AA Driven COTY 2018: Why the Mercedes-Benz A-Class made the top 10
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Mercedes-Benz has stepped up and taken a lead ahead of the market with its small hatchback A-Class models.
Technology found in the brand’s top-of-the-range S-Class limousines has cascaded down to its cheapest models.
The result is a segment-leading model that impressed judges in this year’s AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year award.
The A-Class has landed with more efficient engines, increased interior space and enhanced safety features compared to its predecessor.
A highlight is the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment and connectivity, an intelligent and user-friendly system that will be deployed across a much broader range of Mercedes-Benz models but has made its debut at the brand’s most accessible price point.
The “Hey Mercedes” system will respond to questions and requests so well that it seems almost human.
It is a simple system to use, for example eliminating the need to type destinations into the navigation system and instead giving voice instructions. Mercedes-Benz says the car adapts itself accordingly to the driver’s regular routes and driving style.
The range has been introduced here with the mid-range A200 model, powered by a new 1.3-litre turbo engine. There’s a seven-speed automatic gearbox, and the overall result is a fun, lively drive.
The cabin, dominated by two 10.25-inch digital screens, is a vast improvement on previous A-Class models.
The $60,900 list price is competitive in the premium hatch segment of the market, and option packages to spec the model up further range between $1200 and $3200.
The A200 has since been joined by an A250 Limited Edition model with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, and an entry-level A180 is in the pipeline. A sportier AMG A35 model is about to be launched overseas, so there will be a full range of A-Class models to suit buyer preferences.
Mercedes-Benz is out to capture younger buyers, many of whom demand the type of artificial intelligence technology fitted to the A-Class. It knows that securing buyers when they are young, could lock them into the brand as they progress through life stages.
• As a finalist in the AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year award, the Mercedes A200 hatchback is also a contender for the People’s Choice Award. Cast your vote by clicking here. Your entry could win an eight-night Fiji cruise for two.