Skip advert
Advertisement

Mercedes-Benz A-class (2012-2018) review – ride and handling

A conventional hatch now, the A-class fights hard in the premium hatchback class

Evo rating
Price
from £19,990
  • Neat interior, head-turning looks and comparatively cheap to own and run
  • Dynamically it doesn’t live up to its visual promise, space and comfort are issues

Mercedes has worked hard to address one of the biggest shortcomings of the A-class in its 2015 facelift, namely the ride. Optional £595 adaptive dampers can be fitted to AMG Line and A250 models and bring with them a choice of Comfort and Sport options for the damping.

It makes a significant difference to the A-class's ride, with the car now exhibiting a much smoother and compliant setup over lumps and bumps. It still isn't the best in the segment however, with repeated undulations revealing a still firm secondary ride. Sport mode in particular is still far too firm and best avoided.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Also added in the 2015 facelift was a Dynamic select rotor which allows you to switch between muliple driving modes including Eco, Comfort, Sport and Invidual, which when the variable rate dampers are specced while let you seperate out engine and suspension characteristics.

Body roll is well managed, with the A-class staying relatively flat through corners and giving it a nicely agile feel which some rivals fail to exhibit. Grip is decent too, the front-end resisting understeer so the A’s stance is largely neutral, only pushing its nose wide if you’re carrying too much speed. Naturally the traction and stability control systems help keep everything in check, these working with rather than against you on the road. 

Indeed, while the A-class can prove to be surprisingly enjoyable it lacks the keener responses of its BMW 1-series rival. Nor does it offer the sort of fine balance of its rear-drive adversary. The 4Matic models add plenty of traction, but do little to increase the engagement. The main reason for this seems to be its steering, which lacks any sort of communication or feel. There is a sense that there’s a better chassis underneath than is exhibited on the bread-and-butter models, but the steering detracts from the driving experience, even if it is reasonably accurate.

 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Bugatti Tourbillon revealed – the 1775bhp, V16-engined Chiron successor is here
Bugatti Tourbillon – front
News

Bugatti Tourbillon revealed – the 1775bhp, V16-engined Chiron successor is here

With a naturally aspirated V16, a new carbon chassis and a 273mph top speed Bugatti’s latest hypercar has the GMA T.50 in its sights
20 Jun 2024
Alfa Romeo 4C – the car world's greatest misses
Alfa Romeo 4C
Features

Alfa Romeo 4C – the car world's greatest misses

It had stunning looks and promising hardware, but somehow the 4C didn’t add up to the sum of its parts
20 Jun 2024
Lotus Elise S2 v Toyota MR2 Mk3 v Porsche Boxster S 987: The best affordable mid-engined sports cars
Used mid-engined bargains
Group tests

Lotus Elise S2 v Toyota MR2 Mk3 v Porsche Boxster S 987: The best affordable mid-engined sports cars

Everyone should own a mid-engined car at least once in their life, and the S2 Elise, Mk3 MR2 and 987 Boxster S are brilliant places to start
15 Jun 2024