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Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015]

4 reviews | Write a review
Discontinued
Last recorded price : 26.2 - 28.45 Lakhs
Mercedes-Benz has discontinued the A-Class [2013-2015] and the car is out of production.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] Review

When Mercedes-Benz launched the A-Class in India it was a revelation. In a market where hatchbacks were (and still are to a large extent) perceived as budget offerings, the A-Class came as a breath of fresh German air. It opened up the eyes of a first-time luxury car buyer to the fact that premium did not always have to equate with a large and boxy sedan or SUV.

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Introduction

When Mercedes-Benz launched the A-Class in India it was a revelation. In a market where hatchbacks were (and still are to a large extent) perceived as budget offerings, the A-Class came as a breath of fresh German air. It opened up the eyes of a first-time luxury car buyer to the fact that premium did not always have to equate with a large and boxy sedan or SUV.The car had pretty much everything going for it. The looks were fantastic and upmarket, it was fun to drive and it came with the assured reliability that German cars are well known for. However, the ground that these characteristics covered for the car to become a decent success was pulled back by an inadequate feature list, harsh ride and most of all, an underpowered engine. Mercedes managed to take care of the former two when it launched the A-Class Edition 1 in 2014 by adding the extra bits and increasing the ride height to cope with our ‘excellent roads’. It has now taken care of point three by introducing the A200 CDI to the A-Class’ lineup for the Indian market.

The A200 gets the same 2143cc four-cylinder diesel engine that sits in the A180 CDI but it has now been tuned for a higher output. This is the same engine that powers a variety of models (in various states of tune) in the German automaker’s stable right from the A-Class A200 to E-Class E250 CDI.

Exterior

There are no changes to the exterior design of the A-Class A 200 CDI. It’s a very good looking car and always gives off a sporty appeal thanks to the many racy lines in the side profile as well as the low roofline.

The fascia looks premium thanks to the diamond grille and Avantgarde style logo. The projector headlights get LED eyebrows which aid in the sporty appeal and also give off a menacing appearance when seen at night. Since the A200 CDI is only available in the top-spec version, the panoramic sunroof and rear spoiler are standard fitments.
Mercedes has made the rear of the car a smooth and clean affair with minimal badging or chrome bits to up the premium factor. This is pretty much the only place where you see a change which is basically the badging of the vehicle.
Its major rivals are the BMW 1 Series and the Volvo V40 Cross Country as they are the only premium hatchbacks in this price range. The Mini range of vehicles sits in a higher price bracket. The A-Class is definitely the winner when it comes to looks thanks to the sporty and non-conservative design that the other two vehicles have. 

Interior

Mercedes-Benz has not made any changes to the cabin. The layout remains the same as the model we saw in 2013 but now all the added extras that we saw in the Edition-1 are standard fitment. This includes electric seat adjustment for the front passenger, reversing camera and the panoramic sunroof which has successfully managed to make the all-black cabin a little less claustrophobic.

They have also added a gear shift indicator in the instrument cluster. However, what we found still missing was the presence of rear AC vents. I must admit that the climate control was pretty effective in cooling the cabin. The insulation package seem to be of a good quality as the cabin remained pretty cool even after the car spent close to 1.5 hours parked in the afternoon sun.

The COMAND system is still the same from the previous models and our test vehicle was not equipped with the navigation package for us to test out.
The music system lacked the sound adjustment options but was good enough for our four man crew to sing along to a very clear rendering of Vishal Dadlani’s Dance Basanti from the movie Ungli.

Engine & performance

While the A-Class has managed to be a good product in all other departments, its diesel engine, which is the mainstay when it comes to the numbers game, was underpowered. In the A180 CDI the 2143cc four-cylinder engine produced 109bhp and 250Nm of torque. Now in the A200 CDI these figures have been increased to 134bhp and 300Nm finally giving the A-Class a decent amount of push to match the image of the car.

The gearbox has been carried over from the older engine setup and is still the 7G-Tronic dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters that sends power to the front wheels.
The engine is noisy and the clatter of the four-cylinder mill can be heard within the cabin, something quite unexpected from a manufacturer like Mercedes-Benz who has a reputation for well insulated cabins. This is something we hope that they will address with subsequent models of the A-Class.  It has never been a great sounding mill but manages to put up just enough of a show when you are driving spiritedly.
A significant chunk of the torque is available at the bottom end and you can cruise to 100kmph at just 1800rpm in the seventh gear. The seven-speed DCT has short ratios for the first few gears and has then stretched out the higher ones to increase the torque spread. This setup also means it will be very convenient to drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic where the throttle input is required to be minimal or even none at all.   
This arrangement also means the engine is also quite fuel efficient as we were able to achieve between 15kmpl to 18kmpl both on our way to Goa as well as on the way back where we encountered a significant amount of traffic making their way back after the May Day weekend.
While the gearbox puts the whole driving experience a bit on the side of efficiency it is a bit slow to respond in the Eco mode. In manual mode it holds the gear and only shifts up when you tug on the paddles. The most fun of the three is the sport mode which shifts gears either when you change or until it reaches the redline allowing you to access the power band for some spirited driving.

The engine is an excellent unit and is the one thing that was missing from the A-Class and is finally doing justice to the sporty nature of the hatchback. It slots in at third place with regard to its rivals when it comes down to pure numbers but is good enough for the Indian market and our road conditions.   

Ride & Handling

One of the major qualms that a lot of the Indian motoring media had when the A-Class arrived here was that the ride was too harsh. The car had low ground clearance and a stiff setup, something that was optimal for the smoother roads of Europe but not suited to our ‘moon craters’. Consequently this made the A-Class a fun car to drive as it was able to hold its own. Mercedes-Benz managed to rectify this when it launched the A-Class Edition 1 where it raised the ground clearance as well as softened the suspension a bit.

It seems that they have managed to find a decent balance between both as the car is still a lot of fun to drive but now more comfortable in terms of ride quality. The increased ground clearance meant that we did not have to gingerly navigate each of the car’s wheels over the speed breakers to avoid scraping the underbody. However that being said, you can still hear and feel the muted thuds as you hit pot holes and enter patches of bad road. The steering weighs up but is dead as you increase speed and it provides you with no feedback both at high speeds as well as low speeds.

Verdict

At Rs 28.45 lakh (Ex-showroom Delhi) it is priced a whole lakh over the Edition 1 but still costs less than the equivalent models of the BMW 1 Series as well as the Volvo V40 Cross Country and in the larger scheme of things with the refreshed diesel engine seems far more useable in real world scenarios.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class introduced India to the world of premium hatchbacks and opened up the brand to a younger set of buyers who, until its arrival, stayed away from the brand due to its elderly image. 
The product underwent its first update last year and now the addition of this new engine option has finally completed the sporty image of the vehicle and gives the Three-Pointed Star’s young buyers the kind of performance they expect from a car like the A-Class.  

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Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] Colours

A-Class [2013-2015] is available/sold in the following colours in India.

  • Jupiter Red
  • Cirrus White
  • Pollar Silver
* Colours shown are indicative and may vary slightly from actual car colours.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] Expert Reviews

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Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] User Reviews

Good Looking car

for Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] on 29-Jun-2013 by Veer Singh

Exterior Great looks, can say one of the best cars in small car segment as far as exterior looks are concerned. Interior (Features, Space & Comfort) Very good and innovative...

Most desirable hatchback

for Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] on 25-Jun-2013 by Atul Solanki

Exterior Looking excellant stylish,aerodynemics perfect,sporty look,attractive dimond grill with amg style star in the centre,head lights very sharp. Interior (Features, Space &...

Good car with great features

for Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] on 14-Mar-2013 by Bhanu_26

Exterior Great looks, can say one of the best cars in small car segment as far as exterior looks are concerned. Interior (Features, Space & Comfort) Very good and innovative...

A Class all series

for Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] on 22-Dec-2012 by Koshy Km

Exterior Exotic, aerodynamic finish, glittering, good vision for both distant and near vehicles that are approaching. Interior (Features, Space & Comfort) Ssatisfactory, well the...

Mercedes-Benz A-Class [2013-2015] in News

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Mercedes-Benz will launch the facelifted version of the A-Class hatchback in India tomorrow. The 2016 model gets the new elbaite green colour, few cosmetic changes and a...

07 Dec 2015 by Ninad Mirajgaonkar | Read more

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