Way back in 1997, the first Mercedes-Benz A-Class rolled off the assembly line. It looked, in a word, awful. It was like you’d taken a proper Mercedes and had driven it into a wall. Everything looked squished and awkward and nothing like a Mercedes should.
Despite its woeful looks, they shifted 1.1 million first-generation A-Class cars between 1997 and 2004. It wasn’t a runaway success but, I guess, it was a pretty impressive campaign for Mercedes' first punt in the hatchback market.
When Mercedes announced they were going to update the A-Class in 2004, there was a real buzz in the industry. Would they ditch the hideous styling and turn the A-Class into a proper pint-sized Merc?
They took a picture of a Ford Galaxy, traced the outline and slapped a Mercedes badge on the front. It just just uuurgh.
After so much disappointment, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the 2012 relaunch.
But then I saw it.
The third generation A-Class is exactly what it should have been way back in 1997.
It’s hatchback but it’s a hatchback designed and built by Mercedes. It’s got the right grille, the right lines and the right feel. It looks like it belongs in a Mercedes showroom!
Usually our short reviews tell you about the car but I seem to have used most of this one for backstory. So let me quickly recap what’s good about the new A-Class.
Styling? Great. Engines? Brilliant. Driving experience? Engineered to perfection. Seriously, what more could you want?