Our new Star Expert columnist puts the A180 through it’s paces

Chris Baines Mercedes Benz A180 Sport review

So last weekend I got the opportunity to have a spin in the latest incarnation of A-Class from Mercedes-Benz and to tell you the truth, I had my doubts before I started. Being quite the petrol head and usually biased towards anything over a V6, the thought of being in the A180 Petrol Manual Sport for the weekend didn’t exactly get my creative ideas flowing. However within the first ten minutes of driving the car, those cynical thoughts had rapidly evaporated and I quickly started to appreciate what a pleasure the car is to drive.

One of the saving graces to begin with was the fact it’s petrol. I can often find diesel to be quite agricultural (although I do like the increased torque at the lower end of the rev counter). The fact it runs on proper fuel was immediately apparent when I could barely hear the 122hp inline 4 ticking over, it’s almost silent. It does however give some nice tones when you start to rumble on a bit, taking the engine speed closer to the no-go red zone.

Day 1 of my driving consisted of seeing family down in Cornwall, a 50 mile round trip through some twisty lanes allowed me to test the handling of the mid range A-Class. First of all I swapped the driving mode using the Dynamic Select switch to Sport. Although this doesn’t do anything to the suspension in standard guise, it does make the car feel taut and crisp by sharpening throttle response and giving you less help from the power steering servos. Being winter in Cornwall it won’t comes as a surprise that the weather was awful. Massive amounts of surface water and strong winds meant this car was being given a baptism of fire, and it came out the other side a champion. Handling was precise and confidence inspiring, and knowing I had all manner of ESP, ABS, and Mercedes’ Collision Prevention Assist meant that I was in capable hands. It wasn’t afraid of anything I threw at it. In fact I felt like it had a lot more to offer.

On my trip back I decided to take it a little easier, having a play around with the Audio 20 system and the multifunction steering wheel. I must say it’s one of the easiest pieces of software I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. It’s intuitive, very user friendly and it just seems very well laid out. The 8” central media display was crisp and efficient to use, enabling me to swap between radio and Spotify from my phone with ease.

Chris Baines

Day 2 was a much more normal kind of day, with a trip into the city and around doing some shopping. Slightly chirpier weather meant I could appreciate how quiet the car really is, the 17” wheels mean road noise is kept to a minimum, and the comfort suspension does a great job absorbing the bumps in the dodgy roads around Plymouth. Boot space is more than ample, and ISOFIX child seat anchors as standard mean the A-Class could be a proper family car.

So bear in mind I started this test with a level of apprehension, I’ve done a full 180 degree flip and landed on the side potential buyer for this car. With price rivalling some of the less pedigree brands on the market and a heap of standard specification, the A-Class sets itself up as one of the best value cars on the market. Not to mention you don’t pay for services for three years, you don’t need an MOT for three years and you’ve got a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty, the sporty hatchback from the 3-pointed star offers a package that would suit a multitude of potential drivers.

If you fancy getting some more info and arranging a test drive to experience the car for yourself, please feel free to contact me on 01752 720129, or email me at chris.baines@mercedes-benzsouthwest.co.uk.