Budget-Friendly Mercedes A-Class Discontinued | Edmunds

  • Mercedes-Benz A-Class bows out after just three years in production.
  • Overlap with pricier and nearly identical CLA made A-Class redundant.
  • There are a number of alternatives if you want a relatively affordable luxury sedan.

Just three years after we named the Mercedes-Benz A-Class our Edmunds Top Rated Luxury Sedan, Benz is pulling the plug on its entry-level luxury subcompact, according to a report from Automotive News. Given the similarities between the A-Class and related CLA-Class sedan, this isn’t especially shocking. However, the CLA’s higher price — approximately $4,000 more than the A-Class — may put it out of reach for buyers who may have otherwise picked the more affordable Benz.

A-Class found the sweet spot between luxury and price

Despite its entry-level position, the A-Class managed to distill hallmark Mercedes qualities — comfort, class, craftsmanship — into a compact luxury package for less than what you’d spend on a midlevel Honda Accord. A tidy footprint and well-tuned suspension made for nimble handling, and the relatively spacious cabin convinced friends they wouldn’t need to touch knees to chin if they came along for the ride. The A-Class’ MBUX infotainment system also set a new standard for the class with its crisp interface and advanced touch, gesture and voice controls.

We liked the A-Class enough to add it to our stable of long-term test cars and it mostly lived up to its potential. We liked its size and sporty manner and its ability to thread traffic, and we couldn’t find any serious fault with the MBUX system. We did have ongoing annoyances with the dual-clutch transmission, with its odd-timed shifts and poorly calibrated responses to engine speeds. The 188-horsepower base engine wasn’t particularly thrilling, but it was otherwise capable for the daily rounds, and despite a good amount of room for the class, a car packed full of 6-foot-plus adults did feel a little claustrophobic.

So what do I buy now?

But, hey, why are we talking about the A-Class in the past tense already? You can still find a new one if you act fast, or a used one with low miles, given that the model only went on sale for the 2019 model year. But if you’re looking for an alternative, we do have a few suggestions.

If you can stretch your budget, the CLA remains the closest sedan analog. Starting at just over $39,000, the CLA is essentially the A-Class remixed. It uses the A-Class underpinnings, but it offers slightly more power and trunk space in exchange for a little less rear headroom courtesy of the CLA’s swept roofline.

German rivals like the Audi A3 and BMW 228i Gran Coupe are fine substitutes. The BMW starts a tick higher than the outgoing A-Class but checks many of the same boxes. Its 228-horsepower engine and agile handling provide invigorating performance, and its traditional automatic is smoother than the A-Class’s dual-clutch. The A3, meanwhile, is totally redesigned for 2022, with a revamped infotainment system and distinctive exterior and interior design. Its engine is also more potent this year, rising from 184 hp to 201 hp.

The Cadillac CT4 is a newer alternative with a punchy 237-hp engine and striking styling, but it falls short of its European competitors in overall refinement. A more interesting pick might be the fully loaded Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus. This fully loaded Mazda 3’s price is just a bit higher than the base A-Class, but the Mazda comes with a peppier 227-hp engine, standard all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, class-leading interior design and materials, and a full array of driver assist features. The Mazda may lack the luxury badge cachet, but it truly delivers a luxury driving experience.

Edmunds says

We lament the pending demise of a high-quality, affordable Benz, but there are plenty of alternatives for you to consider.

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