Test Drive Notes Library
- Interior. The inside of this least expensive Mercedes is still a Mercedes. With a few knee-down level, plastic exceptions, the materials are excellent, the workmanship good, and the overall feeling is one of quiet, high tech luxury. The engine noise is nicely muted. The enormous screen, which continues from the driver’s instrument panel right into the mid-dash console infotainment screen looks great, and is built in in a way that make other screens look slapped on. The ventilation controls that look like private jet air nozzles are a nice touch, and feel well-made.
- Front seats. This is a small car. It’s about the size of a Toyota Corolla. So to Mercedes-it-up, the good folks in Stuttgart included higher end materials. And those who sit in the front seats of A220 will benefit. They’re comfortable, even for long rides, with good thigh support. Mercedes’ seat adjustment controls (in the shape of a seat on the upper door) are the most ergonomically perfect in the business.
- Handling. Our test car came with the $850 dynamic body control. We don’t know how much of the sporty handling to attribute to that option, and how much to attribute to the suspension of the A220 itself. But the result was a car that had a sporty quality, and felt confident in corners with nicely weighted steering. The car’s selectable “sport mode” was fatiguing after a short time, but even in the normal “comfort” setting, the car cornered very well.
- Power. We found the A220, with its 188 horsepower, 4-cylinder turbo, to have plenty of power for our day to day driving. It’s not an outrageous amount of horsepower in these days of commonplace 250 hp four-cylinder engines. But it generated no complaints from us. It scoots the car around just fine.
- Mileage. The EPA says you’ll see 28. We only saw a little over 25, but we did far more town and country than we did highway. You may do better. If you do, you’ll probably be pleased with that kind of mileage in a sporty sedan.
Test Drive Notes Library
- It’s ’spensive, Lucy. Granted, it’s no Corolla. But with a sticker price of more than $48,000, it’s a serious commitment for a small, front wheel drive car. For that price, you have a lot of options, so you have to really want something with a three-pointed star, and really want a small sedan in order to plunk down for one of these.
- Comfort. Seats aside, comfort is one area where the A Class doesn’t really match up to its larger, more expensive Mercedes siblings. The ride is on the hard side. The car also sits low to the ground, making ingress and egress a bit of work for those who feel they’re done with bending and crouching. Cars this low are starting to feel like an anachronism in the age of crossovers.
- Low speed lag. While the overall power was adequate, there were times when we stepped on the gas and had to wait a moment for power— particularly at low speeds. We attribute most of it to turbo lag. But there were a few times, at very low speeds, when it seemed like the dual clutch, 7-speed automatic was searching for the right gear. At speed, we never had a problem.
- Infotainment controls. We still don’t like this system. Touch pads are the primary source of input, which we find hard to use accurately. They require your eyes on the screen for longer than they should. It’s also easy to swipe one of the touch pads by mistake and lose your favorite song just when it’s getting to the good part. Dammit!
- Rear seat. It’s not awful, but it’s awfully low. Say hello to your knees, Frank!
- Blind spot extra. We’re happy to see the basics of safety are standard in the A220. You’ll get collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Unfortunately, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic warning and lane keeping cost extra.
Get the Car Talk Newsletter