Mercedes-Benz A-Class A180 2023 first drive

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Inside, the solidly built and richly finished A-Class feels adjacent much upmarket, peculiarly erstwhile trimmed successful our car’s caller Sage Grey leather-effect upholstery that’s made from 90% recycled materials. The widescreen MBUX infotainment-and-instrument clump looks arsenic slick arsenic ever and gets the latest upgrades from the caller C-Class, including the quality to larn your preferences and with improved functionality of the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice-control function. 

The second surely works efficaciously and intuitively, which is simply a bully thing, due to the fact that operating the strategy manually utilizing the aggregate haptic controls connected the Nappa leather-trimmed instrumentality (also from the C-Class) is simply a fiddly and frustrating acquisition that tin effect successful your eyes being disconnected the roadworthy for alternatively longer than is desirable.

This contented is exacerbated by the information the aged car’s touchpad controller that sat connected the centre console betwixt the beforehand seats has been ditched, deemed unnecessary erstwhile you tin entree the strategy successful truthful galore different ways. Only the positive side, its removal has freed up abstraction for a ample and alternatively utile lidded cubby that besides holds the caller USB-C port.

Get moving and the A-Class feels overmuch arsenic it did before, because, well, 48V electrickery aside, it is.

In the 134bhp A180 tested, the other torque of the ISG delivers a invited boost to the four-pot erstwhile accelerating from debased revs, but its efforts are comparatively little and outright impulse is modest. Even successful the heavier B-Class, the 161bhp 200 enactment feels acold much potent.

On the positive side, it’s a comparatively refined unit, and portion it sounds a small strained erstwhile extended, it’s ne'er intrusive. It’s besides aided by the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox (the diesels get an eight-speeder) that, somewhat anxious step-off aside, is creaseless and responsive.

There person been nary changes to the chassis, which means each the aforesaid qualities and quirks remain, though wide the A-Class is nicely resolved.  You beryllium debased successful the car, the steering is speedy and people weighted, turn-in wound is crisp and it tin beryllium hustled done corners with accuracy and precise small assemblage roll. The BMW 1 Series and Ford Focus are much engaging, but there’s small incorrect with the mode the A-Class attacks an apex. It’s not precisely an uplifting experience, but it is poised, grippy and predictable and seldom upset by mid-corner bumps, despite the comparatively steadfast ride.

Ah yes, the ride. As before, there’s a small inconsistency, the A-Class coping good with smoothly surfaced undulations astatine velocity but feeling brittle and stiff-legged astir municipality oregon implicit sharper imperfections, a concern nary uncertainty exacerbated by our AMG Line model’s modular 18in alloy wheels wrapped successful low-profile 225/45 rubber. There’s besides a astonishing magnitude of roadworthy roar, spoiling the different awesome isolation of the cabin.

Speaking of which, the A-Class provides conscionable arsenic overmuch practicality arsenic you would expect for its footprint. Those successful the backmost get decent caput and limb room, but the tiny broadside windows and high-backed beforehand seats mean you consciousness a small hemmed in.

Elsewhere, the 355-litre footwear is lone mean for the people and its versatility is undermined by the information that immoderate underfloor retention abstraction is taken up by immoderate of the 48V gubbins and a subwoofer for the dependable system.

Despite the reasonably constricted changes, the A-Class remains a classy and composed contender successful the under-pressure family-hatch segment. Is it capable to musculus its mode betwixt the EVs and SUVs and lift it backmost into apical 10 contention? That’s astir apt a pugnacious ask, and that’s earlier you see prices that commencement astatine a hefty £31,880, which is astir £1000 much than an equivalent 1 Series.

Still, with its blend of premium appeal, classy looks and a comparatively polished driving experience, it has arsenic bully a accidental arsenic immoderate of its accepted rivals arsenic the ICE car faces its twilight years.