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Member since:15.01.2008

Reviews:4

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Mercedes A160 - All things, for all men

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16.01.2008

Advantages:
Interior Space, Visibility, Excellent engine & transmission

Disadvantages:
Looks a bit like Camilla Parker - Bowles, head on .

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Value for Money

Road Handling

Comfort

Features

Fuel consumption

Looks

6 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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Introduction


Isn't the A-Class an oddball? Out of the many people I've spoken to in relation to the car, nobody can quite work it out. Is it a family hatchback? Is an MPV? Is it a luxury city car? Is it a van with windows? In fact, it's all of those things. A truly versatile car that perhaps trades beauty for innovation. True beauty in this car lies in its interior, however.

Exterior & Image


It looks a little like the C-Class has been involved in a head-on collision, an almost flat front bumper and bonnet do little to evoke the eyes to look further back on the car, but as you do, you can see elements of beauty. Those beautifully crafted doors, the neat tail-lights and the side skirts that deceive the eye into thinking the car is a lot lower than it is, all this helps to detract from what could have been just another Daihatsu Grand Move. In fact, I remember when I first saw the A-Class. I don't think there had been any car like this before, at least not with a premium badge on the front. Mercedes Benz must be congratulated for having the male genitalia to design, and more importantly, develop a car for a niche that had not yet been carved from a market of euro-boxes and small hatchbacks. People know this is a Mercedes Benz, and they certainly know the price premium that the badge requests. What people don't know, however, is that a used A-Class can be picked up for little more than Renault Scenic money.

Interior


You don't so much get in an A-Class, as step up into the very inviting interior. Those doors might look like they reach the floor of the car, but there's a good eight inches of extra height between the floor of the car and the floor of the cabin. This is thanks to idea of Mercedes Benz to sandwich the engine and running gear below the level of the passengers. Interior space in the A-Class is absolutely astonishing, certainly, it's difficult to get your mind around the fact this car offers the space of a VW Passat in a body no longer than a Polo. Interior quality is perhaps a little to be desired, some models I've seen have an awful lot of wear and tear to the upholstery and dashboard. Things did get better as time passed and Mercedes Benz quality stakes were improved in all of their cars. Certainly my 1999 model looked tidy when I came to sell it in 2005. The interior of pre-facelift cars is quite the same as post-facelift cars, with main differences being instrumentation placing and colours available. Please, avoid the garish orange and red, blue or green dashboards of introductory models. These are more Fisher Price than premium price. The only niggles with the interior come from the rear, where there are a few hard edges to seat bases and door trim. The rear seats come out with ease and the boot is certainly carnivorous, being taller rather than wide.

Driving


Let's not be mistaking the A-Class as a drivers car. If you were after that, you wouldn't be looking at a pseudo-MPV-hatchback-cum-van. It's not the most comfortable of rides, let down by harsh suspension that stops the thing from rolling over. I did promise myself I wouldn't bring the infamous elk test into this review but that would almost be near impossible. Steering is light and perhaps lacking feel, sometimes it can be a little too easy to lose track of where the wheels are pointing the car, as you're almost sitting above them. Power delivery is as to be expected from a Mercedes Benz, completely smooth and effortless. This is no hot hatchback but it will sail up to 100mph without any fuss. The automatic gearbox is a very simple affair, offering four speeds with tiptronic control if you're feeling brave. Refinement is fantastic, with wind noise and good sound insulation. The only complaints are down to that ride, after a few hours of motorway driving you can begin to feel a little sea-sick. Carry plenty of wet wipes for the very young and very old.

Quality


As I mentioned above, it's going to win no awards for quality considering it's a Mercedes Benz of the 1990's. Hardly respected for their standards of quality during the latter part of the 20th century, Mercedes Benz have let a few things slip. The dash plastics are nice to look at, but give them a rub and you could almost be feeling the vinyl seats of your local truckers café. There are few faults to be said about the overall quality of the components used, certainly all exterior fixtures and engine parts look robust. Even the key fob is an improvement over earlier Mercedes Benz offerings.

Pricing


Not the cheapest to buy and not the cheapest to run by any means. In the long run though, you'll lose less on this than you will a Renault Scenic or similar. You will enjoy the drive far more and there is a sense of premium quality about the car despite its shortcomings. Insurance wasn't too bad, costing little more than the BMW MINI that replaced it in my household. Car tax is slightly above class average, but to be expected with the performance gains. Petrol consumption is neither here nor there, I achieved results that didn't break the bank.

Perfect for


Anybody who is considering a Renault Scenic, Citroen Berlingo or Xsara Picasso, Fiat Doblo or Multipla or Vauxhall Zafira. If you need to carry no more than five in a safe, uncompromising vehicle, the A-Class is perfect for you. Expect it to last a lot longer, and sell for more too, compared to its ever trying rivals.
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Comments about this review »

Mitsudan 16.01.2008 12:24

Another well-written and very helpful review. David

inycon2 16.01.2008 11:35

Excellent review. Although if a car can get me from A to B without breaking down then that's fine by me (-:

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Product Information »

Product details

Body Type Hatchback
Fuel Type Petrol
Available Trims Long
Range Mercedes A-Class
Manufacturer Mercedes

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Review Ratings »

This review of Mercedes A 160 has been rated:

"very helpful" by (100%):

  1. MAFARRIMOND
  2. Soho_Black
  3. Amy69

and 7 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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