2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class revealed: Starting at the bottom

July 25, 2018

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan unveiled Monday at a private event in New York represents a grab for a market Mercedes-Benz has moved away from with its C-Class sedan: a three-pointed star priced for entry-level luxury buyers.

With the 2019 A-Class, Mercedes is back in that market—at least at first glance. This conventionally styled four-door sedan complements the automaker's CLA-Class but should offer a more spacious interior thanks to its longer wheelbase and more traditional roof line compared to the coupe-like look of the CLA. At 179.1 inches from bumper to bumper, the A-Class is about three inches shorter than the CLA.

MORE: Read our 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class preview

The A-Class launches first as the A220 in either front- or the automaker's 4Matic all-wheel-drive configurations and rides on an updated version of the CLA's underpinnings. 

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The A220 shares its 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shift levers with the CLA, but subs in a 188-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 that's down 20 ponies compared to the CLA250. Underneath, the A-Class features a MacPherson strut front suspension and the option of adaptive dampers. Mercedes says that 17-inch wheels will be standard equipment, with 19s on the options list. Only A220 4Matic models will use a multi-link rear suspension. Front-drive models instead use a simple torsion-beam setup.

That marks a significant departure from the CLA250, which features the same multi-link rear suspension regardless of drive wheels.

Automatic cruise control is standard equipment on the A220 and a wide range of active safety tech is optional, including adaptive cruise control that can slow the vehicle automatically as it approaches a curve, intersection, or roundabout. That tech is bundled with active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection in the available Driver Assistance Package.

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Though the A220 is the new gateway to the Mercedes lineup, it serves as the U.S. debut for the automaker's new MBUX infotainment system. A 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment is standard, while a 10.3-inch unit is on the options list. MBUX places a large emphasis on voice commands; "Hey Mercedes" primes the system for a command, although a touchscreen, a center console-mounted touchpad, and steering wheel controls provide access to MBUX as well.

Either touchscreen blends with a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster under a single pane of glass that appears to float above the A220's air vents and climate controls. Its dashboard is notably light on buttons—there's not even a volume knob.

MBUX also includes preliminary car-to-infrastructure and car-to-car communication capabilities, although Mercedes hasn't said whether its system can communicate with traffic lights like that used in many Audi models.

Mercedes hasn't yet said how much the A-Class will cost, but it's unlikely to cost more than the roughly $34,000 2018 CLA-Class. When the CLA debuted in 2013, it made waves because it cost about $30,000.

The A-Class squares off against the Audi A3 and the Acura ILX and will go on sale in late 2018.

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