2019 A-Class New Car Test Drive
New for America in the 2019 model year, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class takes over entry-level duties from the CLA-Class, and does so with a more obvious sedan shape and better interior room.
Unlike most Mercedes-Benz models, which have rear-wheel drive, the A-Class can have standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. Only one trim level is offered: the A 220.
The sole engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-4, producing 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, mating with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With a choice of suspension settings, the A-Class has a stiffer body but can ride better than the CLA. An optional AMG Line Package lowers ride height by 0.6 inch without turning the ride harsh. Base-suspension models come with 17- or 18-inch wheels, but the AMG Package relies on 19-inchers. Adaptive dampers are available as an alternative.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the A-Class sedan.
Attention Assist and a rearview camera are standard, but most safety features add considerably to the price. A $2,250 Driver Assistance Package adds adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, forward cross-traffic detection, active lane control, evasive steering assist, and lane-change assist.
Blind-spot monitors come with driver assist that can steer the car back into its original lane if the system detects another vehicle in the way of a lane change. When navigation is active, it can slow the car down at corners. The system can also detect the current speed limit and set the car to maintain that velocity.
Regular blind-spot monitors are included in the Premium Package. A Parking Assistance Package adds a surround-view camera system and automatic parking system.
High-performance variants are being developed, but won't emerge for a while. Scheduled for 2020, the A 35 is expected to get a 302-horsepower engine and AMG Speedshift dual-clutch transmission, promising 0-60 mph acceleration in about 4.6 seconds..
Prices do not include $995 destination charge.
A 220 ($32,500) comes with front-wheel drive, MB-Tex vinyl upholstery, power front seats with memory, split-folding rear seatbacks, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and taillights, paddle shifters, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Mercedes-Benz's infotainment system includes dual 7.0-inch screens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and Bluetooth.
Options include navigation, ambient lighting, multi-contour heated/cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, wireless smartphone charging, head-up display, and Burmester sound system.
A 220 4Matic ($34,500) substitutes all-wheel drive for front-drive..