2020 Mercedes-Benz A Class

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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
January 15, 2020

Buying tip

If it were our money, we’d skip the coffee shop for the next three years and spring for bigger touchscreens. They’re responsive and impressive.

features & specs

A 220 4MATIC Sedan
A 220 Sedan
MPG
24 city / 34 hwy
MPG
24 city / 35 hwy
MSRP
$34,800
MSRP
$32,800

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan is the most affordable new Mercedes on sale. Its three-pointed star will be the attraction, but there’s plenty to stick around for after.

Budget balling has its appeal. Like buying out the bar when it’s dollar-draft night. Or credit-card roulette at McDonald’s. 

We like all the above and the budget-balling 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class—the least-expensive way to get into a new vehicle with a three-pointed star this year. For $33,795, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A220 comes correct with good looks, dual 7.0-inch screens, 17-inch wheels, and smartphone software. This year, a much hotter AMG A35 screws the turbos tighter for 302 horsepower from a busy 2.0-liter turbo-4, but we haven’t yet driven it. 

Our 6.4 TCC Rating applies to the A220 that will be more popular. Its good features are complemented by a handsome exterior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Review continues below

Until the A35 arrives this spring, the A220 with or without all-wheel drive is the only way to step into an A-Class for now. All-wheel drive, which Mercedes-Benz calls 4Matic, is available on the A220 for $2,000. 

The 2020 A-Class is related to the GLA crossover and CLA four-door coupe, but grafts a traditional sedan shape on its frame. It’s handsome and traditional, like a navy blue suit. The A-Class has short overhangs and a long hood that give it an athletic profile, and a strong line down the body that breaks up visual heft. 

The A220 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 188 horsepower and shuttles the car up to 60 mph in about seven seconds. It’s not the fastest car Mercedes makes by a long margin, but it’s appropriate for the class. The upcoming A35 promises 0-60 mph sprints in 4.6 seconds from its busy 2.0-liter turbo-4; upcoming models may even be quicker. 

A smooth ride is the A-Class’ best performance metric so far. Four-wheel independent suspension swallows up road imperfections better than the outgoing CLA-Class. 

Inside, four adults can share space WeWork-style, although the rear pair better be friends. (Preferably limber friends.) The seat bottoms are small and low, and there’s less than 34 inches of rear seat leg room to be found. 

Good news: The A220 gets quality fittings that we appreciate for the price. 

Every Mercedes-Benz gets standard automatic emergency braking this year, and the base A220 does well with its 7.0-inch screens and smartphone software. 

Spend-up extras include a pair of upgraded 10.3-inch screens for information and infotainment, premium sound, adaptive dampers, and exterior accents.

7

2020 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Styling

Smooth and sharp, the 2020 A-Class is a stately compact car for reasonable money.

We know a sedan when we see one, and the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a sedan. Thankfully, Mercedes agrees and spares us the “coupe” moniker it brandishes on everything from a coupe to a crossover. 

We like what we see in the A-Class and give it a 7 for good looks, inside and out. 

The A-Class adopts a traditional sedan shape, compared to the CLA. That doesn’t mean the A-Class is stodgy or already old; its short overhangs and long hood give the A-Class a sporty profile that’s handsome. 

The wheel arches drape over 17-, 18-, or 19-inch wheels—we say 19-inchers look the best although they don’t have the most comfortable ride. 

The hood is low, framed by slim headlights, with a Mercedes star pointed in its snout. AMG dress-up packages add lashings of chrome and racier looks down the sides, too. 

In back, the A-Class has a lip spoiler on the decklid and dual exhaust finishers. 

Inside, the look is even more modern. The driver and front passenger are met with a dual-screen wall o’ tech that includes 7.0-inch displays as standard equipment, or 10.3-inch displays when upgraded. Two turbine-shaped air vents are at either end of the dash and three more sit in the center stack—like the S-Class that costs three times as much. 

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7

2020 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Performance

Mercedes-Benz improved its small car formula with the 2020 A-Class.

The A-Class rights the wrongs of its spiritual predecessor in the Mercedes lineup: the outgoing CLA-Class. That’s because the CLA-Class was the last “Baby Benz” but has since moved on. The 2020 A-Class inherits the same price range, but delivers a better ride. Starting from an average score, the A-Class sedan gets a point above average for a smooth ride—something we never said about the CLA—and another for above-average acceleration. It’s a 7. 

The A-Class rides atop a chassis that’s stiffer than the CLA, but that’s a good thing—its springs are much softer. 

There are three suspensions available for the A-Class, too. Base cars ride atop a four-wheel independent setup that’s just fine. An optional AMG line lowers the car by about a half-inch, and that’s just fine too. 

Optional adaptive dampers absorb bumps about the same, although it can stiffen the whole car for sportier handling. We’ve noticed that the rear end can bound over bumps a little, likely due to the car’s short wheelbase more than its stiff suspension. 

Under the hood of all A220 sedans is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 188 hp and 221 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and powers the front or all four wheels when optionally equipped. The combo isn’t especially quick although it is smooth and efficient. With or without all-wheel drive, the A220 takes about seven seconds to speed from a standstill to 60 mph, although that’s hardly a slowpoke. 

If more power is on the shopping list, a hotter AMG A35 is on the way that makes 302 hp and speeds up to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. We haven’t yet driven those cars but will report back when we do. 

Most of our time behind the wheel of the A220 has been with 18-inch wheels and with its lowered suspension. It steers well and rides better, and we like the heft in the steering wheel—something luxury brands have given up, recently.

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6

2020 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 A-Class fits four adults better than the older baby Benzes, but we’re more impressed with the fit and finish.

The 2020 A-Class is the most affordable Mercedes-Benz in its stable, but it still hits all the right notes for a luxury car. 

Its compact dimensions are inescapable, but the baby Benz gets a point above average on our comfort scale for the right fittings inside. It’s a 6. 

The interior of the A-Class is more spacious than the outgoing CLA-Class, which previously held the title of “least amount of money for any car with a three-pointed star on the hood,” especially the back seat. The seat bottoms in the A-Class are low though, and lack thigh support for long legs. The rear seat is fine, but it lacks comfort for adults on long slogs—just 33.9 inches of leg room are available. 

The front seats are OK but not very supportive. The synthetic leather Mercedes uses is convincingly soft but not as grained as the real thing, which is available as an option. 

Some of the interior trim pieces are great, like the circular vents, wood dash accents, and big displays. We like the available ambient lights too, they class up the A-Class—see what we did there?

The trunk in the A-Class is spacious for a small car; 14.8 cubic feet of cargo fits back there, which is ample. We’d prefer the versatility of the A-Class hatchback, but that’s not likely to arrive in the U.S. at all. 

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2020 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Safety

Crash data is lacking for the 2020 A-Class, but every model now gets standard automatic emergency braking.

Official crash-test data isn’t on the near horizon for the 2020 A-Class, and we don’t expect that to change soon. Absent official ratings, we can’t assign a score here but will amend that if it changes. 

This year, Mercedes made automatic emergency braking standard on all A-Class models (actually, every car they make too) that can help prevent forward crashes. 

An optional driver-assistance package adds adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors for $2,250. An additional package for $1,090 adds automatic parking assistance and a surround-view camera system. 

Spend-up LED headlights are available that can help see around corners better and cost $900. 

Normally, we’d advise adding all the active safety gear available as budgets allow, but the A-Class has good outward vision and is fairly maneuverable. We’d still suggest spending all available dimes on good safety gear. 

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8

2020 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Features

Good base features and a handful of options keep the A-Class within reach for first-time luxury buyers.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class replaces the outgoing CLA as the least expensive new car available from the brand. The A-Class is better than the old CLA, and it’s less expensive: win-win. 

It’s an 8 on our features scale for good standard items and a good touchscreen infotainment system. The standard warranty on all A-Class models is better than many rivals, too. A 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty gives new owners peace of mind. 

The base A220 sedan costs $33,795, including destination. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option. 

All 2020 A220s get vinyl upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, keyless ignition, a panoramic sunroof, 17-inch wheels, and a pair of 7.0-inch screens—a driver information display and an infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. 

We wouldn’t stray far from those base cars, but a $1,650 premium package upgrades those 7.0-inch screens to a pair of 10.3-inch screens and adds blind spot monitors. Heated seats are a standalone $550 upgrade, and Burmester sound checks in for $850 more. At $36,845 for a front-drive A220, we think we have a pretty good model but would consider $850 more for adaptive dampers, too. 

With all the bells and whistles an A220 can cost more than $50,000, and that’s before we’ve even considered the AMG A35, which has an uprated turbo-4. 

Mercedes offers heated and cooled front seats, exterior accents, a lowered suspension, driver-assistance features beyond the standard active-safety suite (covered above), satellite radio, a wireless smartphone charger, summer tires, 19-inch wheels, and ambient lighting as upgrades. 

The A220 is equipped with Mercedes’ latest infotainment system, called MBUX, that can recognize natural voice commands and, when in range of a cellular data connection, deliver internet-based search results such as where to eat or where to get gas. 

MBUX can be controlled via the touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted buttons, a trackpad, or voice commands. The latter is especially finicky; passengers can say “Hey Mercedes” to activate the system but in our experience, just saying the word “Mercedes” can turn it on. 

The word “Mercedes” comes up a lot more frequently than you might expect, driving one around and all. 

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5

2020 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Fuel Economy

The 2020 A-Class earns respectable fuel-economy ratings.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan is frugal with a gallon of gas compared to most in its class. 

The smallest Benz rates 24 mpg city, 35 highway, 28 combined. That’s a 5 on our scale. 

Adding all-wheel drive shaves 1 mpg from the highway rating and hardly impacts fuel economy. 

The upcoming AMG A35 sedan hasn’t yet been rated by the EPA. We’ll update this space when it is. 

Among small luxury compacts, the Benz fares well. The Acura ILX rates 28 mpg combined, and the Audi A3 earns combined ratings of 25 mpg with all-wheel drive. 

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$32,800
MSRP based on A 220 Sedan
 
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6.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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2020 Mercedes-Benz A Class Pricing Insights

  • 2020 A-Class is in showrooms
  • Rebates: No cash incentives
  • Finance: Fron 1.99% (2019)
  • Lease: From $349/month
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