We are only just halfway through January and already the amount of 191 cars on the road is multiplying. The rush to buy a new car has begun in earnest and the dealerships are pushing sales to meet high January and February targets. Traditionally in Ireland, some people like to wait a month or two before buying their new car, as they don’t want the neighbours muttering about the crowd next door with the shiny new car. But you also have the people who are knocking on the door of the dealership at 9:00 am on the 2nd of January looking to get their car as soon as possible to get their money's worth. Whatever category you find yourself in, there is nothing more exciting than the feeling of getting a new car. From the smell of the interior to the glistening paint of the exterior. The satisfaction of the sale person handing over the key to you is something special. It would be hard to replicate that wonderful feeling as you drive out of the dealership with a grin on your face. Just over 12 months ago I purchased my VW Golf and instantly fell in love with the car. Now 12 months on, I’m beginning to get an itch for something new, something with a little more spec and a bit more pick up that plants you in your seat. Over the next few weeks, I am going to be test driving several cars that I think would be suitable upgrades. Hopefully, by the end of this journey, I can make up my mind and decide if upgrading is the right thing to do.
The History of the A-Class:
A car that I have really grown fond of is the new Mercedes A Class. The new look A-Class is a different breed when compared to the older version that was released in the 1990s. A bubble shaped car that was rather painful to look at and was probably similar to drive. The earlier models certainly did not shout luxury. As you can see below, in reality, it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing on the eye.
Following on from the original A-Class there were newer models that followed a similar blueprint. The 2nd generation A Class Mercedes did not set the world alight either. Having the same shape as the original model, it did not fit right with the Mercedes brand. Yes, it was an improvement, but it still didn’t look like it was part of the Mercedes family.
Fast forward to 2013 and the launch of the new A-Class, the industry was blown away by the new sleek design that had zero resemblance to the older models. Finally, an A-Class that could be parked next to the Mercedes CLS and not look out of place. With a low centre of gravity and a menacing front end, the 3rd generation A-Class had finally blossomed into a proper Mercedes. Sporting some seriously impressive lines and an engine output to match, Mercedes went from last place all the way to the top in the ‘hot hatch’ category.
Following on from the great success of the 3rd generation, Mercedes brought out the current version in 2018 and created a car with a more fuel-efficient engine, sharper lines and a bigger cabin on the inside that would match the space in a VW Golf.
The Test Drive:
The model I took for a test drive was the brand-new Mercedes A Class AMG Line, in gunmetal grey. The Spec of the car was the AMG line, meaning the trim on the inside of the car resembles that of a fully loaded AMG, minus the performance engine. The car engine was a 1.5 litre diesel, with an automatic gearbox. The car had 16inch AMG alloys which really went well with the grey body paint of the car. The road tax was only €200 for the year, which for a car that has an output of 115 BHP is very good. Beginning with the interior, I was really impressed with the black leather seats, which really hug you as you sit into them. The dashboard has two LCD screens, one used for the radio and GPS and the other displaying the speedometer and other gauges.
Using the gauges, you can change the background display from a standard or conventional level to a sportier look and feel. The design of the interior was clean and minimalistic. My only criticism would be that the buttons and knobs in the cabin, seemed cheap and there was no sense of luxury when it came to their look or feel. Some of the tech features include a rear-view reversing camera, lane assist, which gives the driver a warning if they are drifting into another lane, along with a great multimedia system. You can control the media system with the use of the touch screen display, the steering wheel and a new touchpad which is located on the centre console.
Once you get on the road, you can feel the acceleration of the car when you put your foot down, which is great for overtaking. A lot of weight saving technology has gone into this car, removing any unnecessary parts to make the car as light as possible This has a knock on effect on the car's performance as you really do get the most out of the 1.5-litre engine. Putting the car into sports mode makes the steering wheel firmer thus allowing you to really move the car around corners and roundabouts. On the one hand, the car is a great day to day car, but also would work well out on the track, especially with a clear path ahead as it would really eat up the road.
The new A-Class really is a great looking car both on the inside and out. As hot hatches go, it is most definitely up there with some of the best around. However, it really does come at a premium. The model I test drove was €35K and if you wanted the Blackout pack that would cost another few grand on top of that. Many people would struggle to justify paying close to €40K for a car of this size. There are definitely larger models of cars one or two years old, that could easily be bought instead of buying a new A-Class. Trying to find a Mercedes-Benz A-Class from 2018 is still hard to come by, any I found online were only 4k cheaper than a brand new one. If you are a fan of the new model, then buying a 191 might be a better option if you are not willing to wait an extra year or two for the car to depreciate. It really boils down to the love you have for the car. It is most definitely in my top 3 favourite hot hatches on the market and with the different financial packages available at the moment, it is food for thought.
Stay tuned for next weeks test drive, as I continue my hunt for a new car. If you are not in the market for a new car but are looking to freshen up your own, check out our car accessories and car mats. As always, if you have any further questions or would like us to review any other make and model of car, be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.