Base model hardly feels entry-level. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is the automaker’s most affordable vehicle, but the subcompact sedan’s list of standard and optional features hardly makes it feel like an entry-level model.
Mercedes still manages to make the base A-Class feel upscale with things like synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, and 17-inch wheels. The vehicle’s pair of 7-inch screens (one for infotainment and one in the gauge cluster) are also impressive for the segment, especially when you consider the car’s $33,795 starting price.
The list of available features is even more impressive, as the A-Class can be fitted with two 10.25-inch screens, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, leather upholstery, multi-contour front seats, a 12-speaker Burmester audio system, and wireless charging. These optional features are excellent for the segment.
Unmistakably a Mercedes. Thankfully, Mercedes decided to skip giving the A-Class coupe-like styling and instead decided to keep the model a sedan. This means it doesn’t have any odd or dramatic lines for the sake of styling. It also means the A-Class looks good.
Short overhangs at the front and back give it a sporty profile. The placement of the grille, headlights, and front air intake low on the front fascia helps the A-Class have an elongated hood, like one of Mercedes’ grand tourers. The back end isn’t as stylish as the front, but overall, it’s a tidy design that looks upscale, which is something we can’t say for a lot of other subcompact vehicles.
The A-Class maybe Mercedes’ most affordable model, but you won’t be able to tell that from the inside. The majority of materials are soft to the touch, while standard aluminum trim helps with the upscale feel. The circular vents, simplistic layout of the dashboard, and metallic trim pieces all help the A-Class look like one of Mercedes’ other high-end vehicles.
Decent performance. While the A-Class delivers a smooth, comfortable ride, drivers may find themselves wanting more when it comes to power. Sticking with the ride for a second, the A-Class has three different suspensions, with the available adaptive dampers performing the best.
Power for the A-Class comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 188 horsepower. It's paired with a smooth seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. For the most part, the base powertrain doesn’t struggle to get up to speed but hardly feels quick.
Cramped trunk and rear seats. The A-Class may be more spacious than the previous CLA-Class, but that still hasn't helped things much when it comes to the rear seats. Adults in the back won’t find things all that comfortable, as the sedan offers just 33.9 inches of rear legroom. The seats themselves, even in the front, aren’t all that supportive either.
With 8.6 cubic feet of cargo space, the A-Class has one of the smallest trunks in the class. While it has a wide opening, it's only big enough to hold a few modestly sized suitcases.
Final thoughts. If you’re OK with the 2020 Mercedes A-Class’ small size, the subcompact luxury car gets a lot right as the entry point to the brand. It features cutting-edge technology, a handsome design, and a comfortable ride.
Getting into a fully-loaded A-Class isn’t cheap, and by the time you’ve ticked a few optional packages, you’re looking at encroaching on other, larger vehicles. The A-Class’ tiny footprint also results in back seats that are tight and a trunk that will require geometry to make use of on a Costco run.
In terms of the competition, the Audi A3 has nearly the same tech features and is just as small. But the A3 is available in more performance variants and has a larger trunk. The new BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe can be fitted with similar tech features, has more a more powerful engine, and a larger trunk. It, though, has coupe-like styling, which we expect will eat into space in the back.