Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A-Class Act; the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Has Traditionally Sold to a High Proportion of Female Motorists. but Will This Improved Third Generation Version Have as Strong an Appeal to Women? JUNE NEARY Decides

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A-Class Act; the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Has Traditionally Sold to a High Proportion of Female Motorists. but Will This Improved Third Generation Version Have as Strong an Appeal to Women? JUNE NEARY Decides

Article excerpt

Byline: JUNE NEARY

THE improved third generation Mercedes A-Class distils the essence of its famous brand and puts it into a compact five-door hatch.

Offering distinctive looks and a quality feel, the miniature Merc has proved a hit with consumers, but it's needed to up its game in the face of tougher competition from key rivals in the premium compact hatch segment like Audi's A3 and BMW's rejuvenated 1 Series.

Hence this revised version, with its smarter looks, extra equipment and greater efficiency. This MK3 model A-Class has always offered much more of a sporty drive than its predecessors but many reviewers thought that the original version of this car was just a tad too sporty.

It certainly offered a firmer ride than some buyers were expecting. Hence Mercedes' decision with this improved model to offer all variants from 'sport' trim upwards with a 'dynamic select' drive dynamics system able to offer a softer 'comfort' suspension setting at the press of a button.

The set-up also offers 'sport', 'eco' and 'individual' options, all of which, like the 'comfort' setting, also modify throttle, steering and auto gearchange response.

The engine range is much as before, though small tweaks have been made to improve efficiency. At the foot of the petrol range lie the 122bhp A180 and 156bhp A200 models, with a 218PS A250 variant available for those seeking more power but not able to stretch up to the flagship Mercedes-AMG A45 4MATIC hot hatch version.

Many though, will want a diesel, probably the frugally-minded A180d with 109bhp, but maybe also the A200d model with 136bhp. There's also an A220d derivative with 177bhp if you need more power but still want to fuel from the black pump.

This third generation A-Class delivered a design that was longer, wider and lower than before, with sharply defined edges and tautly-drawn convex and concave surfaces which seem to constantly change as the light catches them. Not too much has changed in this regard, except at the front where there's a smarter, more angular front bumper below a standard 'diamond' front grille. …

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