I used to be driving the Mercedes A 220 on a very frosty week in Northern Ontario after I realized the Vehicle Journalists Affiliation of Canada (AJAC) had known as it their Greatest Small Premium Automotive.
The information didn’t come as a shock. After initially grabbing my consideration with its inside, the A-Class continued to impress with some pleasant touches and driving manners that grew to become extremely obvious throughout my check drive within the lifeless of winter.
My general impression? It is likely to be the model’s most reasonably priced mannequin, nevertheless it delivers a strong style of the driving really feel and techy aptitude the model guarantees, particularly on board. Within the A 220, there’s no scarcity of pricey-looking touches sourced from far pricier Mercedes equipment.
As such, should you’re procuring within the A 220’s universe, it’s a automobile you’ll most likely need to take a look at. Under, I’ll share what I determine are three of its most compelling traits, in addition to three others which will go away you trying elsewhere.
The knockout cabin
I actually mentioned ‘WHAM!’ out loud after I first acquired seated, as a result of I’d simply slid on in behind one of the vital techy and splendid dashboards within the sport. By way of feeling such as you’re getting your cash’s value, it hits onerous: genuine supplies, huge screens as vibrant and vivid as you’ll discover in a thrice-the-price Benz, and no scarcity of finely-detailed touches set off in gloss and aluminum.
Beneficiant use of metallic trimmings, even on the steering wheel face, lend a wealthy and complicated feel and appear. The ahead surroundings is shiny, curvaceous, and richly ornamented. My tester’s instrument cluster and central command system amounted to 2 giant screens flowing into each other, full with flagship-level graphics and never a visual pixel to be seen.
Elsewhere on high-tech? Contact-sensitive observe pads on the steering wheel permit drivers to govern the on-screen shows to their style, proper all the way down to the model of instrument cluster they like greatest. This grew to become my new favorite gadget. Add within the signature Mercedes consoles for seat changes, local weather management and lighting, and also you’ve acquired an awesome trying atmosphere to spend time, with no scarcity of notable high-end touches. I’ve had tons of of first impressions of automobile interiors over time, and I can’t keep in mind one other sub-$50,000 automobile that’s made such a giant one.
Magnificence is a lightswitch away. To ensure the A 220’s cabin is as attractive in the dead of night as it’s throughout the day, designers went a bit of overboard with the inside ambient lighting system, with wonderful outcomes.
Optionally fitted to my tester as a part of the $3,000 Premium Bundle, the ambient lighting system is just not delicate when cranked to its highest brightness degree. As an alternative, it positively soaks the decrease portion of the inside with strategically-deployed, color-themed accent lighting that makes for a one-of-a-kind after-dark drive.
There are actually lights within the air vent knobs, positioned completely to light up their radial fins simply so within the hue of your selecting. Add within the vivid glow from the high-resolution show screens forward, and there’s an air of sci-fi spacecraft helm to the ahead surroundings after the solar goes down.
Additionally, the LED headlamps are stellar. The colour is pure white with no uninteresting yellow hues to be seen. Attain is superb, and the sunshine is forged persistently throughout the highway forward, and plentifully into close by treelines and culverts on secondary highways, too. Should you’re spoiling your self and making the A 220 your first model new luxurious automobile, make sure you take a pal alongside in your first after-dark drive. It’ll be a particular expertise.
Winter driving swagger
Most AWD-equipped automobiles as we speak have a wonderful AWD system, and this one’s no exception. From the driving force’s seat, count on speedy chew, even in deep snow. There’s no single-axle wheelspin required earlier than full traction arrives. From the primary inch of motion, all 4 wheels are powered and the A 220 skedaddles in a rush.
The off-the-line chew with winter tires is powerful and pleasing, and the AWD system and stability aids do a pleasant job of choosing up on the driving force’s vibe — locking issues down for cautious driving in a blizzard, or permitting you to slip round surprisingly nicely should you’re a bit ginger with the throttle and steering inputs.
Principally, it’s all arrange make sure that the automobile’s going proper the place you level it with confidence to spare, bit with sportier driving modes engaged and your boot down a bit of, it’s truly fairly a little bit of enjoyable and has no bother getting loads of energy to these rear wheels.
For a cabin so fastidiously styled, I used to be shocked to search out quite a lot of gripes associated to the position of assorted gadgets inside.
First? The gear shifter. It’s a stalk that sits the place most automobiles hold their wiper controls. You use it by utilizing your proper hand center finger, with out even taking your hand off of the wheel, identical to mentioned wiper controls. In case your proper center finger is educated this fashion by years of expertise (probably), this could get complicated.
I’m advised a pc lockout with forestall mechanical disaster brought on by an unintentional gearshift when you cruise alongside within the rain, although I didn’t check it. Nonetheless, this entire setup resulted in just a few nervous pangs or triple-checking earlier than utilizing the transmission, wipers, or each — simply to be secure. Many a Mercedes proprietor tells me you simply get used to it, although after per week, I nonetheless hadn’t.
By the way in which, the wiper controls are on the top of the flip sign lever, the place most automobiles hold their lights. Moreover, the heated steering wheel change is on the steering wheel column, exactly blocked from view by the steering wheel itself. Stated steering wheel additionally makes it onerous to see the local weather management temperature show with out leaning over just a few inches to look on the decrease nook of the central display.
The transmission likes to run
My tester ran a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This works identical to a daily automated with no clutch-pedal, although the mechanicals inside the gearbox are of a specialised setup typically used to enhance efficiency, mileage, and the like.
In some conditions, any such transmission feels superior to a traditional automated. In others, it feels a bit of uncommon should you’re not used to it. Within the case of the A 220, you could discover the necessity to fastidiously squeeze the throttle for a clean begin and keep away from a little bit of a jolt off the road. The place a traditional automated is constructed to deal with this easily, the response from the dual-clutch because the automobile will get rolling out is usually a little clumsy and inconsistent by comparability.
So, in cease and go site visitors for example, the A 220’s transmission can require a bit of extra of your brainpower to work easily. In different conditions, like slowly creeping by a drive-thru, it may emit the odd shudder, or take a second of engine revving earlier than the inner clutches interact and the automobile begins to creep. It’s normal stuff for any such transmission — which implies you’ve acquired some smoother selections within the driveline division should you do a whole lot of stop-and-go driving.
Sportier drivers will gladly settle for the compromise. This transmission performs greatest when labored onerous and boasts exact full-throttle shifting that’s lightning-fast.
You are able to do greater — and extra highly effective, too
Given its comparatively compact measurement and 188 on-tap horsepower, drivers do have extra highly effective and roomy automobile selections for his or her cash.
The two-litre turbo engine is clean, appears like a high-end piece, and by no means sounds overworked. Efficiency is surprisingly spirited in around-town driving, although some will want for a contact extra punch for freeway merging and passing.
4 average-sized adults ought to discover enough space, and at 5’10 and 200 lbs, I discovered it comfy-snug to take a seat behind myself. Some occupants might need for the next seating place to ease entry and exit, too. You should definitely be sure you and yours have enough area on board earlier than shopping for, remembering that many a extra spacious automobile could be had for the greenback.
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