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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

‘A’ for attraction

Arun Changrani, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 25, 2013
First Published: 18:56 IST(25/6/2013) | Last Updated: 02:02 IST(26/6/2013)

Be its striking good looks or its superior performance, the Mercedes A Class sets the tone for premium hatchbacks in the country. It is the first of its kind, but given the Indian consumer’s mindset, whether it will make an impression on them or not is something that we are just about to find out.

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At first glance, its intriguing front end has one asking for more, especially the prominent grille with diamond shaped chrome inserts and elongated LED headlamps. Its coupe like profile further accentuates the design along with flared wheel arches, elegant looking alloys and side view mirrors with indicator inserts. As for the rear of the car, it is proportionate to the overall design, bringing forward LED tail lamp clusters.

With the exterior design being spot on, one would expect the cabin to offer something special. Unfortunately, typical of all Mercedes Benz cars, there are a hoard for buttons to play around with, keeping the central console in mind. However, the air conditioning vents look dynamic, giving the interiors a bit more of substance. Comfortable and sporty leather seats further enhance the in-house experience, though the lack of leg space at the back does play spoilsport.

Since this was a sports variant, it featured a 1.6 litre petrol engine under the skin that produces a maximum power output of 122 bhp with 200 Nm of torque. Besides the petrol version, Mercedes is also offering a 2 litre diesel engine on the A Class for customers who are more economy conscious. With a seven speed automatic transmission on board, the gear shift are more or less decent. However, with three different modes on offer —economy, sports and manual, the user does get to experience different characteristics of this machine depending upon the requirement. But, extensive noise vibrations from the engine, as well lack of insulation for the horn, does pose discomfort to the occupants.

Verdict
The attempt by Mercedes to offer the latest generation A Class does put into context the German manufacturer’s need to capture a new segment. But its hefty price tag and a repetitive cabin might sour the customers’ mindset, which however can be resolved by its exemplary exterior design.

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