Fleet News

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz A180 CDI Blue Efficiency SE

Mercedes-Benz
BIK List Price
£21,145
Mercedes-Benz A Class BIK list price
BIK Percentage
13%
Mercedes-Benz A Class BIK Percent
CO2
98g/km
Mercedes-Benz A Class CO2
Combined MPG
74.3
Mercedes-Benz A Class MPG

Review

An engine made by Renault is all set to power the major part of a premium car company’s bid for new business in the fleet sector.

Officials at Mercedes-Benz believe the latest version of the French firm’s most successful diesel motor will be a hit with company car drivers who are attracted by the new A-Class range.

Extensively reworked after being used in more than one million Renaults last year, the 1.5-litre dCi unit is on offer alongside two other heavy-oil engines in the revamped hatchback line-up.

But with tailpipe emissions of only 98g/km and potential economy of more than 74mpg, it promises to be a key player in the next move by Mercedes-Benz UK to win a bigger share of corporate registrations.

“Emissions have become a massive factor in fleet and at the moment, this version of the 180 is the cleanest in the segment. That means the door will be open to us to go head-on with compact rivals from Audi and BMW because there’s now nothing to stop the A-Class from going on the leasing lists,” product manager Lisa Cavony told Fleet News.

A radical departure from the ‘tall’ design of the original, the new model wins second looks with a longer, lower and wider stance. But significantly, the sporty styling is backed by the operating efficiency that allows a range of more than 800 miles from a full tank.

Enhanced by a reduced friction package and subtly retuned by recalibrated software, the first outsourced engine to go under the bonnet of a Mercedes is smooth and surprisingly lusty as it delivers the quiet, unruffled power that is expected of the brand.

It’s not the quickest off the mark, but the entry-level diesel proves to be sprightly through the gears and fits well with the SE package, which has suspension that soaks up road irregularities to provide a comfortable ride. Sitting on 16-inch allow wheels, the car copes well with mixed surfaces and provides precise handling from variable-assist steering that gives good feedback at speed.

Despite its nippy demeanour, the SE is geared for quiet cruising and is relaxing to drive with a good spread of convenience equipment and a multi-function steering wheel. But the lack of cruise control is a surprising omission on a premium hatchback, and it’s just as well that hill-hold assist is included as standard because the electric handbrake is awkward to use and poorly sited on the right side of the dash panel. 

On sale in January, the car has good grade trim and load volume extending from 341 litres to 1,157 litres makes the interior versatile. Front accommodation is spacious but only adequate for adults in the rear.
 

Fuel costs
Combined economy of the 1.5-litre engine is good enough to allow a theoretical range of 870 miles on a 50-litre thankful of fuel.
CO2 emissions
Another top score, with an excellent drag coefficient of 0,27 and stop-start helping to take emissions down to 98g/k – enough to beat the arch-rival BMW 1 Series and pip the current Audi A3 Sportback by one gram to pave the way for inclusion on company car choice lists.
Residual values
Sharing only its name with its predecessor, the new A-Class has most of the attributes that give bigger Mercedes-Benz models strong appeal on the used car market. Low running costs should also encourage good values.
Driver appeal
Well-spaced ratios and slick gear lever movements underscore the sporty styling of the new A-Class and a seamless flow of power makes it both easy and satisfying to drive.
FN Verdict
The original A-Class never allowed Mercedes to compete with its rivals in the premium compact car sector, but attractive styling and a distinctive character mean things could be different in future and it’s easy to see why the company regards this car as the first move in its strategy for growth.
Top Speed
118mph
Mercedes-Benz A Class Top Speed
VED band
N/A
Mercedes-Benz A Class Ved
Fuel Type
Diesel
Mercedes-Benz A Class Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : £9,625
4 Year 80k : £7,800
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : 34.63
4 Year 80k : 32.01

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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