Author: Jack Evans

The Mercedes A-Class was one of the first premium small hatches to hit the market, first introduced back in 1997. Today, it is still one of the best high-end small cars in its segment.

With five engines to choose from, as well as three trim levels, the A-Class offers a dizzying array of combinations for buyers. With base prices starting at £21,790, this little Mercedes commands a premium for the extra prestige and quality associated with the German marque.

However, buyers will be rewarded with strong residuals, excellent reliability and a truly involving drive. With these in mind, it’s easy to see why the A-Class is so popular.

We’ve been through the range to pick the models that offer the best value for money, all the toys you could wish for and value for money.

The smart choice for those on a budget: Mercedes A 180 CDI

At the base of the A-Class range sits the A 180 CDI SE. Starting at £21,790, the SE features 16” alloy wheels, a 5.8-inch tablet-style media display and Bluetooth compatibility. Air conditioning also comes as standard, as does sports seats and a 12-button multi-function steering wheel.

With 109bhp and a six-speed manual transmission as standard, the A 180 CDI achieves a combined consumption figure of 76.4 meaning trips to the pump should be few and far between.

Whats more, 0-62mph is reached in 11.3 seconds, meaning the little Mercedes is brisk enough to keep up with both town and motorway traffic. A seven-speed automatic gearbox can be specified, though this does harm the acceleration, dropping the 0-62 time a fraction to 11.6 seconds.

The smart choice for value for money: A 200 CDI Sport Edition

Weighing in at a £24,555, the A 200 CDI is certainly a price bracket above the A 180, but that is thanks to the Sport Edition trim line.

With this, you get 17-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera and a chrome highlighted radiator grille.

Inside, both driver and passengers are treated to adjustable headrests and luxurious leather seas. On top of this, there’s satellite navigation, cruise control and a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel.

Performance wise, there’s a big change from the A 180. The 0-62 time comes down to a nudge under 10 seconds at 9.3, whilst the top speed jumps from 118mph to 130mph. More importantly, though, it can still achieve 64.2 thanks to clever start stop technology.

The smart choice for technophiles: Mercedes A45 AMG

The daddy of all the A-Class models, the A45 is Mercedes’ fastest, most technologically advanced A-Class yet.

With 360bhp on offer, the A45 can rocker from 0-62 in 4.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. Because of this, fuel economy does take a hit but given the performance on tap, a figure of 40.9mpg is certainly respectable.

Aesthetics-wise, the A45 is treated to everything Mercedes has to offer. With 18” AMG alloy wheels, a chrome-plated sports exhaust system and a full gloss black bodykit the A45 really does stand out as something special on the road.

Of course, all this exclusivity does come at a cost. £38,195 in fact. Take one drive in the A45 though, and you’ll see that the price is completely justifiable given the level of performance and driver enjoyment available.

Picture: Mercedes-Benz