Having purchased this car brand new 6 years ago, I can say that this car has been great and I still love it today. Back in 2013 there was an eight month wait for these cars and Mercedes couldn’t make them fast enough. It was a new model, with a new shape and lots of great tech, so what wasn’t to like? It seemed like everyone wanted one. Fast forward several years and now they are very common cars on the road - Mercedes-Benz’s gamble paid off, and the A Class was a hit with the younger generation and it’s a car that still appeals to many buyers today.
I optioned mine with the AMG Package (18-inch wheels, body styling, sports suspension, black mirrors, AMG brake calipers), Comand Package (DAB+ digital radio, Harman Kardon 12-speaker stereo and larger screen) and the Driving Assistance Package (blind-spot assist, lane keeping assist and DISTRONIC plus). Although these options made the wait longer for the car, they were well worth it and 6 years on the car has plenty of up-to-date tech in it for my day-to-day drives.
The A250 has a great engine. It’s zippy around town and this car pretty much drives itself on the highway. Selecting Sport mode, the car springs to life, making the exhaust more noisy and making the gearbox hold gears for longer. The DISTRONIC system (combined with cruise control) controls all your speed and will automatically brake for you when you come too close to another car. It’s great in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on the highway. The car drives beautifully and it’s well built, so you feel very safe in it. The gear selector is up out of the way, which leaves lots of storage throughout the centre console. I love this but it might not appeal to all buyers. The interior lighting is great, with lights under the rear of the front seats so the rear passengers can see their footwell. There are also lights under the headrests and also in the door handles. Opening the front driver and passenger doors you are greeted by a Mercedes-Benz sign in the door sill which lights up… it’s a bit naff but it’s a nice touch. The sunroof really complements the interior and is a must for me in every car now. I’ve always been a big fan of the Mercedes-Benz Comand system. There is no touchscreen but I don’t miss it, as the wheel/selector in the centre console works really well and the car also has voice recognition for your everyday functions. Plus, no touchscreen means no grubby fingerprints on the screen. A noticeable feature lacking when I purchased this car was keyless entry, but thankfully this is now available on the current generation A Class.
Having owned this car for six years now, it does have it’s faults - some faults I hope have been addressed in the current generation of this car. The ride is on the firm side, perhaps actually too firm - you really feel every bump in the road. This is fine for driving short distances but if you are doing long drives each day I would imagine it’s not very pleasant. Also the front seats could be better. Again, they're fine for short trips but on longer trips the seats become uncomfortable. There just isn’t enough support and you feel like you are sitting on a bench seat. I am sure every article on this car will mention the rear seat room; don’t every try to get tall people in the back, and if you do make sure it’s a short trip. The rear boot space isn’t great either. Now, the three biggest problems with the car. 1) There is no spare tyre! You don’t even get a jack! All you get is some liquid puncture repair kit that uses an air compressor to spray the liquid goo into the wheel. Having had a flat tyre in this car, it’s cheaper to call someone out to fix the tyre than to use this repair kit, as it’s about $140 to replace the kit. Ridiculous. I will never buy a car without a spare tyre again. 2) The turning circle is terrible! Not great when you are driving inner-city Sydney. 3) The transmission isn’t great. Selecting reverse takes far too long to kick in when you are trying to do 3-point turns, and generally it’s really laggy when you are at low speeds. It gets confused and doesn’t know which gear to select, so you have to put your foot down in order to force it to make a decision.
I was lucky enough to be part of the corporate programme for the first three years while owning this car, which is something that new buyers should definitely look into. You get a reduction on the dealer delivery fee, free servicing for 3 years, 4 years road care and complimentary pick-up and drop-off when your car is due for a service. They come out to your work/home, pickup your car, take it away for the service and then bring it back when it’s all done. Perfect if you don’t need your car for the day when you are at work.
Overall it’s a great car. It does have its flaws but for me and my daily commutes it’s a great little car. There is lots of storage, the electric front seats are heated (which is heaven in winter), yet a noticeable omission is an option for ventilated front seats, an option which us Aussie’s would appreciate. The car will reverse-park itself too. The system has never failed and I’m so reliant on this now I feel I couldn’t reverse-park manually if I tried. Servicing isn’t cheap but it’s not exorbitant either - it’s a Merc so you will pay for that privilege.