The all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class trades clever innovation for fashionable conformism, but can the wider and lower hatch cut the mustard, then slather it over its German rivals?
With the all-new Audi A3 Sportback and still-fresh BMW 1 Series tempting premium hatch shoppers, Stuttgart has been behind the game in this hotly contested segment. Now, Mercedes-Benz hopes to shake up the market and capture lost ground with this re-birthed, markedly different A-Class.
CarAdvice has tested the new A-Class in the UK, ahead of its arrival in Australian showrooms in March 2013.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is obviously entirely new. The old A-Class, while roomy and clever, was tall and narrow, to the detriment of its styling and, by extension in this aesthetics-driven segment, popularity. Mini-MPV look, be gone.
There’s a greater focus on youthful ‘cool’ inside, too. You can choose subtle carbon-look inserts across the dash and doors, for example, and the high-set ‘floating’ 14.7cm colour screen and damped-swivelling tri-air vents – the design shared with the SLS AMG – add a level of funkiness to the otherwise conservative interior design. The expected array of Bluetooth, iPod and USB compatibility is standard.
Unfortunately, the driving position is slightly compromised, and the high door sills restrict visibility and, particularly, thanks to the three back-seat headrests, rear vision.
Impressively, however, parking sensors, a reversing camera and an auto reverse-park system will be standard across the range in Australia. Other safety equipment includes nine airbags, ABS, ESC and Collision Prevention Assist, which will automatically stop the A-Class if it detects a collision at less than 30km/h.



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