Distilling a luxury brand’s ethos down to a small and affordable entry-level sedan is a tough task wrought with compromise, but the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-class delivers a sophistication similar to its more expensive stablemates. It also earns a spot on our Editors’ Choice list. Mercedes equips all A-class models with a host of luxury amenities and offers even more as optional extras. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard and delivers adequate power but easily fades into the background for quiet highway cruising. Tech features abound as well, including a version of Mercedes’s dual-screen infotainment/digital gauge display setup with the MBUX infotainment interface. Going up against other compact luxury sedans such as the Cadillac CT4 and the BMW 2-series Gran Coupe puts an even finer point on Mercedes’s luxury experience.
What’s New for 2021?
In addition to a new 18-inch wheel design, the 2021 A-class gains standard blind-spot monitoring and an optional gesture control feature for the MBUX infotainment system.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
With the 2021 A-class, the sole engine choice is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 188 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The front-wheel drive is standard with the A220, while the A220 4Matic adds an all-wheel drive. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission handles the gear shifts. The A220 4Matic we tested hustled from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. That’s a bit slower than an A3 we tested, which made the sprint in 5.5 seconds when equipped with the top engine in the model’s lineup. We noticed that front-drive A-class sedans travel with less impact harshness than the heavier all-wheel-drive model. Still, both models deliver a ride quality that’s reasonably comfortable and poised. Steering is precise, throttle response is superb, and there’s almost no turbo lag.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
With entry-level luxury models, the cabin design can sometimes be heavy on the entry-level and light on the luxury. That isn’t the case with the A-class. This sedan has an interior with a premium look that lives up to Mercedes-Benz standards. A trio of circular air vents adds decorative flair to the center stack, and the cabin can be upgraded with upscale options such as leather upholstery, heated front seats, and LED interior lighting. The front seats deliver memorable comfort, and that helps make the A-class a great car for those who face long commutes. A standard folding back seat with a 40/20/40 split allows you to accommodate items too large to fit in the trunk. Speaking of the trunk, the A-class has one significant weakness: It’s light on cargo capacity. The car’s trunk provides just 9.0 cubic feet of room for your belongings.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The 2021 A-class comes with standard tech features such as Bluetooth phone and music streaming, HD radio, and a 7-inch touchscreen. Base models also come with an eight-speaker sound system, five USB-C ports, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration. A larger 10.3-inch touchscreen is offered as part of the available Premium package. The range of optional equipment also includes a SiriusXM satellite radio and a Burmester stereo.