With a versatile voice assistant, luxury design details beyond the typical entry-level vehicle, configurable multiple-display options and plenty of powertrain options, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-class Hatchback adds user experience to driving experience for a new combined, tech-enhanced Mercedes-Benz owner experience. Integrated technology systems allow advanced responses such as adaptive cruise control slowing when the nav system detects a twisting road ahead. The A-class Hatchback once again provides a way for those who appreciate Mercedes luxury to buy into the brand and get key features in a base model.
What's the MBUX? How does it get to know the driver?
MBUX is Mercedes-Benz User eXperience, a voice-operated interactive infotainment system. There's a reason that MBUX is launching in the more affordable A-class: it's more native to younger buyers rather than generally older S-class customers. Beginning with "Hey, Mercedes," it takes users down a path similar to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa while using Artificial Intelligence techniques to form an understanding of the person driving the car. Drivers can connect with their car by voice, touchscreen, and a console-based touchpad as well as a steering-wheel based set of buttons. Technology is an important theme for the A-class, with app-based features such as Mercedes Me for keyless car sharing.
How does the MBUX "Car-to-X" technology work? Will it be common soon?
Car-to-X technology is a protocol standard for "swarm intelligence" which Mercedes-Benz is providing in their vehicles. It's also available from Audi, and Toyota, Ford, and other vehicle manufacturers plus Apple, Bosch and Siemens are getting involved as well. Using the technology, vehicles and traffic devices such as stop lights can exchange and relay information by radio, sharing it with drivers as well. They can talk about road conditions, approaching emergency vehicles, an accident ahead or even the best speed to maintain to arrive at an intersection as the light is turning green. As the government charts a course for this technology it will likely spread in cities across the U.S. to start.
How's the A-class Hatchback styling, the new headlights and taillights, and body lines?
The standard LED head- and taillights on the 2019 Mercedes A-class are angular and minimal. They reflect the clear, clean style throughout the athletic new A-class body design, targeted at buyers who are less into luxury cruising and more into an active, tech-integrated but simplified lifestyle.
What's available for the interior now? New ambient lighting colors, upholstery styling, what else?
There are 64 colors of interior lighting available, yes. The vehicle has grown a bit in wheelbase and elsewhere, adding up to a more spacious interior. The MBUX system can control interior features such as seat heaters, temperature in the dual-zone climate control, and sunroof shade. The seating styling, stitching, and contours are configurable to buyer preference, along with interesting materials like microfibre or leather to match the AMG options, even wood trim for European models.
How does high-end AMG styling influence the A-class?
Adding some bite to the athletic styling of the A-class, AMG-line styling adds choices like traditional red and black leather upholstery on sport seating. As an entry-level model, by adding a taste of AMG technology and styling Mercedes is likely whetting buyers' appetite for high-end models in the future.
What powertrain options does the A-class Hatchback offer?
A-class offerings which may vary by geography start with the 2.0-liter turbo-four at 188-hp, then range to a 221-hp top offering. A 114-hp turbodiesel will be available in some locales along with lower-displacement gas models. A six-speed manual transmission and Getrag dual-clutch seven-speed automatic are the transmission choices, and 4Matic AWD is available only on the A250 model, FWD for the rest.
How is the seating? What about the space and roominess, front and back?
Mercedes-Benz has aimed the A-class at younger buyers who enjoy both performance driving and road trips in comfort. Reviews indicate they've succeeded. Comfortable and quiet is the consensus, both from the vehicle construction and the seating quality. Front and back, they say, there's plenty of both head and legroom. Passengers won't have to unfold and stretch after a long road segment.
What driver assistance technologies and active safety features does the 2019 A-class Hatchback have?
The driving and safety tech offerings are pretty much the whole selection available from the S-class on down, it seems. Available as options, buyers can load their A-class with basic emergency braking and blind spot options or add active cruise control and lane maintenance assistance plus much more.