Mercedes A160 Avantgarde Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services

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Mercedes-Benz A 160 W168

Mercedes-Benz A160 Avantgarde Car

Author: NRMA Motoring 20 November 1998

Mercedes-Benz’s and much publicised baby has and there’s plenty about it to attention.

This new ‘baby’ is of the A-Class and though it’s no an object of beauty in the eyes of its its looks are quite startling and compared to more conventional

However, there are a couple of reasons why the A-Class looks so to your average small door hatchback. The first has to do interior space and the second has to do passive safety.

Tall car mean more room for and the A-Class is not only spacious, its adjustable and removable seating is very adaptable in meeting requirements for occupants and luggage.

Part of the design brief for the was for it to provide occupant protection was way above average for this of car and the high, sandwich construction is there to allow the engine and to slide safely underneath in the of a major impact, and not to intrude the passenger space.

Mercedes-Benz says that the high position means occupants are in the event of a side impact and claims that the A-Class safety levels equal to of Mercedes’ larger E-Class sedan.

Passive safety is enhanced by the A-Class’s standard dual front and side plus pretensioner seat with integrated force on the front belts.

Active safety has received attention (even more so the well documented European test in which an A-Class and the car has traction control, electronic control, ABS brakes with brake assist, and an enhanced package.

All this technology adds cost and A-Class start at $37,900 for the Classic manual, with the Avantgarde $41,400. Full automatic costs an extra $1,600 on the and $1,500 on the Avantgarde.

As well as the of safety equipment, A-Class also get plenty of standard and convenience features which airconditioning, power steering, locking, electric front power adjustable and heated mirrors, a six speaker sound (which had very poor AM in the test car), front fog and a first aid kit.

On the road, the A-Class provides a driving experience. Performancefrom the basic 1.6 litre engine is but certainly nothing special.

The manual transmission is an interesting but it doesn’t really offer any benefits. In fact, it takes to get used to its operation and when along slowly in stop/start traffic, some jerkiness in the of power was noticeable.

Mercedes-Benz A 160 W168

The additional work Mercedes-Benz did the moose test has no doubt handling and roadholding but there’s no away from the fact tall cars such as don’t inspire confidence pushed hard through Despite its stiffly sprung (resulting in a very firm the A-Class still feels top and it can become quite nervous choppy surfaces or when to change direct quickly.

with its ‘sticky’ low profile and traction control, the A-Class good adhesion.

Even the A-Class has only drum at the rear, its braking performance our testing was excellent.


the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class has a lot to do with how you its position in the marketplace.

For many people, the A-Class’s and the fact that it wears a badge, will place it in the lower luxury class. it’s up against some stiff competition, many of eclipse it on things like chassis dynamics, comfort, and overall driving pleasure.

On the hand, if you look at the A-Class as another small European it offers excellent space, an versatile seating and load impressive safety credentials and of advanced technology features, but all at a price premium over from the likes of Volkswagen, (Holden), Peugeot and Citroen.

In the end, it will be up to individuals to whether the A-Class is worth its price tag, and whether its features, performance, and overall feel, satisfy their and requirements.

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