This week, Mercedes-Benz brought us out to Seattle, Washington to drive the U.S.-market 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan. I spent two days driving around the Pacific Northwest in a mix of city, highway, and backroad situations.
The A-Class joins the CLS coupe with Mercedes’ new design language. Mercedes calls it ‘Sensual Purity’. Mercedes spent their time in the design room actually removing lines from the car. The designers told us this was their mentality, “if we can remove a line and still like the design, we should remove another line”. What they ended up with was a simple, but handsome looking car. The belt line is the most prominent body line that starts by the shark-nosed front end, and makes its way all the way to the back.
Styling is always subjective, but I think the A-Class is stylish, simple, but well designed.
The U.S. version of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan comes with just one engine choice, for now. We get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder that makes 188 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque. You have a choice of front-wheel drive or the optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, though both come with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The all-wheel drive version will hit 60 miles per hour in 7.0 seconds at sea-level, while the front-wheel drive model is slightly slower.
Look, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class isn’t a rocket ship. That said, it had plenty of power to get out of its own way, or to pass on the highway. In Europe, the AMG A45 variant makes almost 400 horsepower. Mercedes wouldn’t confirm an AMG version of the A-Class sedan, but I suspect one will be making its way here very soon. We did catch an A-Class hatchback testing in Colorado back in July.
Ride & Handling
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class actually has three different suspensions available. There is the comfort setup, the lowered comfort and an adaptive damping system. The only difference between comfort and lowered comfort is about 15mm of ride height. Mercedes claims that the ride is no stiffer in the lowered car.
Handling was actually quite good. The aforementioned tires provided excellent grip and body-roll was minimal. I found myself giggling frequently when faced with any slight bend in the pavement.
On top of it all, I was very impressed with the steering feel coming from this electric power-assisted unit. Compared to many similar units in the industry, road feel was very positive, which further enhanced the driving experience.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a compact sedan, and it feels pretty compact on the inside. The front seats have plenty of space, but the back seat felt cramped for my 6’2″ self. Really cramped. Mercedes haven’t told us how big the trunk is by volume, but the trunk felt spacious enough.
Utility would be even better if we could get the hatchback version that they get in Europe. However, Americans aren’t buying hatchbacks so Mercedes doesn’t want to sell them here. Simple as that.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is packed to the gills with technology. The crowning jewel of which has to be the new infotainment system, MBUX. Mercedes-Benz User Experience, as the acronym spells out, made its North American debut in the Sprinter Van, though the A-Class is the first car to receive the new infotainment system.
In fitting the MBUX infotainment system, Mercedes has gone from one of my least favorite infotainment systems to one of the best, at least on first impression. The 10-inch touchscreen display has a high resolution, and is remarkably intuitive. I felt like I knew exactly how to access everything I wanted within 20 minutes of playing around. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration make it even more user-friendly.
The best part of MBUX is the optional Augmented Navigation system. This uses a front-facing camera mounted in the mirror housing, in conjunction with augmented reality overlays that appear on the infotainment screen. The directions appear to be floating in the street, exactly where your turn is and it works really well. Not only does it look cool, but it also actually helps you navigate easier. I used this in downtown Seattle, which is notoriously wrought with one-ways and confusing intersections and I ran into zero issues thanks to augmented navigation.
The biggest downside are the voice controls. MBUX can be activated by saying “Mercedes” or “Hey Mercedes”. But, frankly, it doesn’t work that well. Most of the time, you are better off just using the touch screen or touch pad, both of which work perfectly fine.
Outside of MBUX, the A-Class features a suite of driver safety and convenience features. You can get adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, lane keep assist, cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and a heads up display. It features pretty much every modern tech feature you could hope for these days.
The A-Class’ main competitor is the Audi A3, no doubt. Though it also competes with the Acura ILX and the Lexus IS. Among those challengers, the A-Class rises to the top in my book. It is by far the most technologically advanced, and I think one of the better styles as well.
EPA estimated fuel economy has not yet come out for the A-Class. In my mix of city, highway and backroad driving, I managed to average 30 MPG, according to the trip computer.
Pricing has still not been announced for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan. We know some tidbits, but not the whole picture. For example, we know it will be cheaper than the CLA, which starts at $34,000.
Mercedes revealed this particular A-Class packs almost $14,000 in options. By that measurement, we can say the A-Class could easily cross $50,000 if optioned correctly. However, Mercedes has not announced an exact starting price yet. We’ll have a better idea where it tops out closer to launch.
To summarize: I enjoyed my time in the new 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It offers an incredible amount of technology paired with Mercedes luxury feel. While it is on the slow side, its responsive steering and well-balanced chassis still make curvy roads a lot of fun.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for the latest news, views & real-world reviews! And, of course, more information on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class, as it becomes available.