This week we are reviewing the 2019 Mercedes Benz A250. Our vehicle was assembled at the Rastatt plant in Germany and has an MSRP of $48490 CAD.
Fun Factor: 8
Can it Family: 7
Karaoke Friendly: 7
City Cruising: 5
Although the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is in its 4th generation, it's actually offered for the first time in North America. The A-Class has been sold since 1997, back then it was a funky looking car resembling more to the Smart than anything else. The 3rd generation brought us a hatchback styled Mercedes-Benz directly competing against the all-rounder Audi A3 and the sporty 1-series, all of which are either no longer available or were never sold in North America. The A-Class was the one with a more luxurious flair compared to the other 2. With this newest generation; you can tell Mercedes left nothing to luck; they designed a sharp-looking sporty hatchback. The A250 is powered by a 2.0L, inline-4 that is turbocharged and produces 221hp and produces up to 258 lb-ft. Our test car was equipped with a 7-speed dual-clutch that shifts quickly and elegantly. The reason we are pointing this out is that sometimes dual-clutches have sort of a jerkiness at lowers speeds; in our test, the transmission behaved more like a traditional automatic transmission when it came to smoothness while retaining the quick-shifting agility of the dual-clutch. In our real-life test to 100km/h, it took the A250 6.75 seconds, while Mercedes announces a time of 6.2 seconds to achieve the 0-100km/h. Lots of people asked us how the A250 compares to the GTI, especially since the starting price of the A250 comes close to a nicely equipped GTI. The A3 is no longer sold as a hatchback and is only available as a sedan and would be a competitor to the A220 sedan. If we compare the performance, the GTI is not as nimble and feels front end heavy, while the A250 feels balanced and provides a better control overall. The turning radius of the A250 is pretty small for a car that has 4Matic, Mercedes-Benz all-wheel drive. The overall driving experience of the A250 is focused on enjoyment, and undoubtedly feels like a Mercedes-Benz and not like a diluted product to fill a gap in their line-up. The vehicle is targeted to a younger audience who may not be bothered by the firm suspension, which can feel uncomfortable while driving over potholes; however, it doesn't upset the car handling. We had the chance to speak to several owners from different age groups, and all were satisfied with their purchase reaffirming that it was about time for them to bring the smallest member of the Benz Family to North America.
Can the A250 be a family vehicle? From the outside, you would think that the interior space for the driver and the co-pilot would be compromised. This is not quite the case. Yes, the seating position is low, making it almost sport car like when entering the car, especially for taller drivers, we did have to select the lowest setting to sit comfortably. On the flip side, we were always able to find a position that suited us while driving. Our test car was equipped with the optional sport seats that are bucket-seat inspired and keep you in place nice and snug. The side bolstering is adjustable for a variety of body shapes meaning that you do not have to have a race car driver's body to fit into one. As for smaller drivers, we found that the steering wheel may get somewhat close to your body frame. The leather-wrapped steering wheel and the front seats are heated. As for the rear seats, you would be able to sit 3 kids; however, we found the middle seat is not ideal as the bolstering is quite firm, we'd only suggest it for short trips. This comment is based on our kids' feedback on its firmness. The 2 other places, on the other hand, provide support and continue the themed bucket seats from the front seats. It seemed like nothing was too big for the trunk/hatch, we were able to fit a larger stroller, and when we tried to transport larger items, we were able to fold the seats in a 40/20/40 fashion. This setup is especially practical when going skiing or snowboarding as the middle seat can be folded and remain functional as a 4 seater. The trunk lip is a little higher and wider, making it less ideal when manipulating heavier items. We would suggest adding a trunk guard sill; otherwise, after a certain time, you'll have several scuff marks at that exact place. The A250 all around is a nice option for the family looking for something different from a compact SUV.
Now for the fuel consumption of the A250. We averaged 8.8L per 100km over 400km with a mixture of 50% city and 50% HYW. Our city fuel consumption was 10.2L per 100km; this includes some driving in traffic, and the HWY consumption was 7.2L per 100km. Mercedes-Benz announces a combined result of 8.2L per 100km and 9.4L per 100km in the city and 6.8L per 100km. In the city, the car also offers the start/stop functionality, and on the HWY the transmission decouples to provide better fuel consumption. Our test was conducted while outside temperatures oscillated between +20 and +25 celsius and with the use of the air conditioner.
How does the A250 handle on the HWY? One thing is certain; you'll notice right away; it has that typical German driving dynamic while driving on the HWY, it feels planted. So much so that we have no doubt it will stay extremely stable at higher speeds like other Mercedes-Benz products we got to test on the German Autobahn. The acceleration while overtaking feels adequate and keeps the chassis stable while keeping engine noise enjoyable. The A250 can be driven very economically in certain instances, we were able to keep fuel consumption under 6L per 100 while driving a constant speed. The A250 presents certain blind spots from the C-Pillar and also has limited rearview visibility due to the small window from the hatch and the non-adjustable rear headrests.
The Burmester Surround Sound System has a rich sound and provides a good reproduction of sound for several music styles. This optional sound system comes with 12 high-quality speakers and has an output of 590 watts. The system's noise-cancelling feature makes the experience more enclosed. Now going to the infotainment, our vehicle was equipped with the new MBUX system, which consists of 2 10.25 inch screens; one as a center cluster and one as the main infotainment. We found the initial learning curve may take a little longer, especially for those who were used to the old system, it felt overly complicated and sometimes over sensitive, on the other side using the touch screen is responsive and quick and makes it a lot easier to use. Once you get the hang of it, the menus and the setup of the car will make sense as everything depends on the driving mode you've selected. After one week of use, everything was familiar and made sense. The system feels quick and will amaze your passengers, especially with all the "Hey Mercedes" commands, it's almost like a personal assistant executing your wishes while driving. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available in the A250, and the vehicle also offers wireless charging and 4 USB-C ports, they've completely removed the traditional USB ports. Mercedes includes an adapter for legacy users of standard USB users or everyone before the iPhone 11.
Now how is the installation of car seats in the A250? For starters, the rear doors open wide, however, the shape of the door made it a little bit more challenging when it came to larger car seats or front-facing car seats. Once the car seat is inside the ISOFIX ports are visible and easily accessible, we were able to attach different car seats without any difficulty. If you wish to install the rear anchor, you'll need to pass it over the headrests because the bucket seats do not allow the buckle to slide between the seat and the headrest. As for children opening the door themselves from the outside, it is easy and simple, and that smaller opening is actually a benefit for them at this point; it makes it easier for them to hop in. From the inside, they also have access to open the door with ease. The child lock can be activated directly from the side of the door by flipping up a plastic switch to activate it; no tool is needed. The only concern we have with that switch is whether it will stand the test of time. The rear belt buckles are fairly easy to use and operate for young children. If a child sits or a car seat is installed in the middle seat, the passengers beside them will have difficulty buckling themselves. At one point, we had to help our daughter because the buckle was hard to reach under the car seat, and it was challenging to access it.
The A250 is quite versatile in an urban area: not too big and easy to park. If you get lazy, the Active Parking Assist will park the car for you. If you park the car yourself, the A250 offers an excellent rearview camera and a 360-degree camera to make sure your car stays new as long as possible. What we would like to see for city dwellers is the Plug-in Hybrid variant currently offered in Europe as the A250e, which has a range of 76km, based on the European cycle, it will most likely translate to a real range of 35-40km. This would significantly reduce the fuel consumption when driving within the city and would relieve the range anxiety that certain people may have going full electric immediately. The gas engine would take over once the electric range runs out and would work as a traditional Hybrid.
Why would we buy the Mercedes-Benz A250 and what we liked about it: Great handling, the look! Its elegant interior, reasonably economical to drive, beautiful 10.25-inch screens, good seating positions.
Why we wouldn't buy the Mercedes-Benz A250 and what we didn't like about it: A little pricey when fully equipped, no hybrid or plug-in available in North America, uncomfortable rear middle seat, performance variant not yet available.
Mercedes-Benz of Canada has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle, we have no affiliation with Mercedes-Benz of Canada, and the above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the vehicle referred to above.