This new entry-level sedan overflows with entertainment and safety features
Mercedes-Benz brings the A-Class compact sedan to the U.S. as it offers a more affordable entry into the prestige brand’s lineup. It slots below the CLA, a compact car that has been effective in bringing new, younger buyers to the brand. Mercedes is doubling down on that strategy by bringing the A-Class to these shores.
Despite its humble position in the brand’s pecking order, the 2019 A-Class will offer significant cutting-edge technology, such as the automaker’s latest infotainment system and advanced driver-assist features, all of which should appeal to upwardly mobile tech-savvy shoppers.
Built in Mexico, this car will arrive in the U.S. in early 2019. Previous A-Class models have been sold around the world since 1997.
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
What it competes with: Acura ILX and Audi A3
What it looks like: A cross between a Mercedes-Benz CLA and a Toyota Corolla
Powertrains: 188-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Base price: $32,500
On-sale date: Early 2019
The A-Class sedan has a stance much like the Toyota Corolla. And it’s more upright than the lower-slung CLA. Mercedes claims the smooth shape enables the A-Class to be the most aerodynamic production car in the world. That would be no small feat.
The front is decidedly Mercedes, with a large grille that resembles an electric shaver and a prominent tri-star emblem in the center. The appearance is very much in line with the CLA except for slender headlights and a less-raked rear roof, which should make getting into the back easier.
The dimensions are similar to a typical compact sedan, and they are a match for the current Kia Forte, at 179 inches long and 57 inches tall. This puts the A-Class at 3 inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than the CLA, but it has a similar 71-inch width.
This car is most distinguished by its interior. Rather than use conventional analog gauges, the A-Class features two neighboring 7-inch displays. Larger 10-inch screens will be optional. They aren’t integrated into the dash, but rather these colorful screens look like tablet computers leaning against it.
The A-Class is the first model to get the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system. Beyond its visuals, the MBUX stands out for artificial intelligence that allows for customization that can reportedly adapt to the user. It recognizes natural language, and it can also be controlled through steering-wheel controls, a touchpad, or through the touch screen.
Circular “turbine-look” air vents are prominent in the center stack and at the edges of the dash.
What Drives It
Offered in front- and all-wheel drive, the A220 will be propelled by a 188-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. (This is 20 fewer horses than in the base CLA 250.) In either configuration, the sedan uses a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The CLA is expected to be offered later in a higher-performance AMG-badged version.