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The Mercedes-Benz A-Class offers entry-level luxury, with pros and a few cons.

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After a period of exclusivity in Europe, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is finally making its U.S. debut in 2019. At a $32,500 starting price (see below for more details), this sedan was worth the wait...mostly. Fit with a minimal, aerodynamic design, the four-door glides nimbly through rush-hour traffic and navigates tight corners with ease. And with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system, the A-Class is equipped with Mercedes’ advanced user interface.

What follows is a full report.

THE EXTERIOR: sporty lines add prestige

With its aerodynamic line, the 2019 A-Class Sedan turns heads. At 14’ 9”, the A-Class is shorter than any other Mercedes on the market, as can be expected. But it’s also 4” longer than the comparably-priced Audi A3.

The sleek profile is sporty, with its Star-centered diamond grille and energy-efficient LED headlamps. In terms of looks, this model’s sleekness and obvious quality lacks any shortcuts that might signify ‘entry-level’ with other manufacturers.

THE PERFORMANCE: smooth ride, but lacks some power

With a 2.0-liter turbo engine, the A-Class drives smoothly. Transmission is a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic that seamlessly switches between gears, adding to the A-Class’s smooth ride. Also notable: the engineering and design of the A-Class make this car unusually quiet.

One drawback: with only 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, the A-Class’s acceleration is less eager and zippy than, say, its closest competitor, the Quattro-equipped Audi A3.

THE INTERIOR: surprisingly-roomy, with standard Mercedes comforts

For a small car, the A-Class Sedan is surprisingly spacious. The sloping roofline adds height to the interior cabin, offering comfort to taller passengers. The driver has 40.3” of headroom and 41.8” of legroom, which is actually more space than you’d have in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan, which might cost you easily $60,000+ more than this car.

Interior features are standard for a Mercedes: signature interior lighting frames dashboard and doors, dual-action climate control gives you precise temperature controls, contoured power seats provide lumbar support, making long drives seem shorter. Overhead is a panoramic sunroof. On the dashboard and center console, two touchscreen displays enable you to access the MBUX interface, with crystal-clear graphics and an advanced, augmented reality GPS (though the AR package costs an additional $1,150). As with all Mercedes, the steering wheel has touch-control buttons that enable a quick, voiceless change in radio stations or adjustment to the car’s cruise control speed.

THE TECHNOLOGY: once you get used to it, MBUX makes life easier

MBUX isn’t the first voice-activated infotainment system on the market, but, in our view, it truly is one of the best. With advanced, voice-enabled software that understands your natural speech, the MBUX takes the driver’s experience to new heights. You can change your lighting, cabin temperature, or seat position with a simple voice command—or find the best Italian restaurant within a 10-mile radius, or on your direct route. And using Artificial Intelligence (AI), the system learns your preferences and anticipates your needs—so over time, your MBUX becomes more personalized and intuitive.

THE PRICE: entry-level, but key features cost extra

Priced at $32,500, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 is an entry-level luxury vehicle—but be aware that key add-ons can push that starting price up quickly. For starters, the base model is front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is available in the A 220 4MATIC Sedan model for an additional $2,000. Other available packages offer excellent driver assistance features (including blind spot assist, emergency stop assist, and active distance assist), augmented reality for navigation, and a keyless go-start: each adds between $1,550 and $2,250 to vehicle cost, so beware.

While it is certainly possible to purchase the A-Class for $32,500, plus the destination charge (an additional $995, since the car is manufactured in Germany), most buyers will opt to add the $1,550 Premium Package, which includes blind spot assist, larger 10.25” MBUX displays, auto-dimming driver-side and inside rearview mirrors, power-folding mirrors, hands-free trunk access, and keyless-go.

Overall, the A-Class sedan is a solid starter model for a driver that wants smooth handling, a beautiful exterior, and a luxury experience. Though you can get this car for less than $33,500, you’ll likely end up paying extra for key add-ons—though the additional cost may be worth it in the long run. If you want more torque and horsepower, consider checking out the comparable entry-level-priced 2019 Audi A3 Sedan.

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