What exactly is cool, anyway? Fashion is cyclical. It is adaptable. Perhaps most importantly, it is not exclusive to what someone wears. The car a person drives purportedly says a lot about their individuality. And just like denim overalls, one-piece bathing suits, or Mom jeans, “chic” has varying degrees of cultural nostalgia and trendiness. As formulaic as it might sound, however, it still takes one brave, cool kid to resurrect it. And for the sake of the sedan as a way of driving life, that kid is Mercedes-Benz. And the look? That would be the sporty, all new 2019 A220 — potential automotive influencer, in the most contemporary definition of the word.
This will be the first time a true A-Class has ever hit the U.S. market. The A-Class of old was exclusively a hatchback and was only sold outside the U.S. Many experts maintain that the sedan is a dying breed in America, due to the growing popularity of crossovers and smaller SUVs. But it seems Mercedes would beg to disagree. With a throwback to the small and economical 190, the 2019 Mercedes A220 is here to prove that what’s old is new again.
Nailing Down the Look
The four-door sedan is sleek and somehow quaint. It has a 107-inch wheelbase and stands just under 57 inches tall. There are no trap doors anywhere inside either, as the A-Class possesses only 13 cubic feet of cargo storage. While the A-Class certainly isn’t a family-friendly workhorse, nor does it show any signs of ever becoming one, it upholds the automaker’s elegant pragmatism in other ways.
For instance, it still seats five passengers, and despite the lack of cargo room, those passengers sit comfortably thanks to the 93 cubic feet of volume. The 2019 Mercedes A220 sits on 17-inch alloy wheels, and its design gives it a drag coefficient of 0.22—a statistic that would make it an industry leader in the category. And while the typical Mercedes touch of luxury is still found in the interior, the design takes on a much more avant-garde appearance, with turbine-inspired air vents and sleek, free-standing widescreen digital gauge cluster and infotainment screens.
Added to the techie (over-engineered?) upgrades is Mercedes’ MBUX interface, a unique system that uses artificial intelligence to learn driver habits, allowing the car to become “an emotional and intelligent companion.” Creepy? Modern? Mind-blowing? Unsettling? You be the judge.
The 2019 Mercedes A220 rolls straight off the factory line with some excellent safety features, and that’s modern tech we can get behind 100%. Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking come standard, and for an upcharge, potential buyers can also have adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane assist, and pedestrian detection.
Additionally, the automaker assures that the new A-class has the highest level of active safety in the segment, borrowing cooperative driver support functions from the S-class. In fact, in certain situations, the 2019 Mercedes A220 can even drive semi-autonomously. While all of these bells and whistles undoubtedly take some getting used to, we have to respect the automaker for putting this much advanced technology into what’s considered a lower-end model.
Practicality and Performance
Under the hood, the 2019 A220 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 188 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, mated to a seven-speed automatic. It doesn’t exactly blow your hair back, but it works for the average driver obsessed with having a Mercedes badge in the garage. If you’re not the average driver, however, you’ll be glad to hear that Mercedes-AMG has two new versions in the works. The A35 will have a four-cylinder engine making more than 300-hp, and the A45 will have an all-new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, making over 400-hp.
What’s perhaps most sensible and alluring about the 2019 Mercedes A220 though, is its projected base price. Considering the aforementioned down-shift for sedans in the U.S., Mercedes might be able to capitalize on a huge opening in the market. Expected to start near $30,000-ish, (slightly lower than the Mercedes CLA) the A-Class will be the company’s next foray into the realm of affordable luxury.
Granted, there are still no official statements about the varying trims and their corresponding prices, but early test drives warn that the ideal upgrades could put the A-Class closer to $50K. While the listed powertrain is the only one available, features like all-wheel drive are optional. The cold truth is that “options” typically equate to expenses, but even this would be a solid first step for a more accessible Mercedes.
Toned Over Buff
There will be side eye and huffing from those who can’t understand how someone would want to buy a vehicle that can’t climb the face of a cliff or tow a cattle trailer out of quick sand or speed past the competition in 3.2 seconds flat, but everything is cyclical. And Mercedes, by choosing toned over buff, is either way ahead of the game or severely out of touch. Though given their track record, the safest money is on the prior.