2021 Mercedes-Benz A Class

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
January 30, 2021

Buying tip

The A-Class is a decent value in base form, but we’d spend up for the optional upsized touchscreens.

features & specs

A 220 4MATIC Sedan
A 220 Sedan
AMG A 35 4MATIC Sedan
25 city / 34 hwy
25 city / 36 hwy
22 city / 29 hwy

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a cheap way to get into the three-pointed star’s lineup, but it doesn’t skimp on much.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a small sedan that starts around $35,000 and brings with it the style and panache expected of a car bearing the three-pointed star. Shop it against the BMW 2-Series, Audi A3, and Acura ILX. 

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class a good car?

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There’s a lot to like about the 2021 A-Class, so long as a spacious interior isn’t something you expect from your entry-level luxury sedan. The A-Class earns a 6.6 out of 10 on our scale; zippy AMG versions might rate higher if we looked at them individually. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class?

Now in its third model year, the A-Class largely stands spot. Blind-spot monitors and 64 hues of ambient lighting are standard fare for 2021. 

The A-Class comes only as a four-door sedan with nice curves paired with a relatively conventional roofline, though it is a close relative to the Mercedes-Benz CLA, GLA, and GLB. 

Underneath, all use the same 2.0-liter turbo-4, which shuffles power forward or to all four wheels through a 7-speed automatic gearbox. Base A220s are rated at an acceptable 188 hp, while the rorty A35 AMG hustles 302 horsepower to each corner. That’s a lot of power for a small sedan, and the smallest of Benzes is fairly frugal, too. All versions top 25 mpg combined. 

We’ve only driven A220s so far; they’re balanced, polished, and poised. Both front-seat riders will have a nice time, but those confined to row two will find limited stretch-out room. At least the interior digs are price-appropriate, with nicer materials such as real leather and wood trim tantalizing options.

The A-Class checks the basics when it comes to crash-avoidance gear, but this four-door hasn’t yet been tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS. More advanced tech is optional, but not likely something you’ll find on a dealer’s lot loaded with lease specials. 

How much does the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class cost?

The base A220 runs $34,700, while adding all-wheel drive notches that price up $2,000. A35s cost another $10,000.

Our money would be on a relatively basic A-Class; with many options selected, it inches too close in price to bigger Benzes.  

Where is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class made?

In Mexico.


2021 Mercedes-Benz A Class


It may be conservative, but the 2021 A-Class is a stately design.

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class a good-looking car?

The 2021 A-Class has stately, classical proportions mixed with some of Mercedes-Benz’s latest design cues. We like what Mercedes has done with its smallest model, and we rate it a 7 out of 10 for its interior and exterior style.

The A-Class has a low front end flanked by headlights that jump back toward the front wheels. From the rear, its small taillights are clean and simple. There’s little extra adornment here, and that’s just fine with us. The optional AMG Line trim—and the A35—sport things up a bit, but overall the A-Class is a relatively subtle sedan compared to its flashier CLA sibling. 

Inside, the look is busier, but not overwhelming even with the optional twin screens housed under a single pane of dash. Mercedes has been kind enough to leave actual buttons for climate controls, and those on the steering wheel work well enough after a little acclimation period.

Most A-Classes you’ll find on dealer lots will be beige or black inside, but don’t be afraid to be a little more adventurous with the numerous hues Mercedes offers—sometimes for an extra cost.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz A Class


Not quite sporty in most versions, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a well-mannered small sedan.

The A-Class anchors the Mercedes-Benz lineup in terms of price and performance. It’s not especially quick, but it’s polished. We rate it at 7 out of 10, with points for its willing powertrain and its comfy ride.

Is the Mercedes-Benz A-Class 4WD?

It can be. For $2,000, Mercedes sends power to the rear wheels as well as the fronts on the A220 4Matic. All A35 AMGs are all-wheel drive. 

How fast is the Mercedes-Benz A-Class?

The standard 2.0-liter turbo-4 puts out a modest 188 hp, but the A-Class is a light sedan and its 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission makes the most of what’s there. Front-drive versions hit 60 mph in a tick over seven seconds; the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system that may seem mandatory in snowy states dulls responses slightly. 

The base suspension rides comfortably, even with the 18-inch wheels that are likely to be most common on dealer lots. AMG Line versions ride lower to the ground, though their suspensions aren’t tuned for especially high-performance driving.

We haven’t driven the A35, but we have high hopes for its 302-hp version of the turbo-4, plus its adaptive dampers and specially-tuned suspension.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Comfort & Quality

The 2021 A-Class does small Benz on a budget well, so long as you’re not in the back seat.

If you spent any time in an old CLA or GLA, forget what you learned. The latest A-Class is comfortable and well-wrought inside, though rear-seat space is at a premium. We give it a 6 out of 10 thanks to its good quality.

Front-seat riders get comfy thrones upholstered in vinyl—or leather for an extra cost. The rear seat offers less than 34 inches of leg room, which is typical for a small car. If you need to carry adults in row two, consider a used C-Class. 

Mercedes’ design team did a great job making the A-Class feels special inside. The big circular vents, wide displays, and well-organized controls speak to extra effort. Reward them with a brighter interior hue and a carefully-selected trim finish from the numerous options Mercedes offers.

Trunk space is good for a small sedan at just shy of 15 cubic feet.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz A Class


The 2021 A-Class has not been crash tested.

How safe is the Mercedes-Benz A-Class?

That we don’t know, but all signs point toward a good rating whenever the NHTSA and the IIHS get around to smacking this little Benz into a few walls.

At least the standard feature set is good. Automatic emergency braking is standard, as are blind-spot monitors and a slew of airbags. 

Mercedes bundles adaptive cruise control and a system that can steer the car out of the way of a pending collision in a $1,700 package that unfortunately requires around $3,000 in additional options first.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz A Class


The 2021 A-Class is well-appointed, but watch those costly options.

Thanks to its terrific infotainment tech, a wide array of standard features, and plenty of options, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class earns 8 out of 10 points. 

Which Mercedes-Benz A-Class should I buy?

The A-Class comes in two variants: A220 and A35 AMG. The AMG is tempting, especially if you’re planning to add a bunch of options to the A220. But we think a relatively sparsely-optioned A220 makes the most of this small car.

Starting at around $34,500, a front-drive A-Class feels like a reasonable value. We’d skip the AMG styling packages—they don’t add any real driving punch—and spend instead for metallic paint, wood trim, heated seats and steering wheel, and the Premium Package that adds twin 10.3-inch screens plus a few other niceties. That pushes the price to just over $37,000; if your budget stretches, consider adding Burmester audio and a wireless charging pad for another grand. 

All-wheel drive costs $2,000 more, though it’ll be hard to find a front-wheel-drive A220 outside the Sun Belt. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class?

If the $2,600 AMG Line package tempts, consider that you’re a quarter of the way to the A35 AMG, which also includes a number of the Premium Package features as standard equipment. Like that little devil on your shoulder, we’ll goad you into the AMG version.

Just don’t go too crazy with options or you’ll wind up with a bill for nearly $70,000.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a fairly fuel-efficient choice.

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class good on gas?

All versions of the 2021 A-Class top 25 mpg combined, which is enough to earn the range a 5 out of 10 on our scale.

The A220 is the greenest at 25 mpg city, 36 highway, 29 combined. All-wheel drive dings those figures a little to 25/34/28 mpg.

The A35 is the most powerful and, predictably, the thirstiest: 22/29/25 mpg.

All A-Classes use premium fuel. 

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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MSRP based on A 220 Sedan
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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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