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Mercedes-Benz targets entry-level luxury buyers with A-Class sedan Featured

Posted On Thursday, 14 November 2019 00:08 Written by
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The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a strong entry-level luxury sedan offering that may bring in new buyers to the brand. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a strong entry-level luxury sedan offering that may bring in new buyers to the brand. Photo by Matt Myftiu/AutoTechReviews.com

When the term luxury vehicle is thrown out, many people automatically envision something far out of the reach of the average car buyer, pushing toward the six-figure price range.

But in reality, on the lower end of the luxury scale are many vehicles that are well within reach for people who don’t fit into the 1 percent class.

With that in mind, Mercedes-Benz introduced an all-new vehicle for 2019, the A-Class (aka the A220). It’s an attempt to draw new and younger buyers to the brand as they battle BMW, Audi, Lexus and other luxury brands for category supremacy.

I recently tested an A-Class and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up.

LOOKS

The A-Class I tested featured distinct Mercedes-Benz styling, a classic look punctuated by that distinct Benz logo prominently displayed on the very sharp-looking front grille. Overall, its sleek but unflashy exterior look contrasts with the bolder styles you’ll find on other luxury vehicles, such as the Lexus sedan lineup.

The rear seat inside the A-Class is pretty tight, but about average for the segment. This is a compact sedan, so know going in that it’s not going to be extra roomy.

The materials used inside the A-Class are of very high quality. You don’t get something cheap just because this isn’t the top-level vehicle in the line-up.

A unique touch on my test vehicle was the optional red and black leather interior, highlighted by brushed aluminum trim.

The attractive industrial look to the dashboard is typical of a Benz and fits the vehicle well. You also get a panoramic sunroof, split folding rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, plus LED headlamps and taillamps.

There are many options that can spruce up the look of the A-Class, but be careful because they’ll quickly grow the final price if you go too far with it. Among optional equipment are: 19-inch Black AMG multi-spoke wheels ($500); Heated and ventilated front seats ($1,030); and 64-color interior ambient lighting ($310).

HOW’S THE RIDE?

While far from the most powerful Benz you can buy, the A-Class does an impressive job with its 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission, the power plant delivers 188 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque. The A-Class offers front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options. 

A Benz should offer a tremendous ride quality that makes you look forward to your time behind the wheel, and this vehicle delivers just that. The A-Class really gets moving, especially when you engage Sport mode (Sport, Comfort, Eco and individual modes are offered). Zero to 60 times are around 6 seconds.

It’s a powerful ride for the class, yet remains smooth and enjoyable too. It’s not the rocket that higher end Benzes can be, but better than most in the class and will please driving enthusiasts. There is some exterior noise that penetrates the cabin, but for the most part it’s well-sealed.

I will say that I was not a fan of the unique design of the A-Class shifter, but I got used to it eventually.. It is operated through a lever behind the steering wheel and completely removed from the center console, which gets infotainment controls.

 
TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

Lots of great tech and safety features are offered on the A-Class, but be aware that much of it is optional, so you’ll have to pay for these upgrades in your experience and that will increase the final price. Many of the upgrades are well worth it, though.

Some of the highlights for me were the very cool front-facing camera, a unique swiping method for changing radio stations that worked quite well, and excellent response to voice commands for both music and navigation. The MBUX infotainment system is one I really enjoyed using as a whole, and leagues above some options in the luxury class.

The A-Class is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for phone integration, features Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music and calls, and includes rain-sensing windshield wipers and keyless start.

Mercedes me connect services are also offered, offering access to vehicle data and some controls like remote start from your phone.

Standard safety features include: Advanced airbag protection system; Active Brake Assist; Anti-lock brakes; Electronic Stability Program; Brake Assist System; Adaptive; Braking Technology; and Rearview Camera, plus M-B Emergency call service.

Among optional tech packages are the Parking Assistance Package, with its Surround View System, which is worth the $1,090 cost.

Another one that is very helpful is the Driver Assistance Package ($2,250), which features a boatload of features, such as: Active Brake Assist with Cross Traffic Function; Active Steering Assist; Active Blind Spot Assist; Active Lane Keeping and Lane Change Assist; Active Speed Limit Assist; Active Emergency Stop Assist; Evasive Steering Assist; and more.

Overall, The safety features are helpful, but some can overreact to the point where they’re a bit annoying.

The navigation system, which worked very well in my testing, will run you $1,150. Other options include a head-up display (nice, but not a must, for $990); and a powerful Burmester surround sound system ($850).


MPG
Official fuel mileage numbers are 24 city/34 highway/28 combined, and that’s on track with what I experienced in real life. These are class-leading numbers for this compact luxury sedan segment, another reason to strongly consider the A-Class.

PRICE
Considering that the average price for a new vehicle has grown to nearly $37K in recent years, buyers may be pleasantly surprised that this luxury sedan starts about $35K. That price is actually lower than most competitors’ starting price in this segment, too.

Be aware though, that with all the optional packages, you can push the price way up. My loaded test vehicle came in at nearly $52K, so think hard about what you really need on the vehicle to help stay on budget.

A 4-year/50K mile new vehicle warranty is included, along with 24-hour roadside assistance.

BOTTOM LINE

The 2019 A-Class is a strong introductory luxury sedan to the Mercedes-Benz brand for younger, more budget-conscious buyers. It competes well in its segment for both performance and design, and has strong technology features.

This was a wise addition to the lineup by Mercedes-Benz, as today’s A-class buyer may grow into E-class and S-class buyers in years to come.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 sedan
  • Price as tested: $51,925 (starts around $35K)
  • Best feature: Driving experience, strong tech features, sharp design 
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars 
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Buyers seeking a solid entry-level luxury sedan
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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