With the introduction of the All-New 2019 A250 Hatchback, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A220 sedan is close behind it. But does the least expensive Mercedes-Benz still feel like a Mercedes-Benz? Read on…
Engine – The A220 4Matic has essentially the same engine as the A250 hatch but with a bit less power. The 2.0L turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine in this A220 produces 188 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Peak power is reached at the 5,800 rpm mark but peak torque is available at a low 1,600 rpms. While the A220 doesn’t feel as spritely as the A250 (0-100km/h is a full second slower at 7.2 according to Mercedes-Benz), it’s just enough power and torque for most driver’s daily commute to work or school. This 4-cylinder engine also makes a pretty good rumble at the higher rpms.
With a slight reduction in power, the A220 sees an increase to fuel efficiency. City fuel economy rating is down by 0.3 L/100km over the A250 to 9.6 L/100km (24.5 mpg) and highway is 7.1 L/100km (33.1 mpg). During my time with the car, I managed an average of 9.4 L/100km with approximately 90% city driving.
Transmission – Just like the hatchback, the A220 sedan is only available with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. For the most part, it is smooth and relatively quick to switch gears. But it becomes a bit cumbersome when setting off from a stop and shifts are noticeably slow at higher rpms when you’re “giving it the beans”.
Braking – This particular Mercedes A220 is equipped with the optional Sport Brake system. These drilled and ventilated disc brakes with large calipers stop the car on a dime. Almost no brake pedal effort is required in normal driving situations. Forward collision alert and emergency braking are standard features on the 2020 A220 sedan.
Handling – Small sedans always tend to have a playful side and the Mercedes A220 is no different. Driving on twisty mountain roads around the Vancouver area is a joyous experience in the A220. The steering is precise and quick to respond to driver inputs. Steering effort does change depending on whether you’re in Comfort or Sport mode but steering feel is just as lackluster in both. In Sport it just feels artificially heavier. Thankfully there is an Individual mode where you can keep the engine and transmission in Sport but have Comfort steering.
Ride Comfort – The ride of the Mercedes A220 is superb. The suspension absorbs all road imperfections and doesn’t translate them into the cabin. This demo vehicle did not have the Sport seats like in the A250 hatch but it still provided good comfort whether I was driving on Vancouver’s notoriously potholed city streets or the smooth mountain highways.
Interior Space – The front seats provide a good amount of adjustability so that both short and tall occupants are comfortable. Rear occupants however don’t have as much leg and headroom depending on how tall they are and how tall the person in front of them is. At 6’4”, I was struggling to get into the rear seats behind my driving position. The rear seats fold 40/20/40 for versatility and there is great luggage capacity in the trunk which is 420 L (14.8 cu-ft) with the seats up.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Overall the 2020 Mercedes A220 is a quiet car in most situations. Daily city driving and highway driving are relatively quiet. The only time you really notice outside noises, is when driving on a highway. There is a noticeable amount of road noise coming from the tires.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – One of the most noticeable changes to the 2020 A220 is the new infotainment system. Dubbed the MBUX, it has shiny new graphics and a more organized menu system. It can be controlled via the touchscreen, the center console touchpad, or via Blackberry style touchpads mounted on the steering wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are available with the Premium Package but I found that Android Auto doesn’t fully utilize the beautiful 10.25” screen.
A new addition to the MBUX is the natural voice recognition system. It will recognize most natural sentences and provide the appropriate response or command. For example you can say “Hew Mercedes, I want to go to the Vancouver airport” and the navigation system will provide you with a route to the airport. During my time with the car, I found that it worked about 80% of the time while other times it had trouble recognizing certain words.
In addition to these new features, the Mercedes-Benz A220 can be equipped with a host of safety and convenience features such as blind spot sensors, LED headlamps, Active parking assist, 360 camera, heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, wireless charging, and so on. So on the gadgets front, it definitely can be optioned like a more expensive Mercedes-Benz.
Exterior Design – The overall shape of a A220 sedan looks not unlike its bigger brother, the C300 sedan. From side profile in particular, it looks like an 80% copy of the C-class sedan. The front fascia is reminiscent of the new CLS coupe/sedan as are the taillights but a bit more rounded than those on the CLS. Overall I think it looks good.
Interior Design – The interior design is very similar to that of other Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The dual information screens span from the driver’s side to the center console with LED accented vents underneath. The panoramic roof allows for a lot of natural light to bathe the cabin during the day with an ambient lighting system doing the same at night. For the most part materials are of good quality except for the seats. This particular demo vehicle did not have the Sport seats with leather as the A250 had and unfortunately the “Artico leather-like” upholstery as Mercedes calls it, feels very fake and cheap.
With a starting price of $34,990 CAD ($32,800 USD), or $36,990 CAD ($34,800 USD) for this 4MATIC version, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A220 is a stepping stone into the luxury car brand for the masses. It drives as a Mercedes should and looks like one too inside and out. However it can also be optioned like a Mercedes. While it may start at a reasonable $35,000 CAD, it will end up costing just over $51,000 CAD ($48,000 USD) with all options ticked off and that number does not include accessories or service packages or fees & taxes. That is a lot of money for a compact sedan. If it were my car, I’d personally go for just the Premium package, heated steering wheel, and leather seats for just over $42,000 CAD ($37,970 USD). That is a more reasonable price for someone looking to enter the luxury car brand market.
Thank you to Mercedes-Benz Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mercedes-Benz.ca