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Mercedes-Benz A160 2004 Review

Mercedes Benz has upgraded the A-Class Classic, the limited edition version named the Piccadilly.
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BMW launched the 1 Series while Audi revealed its new A3, which will also come in a five-door variety.

Mercedes Benz has upgraded the A-Class Classic, the limited edition version named the Piccadilly. The special package is available on both the A 160 Classic and A 160 long wheelbase and adds remote central locking, luggage cover, leather-covered steering wheel and gear shift lever.

The Piccadilly also comes with 16-inch alloys and two new metallic paint finishes: alpine blue and tropical black (both at no extra cost).

Having not encountered a clutchless manual car that uses an H-pattern style gearbox before, driving the A-Class was a unique experience. The gearbox is more like a standard manual and doesn't use an up/down shifter or paddles.

When the car was picked up, its minders said "it is just like driving an automatic". But after a week of testing the five-speed manual sports transmission with automatic clutch felt more like driving a traditional manual.

Being a manual driver for more than eight years there was an initial tendency to push the "invisible" clutch.

It caused a few giggles from passengers as I got used to keeping my left leg still.

To drive the Piccadilly the driver puts the car in first gear and puts the foot on the accelerator.

The automatic clutch can be heard working its magic. The transition was smooth and the pick-up reasonably quick.

Changing gear follows the normal manual procedure of lifting off the accelerator before selecting a gear, without using the left leg.

This was the same up and down the gears, the only problem getting used to using the handbrake for hill starts again.

The speedometer display shows what gear the car is in.

The A-Class is one of those cars that act like a status symbol. It is the sort of car one drives when things are going well financially, and, with an elevated seating position you literally look down on your fellow motorists.

The 1.6-litre engine is A-Class customers' most popular choice and with 74kW of power and 150Nm of torque the smaller engine has plenty of go under foot.

The A-Class is perfectly suited to city driving and cruises the highways quite well (although it does rev a little high on the freeway). Handling is light and in a recent high-wind storm it was an interesting experience trying to keep it on the straight and narrow at highway speed.

Parking this little vehicle is a breeze.

The A-Class has an extensive features including airconditioning with dust and pollen filter, driver seat height adjustment, heated side mirrors and outside temperature gauge.

The A-Class also features numerous safety additions including anti-lock brakes, brake assist, front and side airbags for driver and front passenger, seat belt force load limiter and emergency pre-tensioners and even an integrated first aid kit.

The A-Class features Benz styling and now with added extras at $34,900 is luxury more people can afford.

Mercedes recently released sneak pics of its new A-Class, due here toward the end of next year. For the first time it will come in a three-door version.

Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
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Range and Specs

A160 Classic 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP SEQ $3,100 – 5,390 2004 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2004 A160 Classic Pricing and Specs
A160 LWB Classic 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $3,700 – 5,940 2004 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2004 A160 LWB Classic Pricing and Specs
A190 LWB Elegance 1.9L, ULP, 5 SP SEQ $4,100 – 6,600 2004 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2004 A190 LWB Elegance Pricing and Specs
A160 Picadilly 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP SEQ $3,800 – 6,160 2004 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2004 A160 Picadilly Pricing and Specs