that is, the Mercedes A-Class is certainly not a stripped down special aimed at pulling customers into the showroom in the hope of selling them.

Every model in the range has alloy wheels, cruise control, sports seats, a trip computer, a minimum of six speakers in the audio system, active park assist and a reversing camera, and an electric parking brake.

The A-Class is almost an iPhone on wheels with the way it lets you communicate and/or entertain its occupants. Expect the features to become available on the bigger Benz models soon, but the A-Class has them first.

Technology

All are automatics, using a seven-speed double-clutch transmission. Power comes from a choice of turbo-petrol or turbo-diesel engines. The petrol is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit in two stages of tune; producing 90 kW of power and 200 Nm of torque in the A 180, and 115 kW / 250 Nm in the A 200.
The A 200 diesel’s peak figures are 100 kW and 300 Nm.

We reported on the A 250 Sport two weeks ago on a separate launch. Its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine has 155 kW and 350 Nm.

Design

The third-generation A-Class has moved in a completely new direction – from being quirky at its 1997 launch to becoming a leading-edge contender for top marks in the automotive fashion scene.

New Mercedes A-Class will sell on style alone. Just look at the bold front that carries more than passing styling cues to the high-performance AMG Gullwing SLS and Roadster. Then admire the way the style lines on the doors swoop up boldly to almost join the taillights.

The all-new A-Class isn’t just about style; under that shapely skin it has the features you just don’t see in this class. Because in luxury, connectivity and safety it’s as well equipped as its big brothers.

Safety

Mercedes has fitted the A-Class with multiple crash avoidance items of the type previously only found in much more expensive Mercs. Lane departure, blind-spot and tailgating warnings are all offered. Should everything still go wrong, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has occupant protection systems to minimise harm to occupants.

Driving and verdict

You are given the choice of multiple driving modes ranging from sedate to sporting. This isn’t really intended to be a sports hatch – at least not until you get into the A 250 – but if a keen driver turns on all the correct settings in the lower cost models it gives them plenty of driving pleasure.

New Mercedes A-Class has a nicely balanced feel and almost gives the dynamics of a rear-wheel-drive car. Throttle control is easy and the steering feedback is excellent. Yet, even with the sports setting turned on the car didn’t lose a lot in comfort, even on some of the interesting backroad Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific chose for our initial drive program out of Melbourne.

Pricing guides

$28,700
Based on 115 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$18,990
Highest Price
$49,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
A45 AMG 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $25,700 – 34,100 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 A45 AMG Pricing and Specs
A180 BE 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $11,200 – 16,390 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 A180 BE Pricing and Specs
A200 CDI BE 1.8L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $13,300 – 19,250 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 A200 CDI BE Pricing and Specs
A250 Sport 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $16,700 – 23,210 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 A250 Sport 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.