Expert Reviews

Preview: 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The fourth-generation 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has been revealed to the world for the first time in Geneva, and Canadians can pay attention with anticipation since it’s been announced that it’s finally going to make its way across the Atlantic when it comes to market this fall.

A masterclass in compact car proportions.

First Look

Unlike the United States which will receive only the sedan, both the sedan and hatchback will be available in Canada. More details were revealed on the latter at a pre-show preview event in Geneva where the hatchback was on display for the first time.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but on first glance the A-Class looks like a masterclass in compact car proportions.

This newest design takes on the softer shoulder line that Mercedes-Benz products have been trending toward and also loses the previous generation’s dramatic upward sweeping accent line on the lower doors. Add in a more squared-off window line and nice, big wheels – 17-inch is standard for our market, though it’s worth pointing out that the display car in Geneva was sporting 18-inch AMGs – and the new design seems to tighten the A-Class up in all the right directions.

The inside is arguably much more impressive: design elements carried over from much more expensive Mercedes products are now available at a much lower price point. The continuous instrument cluster and infotainment screen can be equipped with a pair of either 7-inch or 10.25-inch displays, adjustable via both the interface on the centre console or the pair of thumbprint-sized touch pads on the steering wheel. Plus, the system comes with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

New Technologies

A new suite of technologies that Mercedes is referring to as MBUX will be introduced in the new A-Class. It features artificial intelligence that helps the car learn and adapt to the habits of each driver and passenger, and it allows users to interact with the car with natural voice commands of the same style used to interact with Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. For example, if the driver says, “Hey Mercedes, I feel hot,” the car will adjust the interior temperature.

Extended active braking assist, which helps prevent or mitigate rear-end collisions, is standard equipment.

Model Details Announced

The only powertrain choice a buyer will have to make is to take either front-wheel or 4MATIC all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution.

Both will be paired in the A 250 with a new and efficient 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine that makes 221 hp at 5,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft from 1,800 to 4,000 rpm, as well as a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The new A-Class features a MacPherson strut front suspension and a four-link rear suspension with the rear axle mounted on a subframe isolated from the bodyshell by rubber bushings to reduce vibration transfer into the cabin. Mercedes says that the proportion of aluminum in the suspension components is one of the highest in any suspension system in this vehicle class.

Pricing for both configurations of the A 250 hatchback will be available closer to its autumn launch.