The Mercedes A-Class may be the smallest member of the carmaker’s family but it’s a car that has been a favourite with the public for years and with the recent launch of the newly remodelled version for 2018 that doesn’t show any signs of changing.
I’ve always been a big fan of a good-looking hatchback and was a fan of the previous incarnation of the so I was rather pleased to be offered the chance to test-drive the A-Class last week by Arnold Clark Mercedes-Benz. I booked in to collect the car at their branch in Perth as I had been planning on properly visiting the new V&A museum in Dundee for some time and with it being on the way there, it allowed me to tick off 2 things on my list at once.
Arnold Clark have a great team that in each brand who are specially trained in all aspects of the car, so they have been given the rather apt title of the Product Genius. The name is definitely very appropriate as they are able to answer pretty much anything that you could want to know about this vehicle. Before handing me the keys my Product Genius gave me a very in-depth walk round the outside, pointing out all of the important safety features before demonstrating all of the interior tech – of which there is loads in the A-Class.
I was testing the A180d Sport Executive 5 door Auto A-Class model in white and it looked great both inside and out. The A-Class is a premium hatchback and that is very instantly obvious when you take a seat inside, the finish of the interior is really nicely done. It’s streamlined, functional and beautifully designed. I really loved the dash display and the media/satnav screen, and the system was easy to get the hang of to.
The car also has the Mercedes-Benz voice assistant built in and it allows you to activate it with the phrase ‘Hey, Mercedes’. Once it’s awake you can ask the car to do loads of stuff for you like adjusting the temperature, setting the satnav or to change the radio station or song for you. Even with my thick at times Scottish accent she never seemed to have any trouble understanding my requests. Just doing ask her to tell you a joke as and says that she doesn’t know any and blames the fact that she is German!
When I first arrived in Dundee, I found a quiet spot in the V&A’s carpark and decided to try out the self-park function for the first time. I’d driven cars with this option before but never actually had the balls to try it for fear of it messing up, but this worked a treat. It wasn’t really required in this spacious carpark, but I could imagine this being super handy for getting into those super tight urban spaces that I’d often rule out as too tight. It works with both parking bays and parallel street parking too, you just have let the car search for one nearby and confirm that you want to park there when it does. It’s then down to you to simply pop it into reverse and the car does the rest.
Dundee is a city that has seen a massive number of changes in the past few years. There is the new V&A (of course), a bunch of new hotels, new bars and shops but perhaps most notably a bit of a new buzz around the city. It’s a rather compact place but finally they have some new stuff here to shout about and lots of reasons for people to visit for the weekend. It’s only a couple of hours drive from Glasgow of Edinburgh, so it makes for the perfect spot for an overnight away from home.
As with all overnight away though, this one went far too quickly, and it was time to once again hit the A9 in the A-Class to head back down to Glasgow. Luckily, I had the car for a couple more days before having to (reluctantly) hand the keys back over to Arnold Clark. It was a great drive and ticked just about all of my boxes. The only thing I’d ask for (and this is me being a bit picky) is a contactless charging plate for my phone but I’m sure that this probably comes as an option in the higher spec models. Otherwise I was mighty pleased.