We were given the keys to a 2020 Mercedes-Benz A220 for a week, and this is what we thought.
When it comes to building smaller, city-oriented vehicles, automakers face a few daunting challenges. First off, small cars are difficult to design; balancing pretty, dramatic shapes, aerodynamics, and efficient use of space is exceptionally difficult. Then, small cars tend to lack that floaty cloud-like ride that a long-wheelbase crossover or sedan can provide. Lastly, they're held to higher standards in terms of efficiency, which sometimes has automakers opting for "eco-focused" powertrains that can sometimes lack spunk or character.
Well, I'm happy to report that the 2020 Mercedes A220 has excelled in all of those categories, and then some.
Upon first glance, the baby Benz is striking—or perhaps "fierce" is a more period correct way of saying it. Low to the ground? Check. AMG wheels tucked neatly into the wheel wells? Check. The big Mercedes star in the front? You better believe it.
Then, there's the interior to back it up. Almost identical to other, much higher-end Mercedes models, the A220's interior is techy, elegant, and extremely well made. In my week with the baby Benz, I found the seats to be very comfortable and came to enjoy the Merc's tech-forward track-pad operated infotainment system. The best part, though? The Merc's small cabin and gratuitous circular air vents make heating or cooling the cabin effortless, and unlike some automakers who bury the auto start/stop off button deep into touch screen menus, the A220's is right next to the ignition. Thank you, Mercedes.
From behind the wheel, things get even better. The Merc is planted, composed at speed, and feels like a much larger autobahn bruiser. The ride is smooth and compliant, and the engine/transmission—despite only offering 188-horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque—feels peppy and quick. Throw it into a turn and the A220 holds its composure very well, however, it's clear that it's tuned more for comfort than performance. That doesn't mean it can't hold its own on one of Colorado's many twisty mountain roads, but those seeking a hair-raising, adrenaline-packed existence should opt for the AMG.
And of course, this little luxury capsule returns 34-mpg on the highway. That's thanks in part to its .22 coefficient of drag, which makes it more aerodynamic than a Tesla Model3. How's that for some post-golf fodder?
If there are any criticisms of the Mercedes, it's this: it's expensive. The A220 starts at $32,800, but after adding 4Matic all-wheel-drive, driver assistance features, and the aesthetic options, our test model came in at $48,295. Secondly, average consumers might find it a bit small. The rear seats are better suited for short trips, children, or gym bags. Yet, for those seeking a "more European existence" here in the U.S., there's no better car.
And let's be honest, do you really use all of the space in your car? Drive one, then decide.