After being envious of other countries that have been enjoying the Mercedes-Benz A-Class for some time already, Canada finally joins in on the fun with the arrival of the model on local shores earlier this year. Available in both sedan and hatchback form, I got a chance to take the latter out for a proper road test.
Although technically an entry-level model, the majority of passengers I took along on a drive commented on how premium the A 250 variant I was driving looks and feels.
“The new A-Class embodies the next stage in our design philosophy of Sensual Purity and has the potential to usher in a new design era,” says Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Daimler AG.
“With clear contours and sensual surfaces, we present advanced technologies that awaken emotions. Form and body are what remain when creases and lines are reduced to the extreme. The interior represents modern luxury at a level previously unattained in this class, and translates intelligent technology into an emotional overall experience.”
The grille is particularly eye grabbing, composed of a large three-point emblem flanked by two blades and surrounded with a series of metallic “pins” giving a 3-D texture. A low sloping hood, chunky fenders, minimal wheel gap and large 18-inch wheels give an undeniably sporty appearance, however I think the liftgate — which isn’t powered — takes a bit of the sleekness away. As much as I love five doors, I think from an elegance standpoint, four is more fitting here.
Speaking of eye grabbing, the optional dual 10.25-inch high-definition floating monitors in the cabin are drop-dead gorgeous. Combining an instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment display, the setup allows for a minimalistic and modern dashboard area. Other interior highlights include plenty of matte open-pore wood trim and five alloy aviation-inspired circular air vents shaped like turbines. One area that suffers aesthetically is the upholstery — the stiff faux leather isn’t fooling anybody.
Mercedes-Benz chose the A-Class to debut the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system. Offering a plethora of features, a few include artificial intelligence capable of adapting and learning the more it interacts with users, and the ability to recognize conversational speech to execute commands like modifying the climate control.
All A 250s utilize a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission. The amount of power may seem low by today’s standards, but the amount of get-up-and go certainly surprised me once the turbo spooled up. Manually shifting the DCT via the steering wheel paddles is a joy.
Sitting on aluminum-intensive McPherson front suspension and four-link rear, handling is responsive and agile providing great fun on winding bits of road. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A 250 starts at MSRP $35,990.