2016 Mercedes A-Class Review
2016 Mercedes A-Class – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

2016 Mercedes A-Class Review

Car Tested: 2016 Mercedes A-Class A200d; Road Test No. 657

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 35.27 lakhs

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class now gets a mid-life facelift, thus making it a refreshing package

Out of all the luxury automakers in the Indian market, it is Mercedes-Benz who is really nailing the luxury vehicle market. Testament to this statement is the fact that the automaker has time and again shown its eagerness to capture a major share of the luxury 4-wheeler space by launching relevant products here apart from giving timely updates to its existing product line-up. Today we are sampling the cheapest offering from the German automaker and we’ve driven this car a number of times. The first time we drove it, we loved it as a car but the power output really disappointed us. The next time we drove, Mercedes had added some new features and an updated powertrain. This time around, let’s see what they have done to the popular premium luxury hatchback.

MotorQuest: The Mercedes A-Class is currently in its third generation right now and this model was introduced in 2012 globally. Compared to the previous generation, it is quite a big leap ahead in terms of design, innovation, safety and power. The A-Class is also the cheapest offering from Mercedes in India and offers a ticket to the elite luxury car club.

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The minor changes on the outside can be seen with only a close eye

Exteriors – The Mercedes A-Class looks extremely beautiful and the proportions give the car a very balanced and yet a sporty stance. There is something about this hatch that makes you want to keep staring at it, be it from any angle! This is just one of the few cars that manage to look good from all angles. The 2016 A-Class that we are sampling here has similar exteriors as the previous model, but on a closer look you do realise there are quite a few changes. First up, the vehicle gets redesigned bumpers, full LED headlamps, black finish for the grille and a concealed exhaust tip. The A-Class now comes with 16-inch wheels as standard and they are offered in a sporty shade of black. The A-Class also gets Mercedes’ new nomenclature and instead of being called A200 CDI, it is now called A200d. The premium hatchback also gets a new Elbaite Green colour which is a big attention seeker, though it has mixed reactions from people.

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The interiors reek of luxurious appeal, excellent build all around

Interiors – The cabin of the updated Mercedes A-Class continue to carry the same sporty feel as earlier. The materials used are top-notch and you get quite a luxurious feel when you step inside. The dashboard now gets a soft leather texture while the COMAND system has been updated to the latest version. The screen looks much more livelier now. The seats come with contrast stitching and breaking the monotony are those small colourful inserts. The instrument cluster gets an updated screen while the pop-up screen on the centre console is also a tad bigger and better than the older one. Only the driver’s seat gets power controls and there are no reverse parking sensors, but you do get a reverse camera. The driver’s seat also gets stretchable under-thigh support. Most of the other things remain unchanged and the A-Class still falls a bit short on the space and practicality front, especially at the rear. Planning to go on a weekend trip with your buddies? Make sure you pack light because a considerable amount of boot space gets eaten up by the spare wheel.

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The 2016 model comes with the same 2.1-litre diesel engine

Performance – No changes have been made to the mechanicals of the 2016 Mercedes A-Class. It continues to be powered by the familiar 2.1-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine. The oil burner is tuned to pump out 134 horses and 300 Nm of twisting force. Well, the car potters around at city speeds very comfortably and even though the engine lacks excitement, it does excel beautifully in delivering all the torque in an extremely linear fashion. Put pedal to the metal and the A200d will gallop across 0-100 km/hr in 9.04 seconds according to our extensive VBOX tests. Now, this timing isn’t too quick but it isn’t slow either.

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The motor delivers output in a very linear manner, has good mid-range

The A-Class is a smooth performer and the engine+gearbox combo is very good

Thanks to the linear power delivery, you always have enough power on tap but be sure that the motor will lose some of its steam post hitting the 3500 RPM mark. However, the oil-burner redlines at 4800 RPM. Top speed is claimed to be 210 km/hr. The engine doesn’t really like being revved and it delivers the best output when running in the mid range. The A-Class is good for cruising too, what with 100 km/hr coming up in 7th gear at a notch above 1500 RPM. If you’re giving it the beans, then the A200d hits the ton in 4th gear.

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The 7-speed gearbox is smooth and quick, it also has paddle shifters

The motor is nicely refined but it gets slightly vocal at higher RPMs. The engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox which is very smooth and quick in its actions. The transmission does get a bit confused sometimes though and when you stomp the throttle while cruising, it does take a couple of seconds to figure out what gear to slot in. In D mode with normal throttle inputs, the engine upshifts at a notch below 2000 RPM while in S mode it goes all the way to the redline before upshifting. There are 3 different modes to choose from – Sport, Eco and Manual. The A-Class also has an Eco Start-Stop function which can be turned off manually while in manual mode you can make use of the steering-mounted paddle shifters.

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The A-Class feels very chuckable while ride is also good

Driving Dynamics – The Mercedes A-Class has been a very good handler always and this quality remains consistent in the 2016 model too. The steering is very direct and weighs up nicely as the speed progresses. Ride quality is a bit stiff but the 16-inch wheels really help matters. The high profile rubber tackles uneven and broken tarmac without breaking a sweat and the A-Class feels easy to drive on what we call roads. Dealers do offer bigger wheels as options but that comes at the cost of ride quality. On the braking front, the hatchback performs nicely as expected and it sheds speeds without any sort of unnecessary drama.

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Long list of safety features; Mercedes’ after-sales is excellent

Safety and After Sales Service – On the safety front, the 2016 Mercedes A-Class comes loaded to the brim with features like ATTENTION ASSIST, Adaptive Brake Control System, ABS, ESP, Acceleration Skid Control and six airbags. Mercedes is also known to have excellent service quality in India and their dealerships provide customers with a very good experience, thus making the 3-pointed star a joy to own.

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The A-Class is excellent for those with a small family or alone drivers

Verdict – The Mercedes A-Class is a really good car if you have your priorities right. If style, features, luxury and driving fun are on your must-haves list, this is the car to buy! The car lacks a bit on the practicality front so stay warned about that though. If space isn’t your concern, then the A-Class makes perfect sense for someone who wants an entry-level luxury vehicle. If you really want extra space, then, well, you would have to move up the ladder a bit and grab an entry-level luxury SUV or something. But, not moving away from the topic, the A-Class is a nice-to-have package and the 2016 model adds some really appealing and useful stuff.

If you’re going to drive the car on your own, the Mercedes A-Class is an awesome bet. If you’re looking for a chauffeur-driven vehicle, you might want to look somewhere else.

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The Mercedes A-Class can be your ticket to the rich boys club

What’s Cool

* Still manages to look equally beautiful and attractive
* Handling is fun, ride quality isn’t bad either
* Comes with useful improvements in this latest update

What’s Not So Cool

* Lack of space at the rear and limited boot capacity

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The large 3-pointed star will surely turn the neighbours green with envy

Testers’ Note:

“The A-Class is one of my favourite Mercedes models and naturally the 45 AMG variant is what I would like to drive. The mid-life facelift doesn’t drastically change the package but since this Mercedes hatchback has little competition, there isn’t much the company needs to do anyways. Yes more power (read GLA spec) would have been nice considering cheaper hatchbacks are getting more powerful but otherwise this A is the best yet.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“I have always loved the A-Class for its looks. It really appeals to the younger generation like me. The new model gets mild updates to the exteriors while the green colour is quite funky. The interiors are supremely luxurious and the equipment list is pretty long too. I really loved the car for its sharp handling and while it could have done with a bit more power, it still is a very appealing buy in its segment.” – Parth Gohil, Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Further Reading –

2015 Mercedes A-Class Review
Mercedes A-Class Long Term Review
Mercedes A-Class vs BMW 1-Series vs Audi Q3 S
Mercedes A-Class vs Fiat 500 Abarth
Mercedes A-Class Edition 1 Review