2003 Mercedes-Benz A-Class A160 Classic 1.6 litre petrol


Sensible transport



Dealer service appalling at best. Failed to check battery or flat spare tyre at first service - yet itemised and charged for this work.

General Comments:

Good get around town car.

Slow, expensive to purchase.

Safe and secure.

Ideal vehicle for seventies grandmother.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th June, 2006

2001 Mercedes-Benz A-Class A190 1.9 petrol


Fun economical modern useful car


Rear hatch struts replaced.

Blinker lever defaulting to high beam.

Rear hatch lining falling off several times.

Rear hatch would not open.

Failed battery.

Vehicle delivered without wheel nuts for the spare (different length to mag wheels nuts),

General Comments:

Good performance and economy.

Performs the functions that a small vehicle is designed for.

Versatile interior.

Quality of interior plastics is average for the price and reputation of Mercedes Benz.

Creaks and squeaks from door and window surrounds, although no rattles.

Service has been appalling by local dealer. MB Australia have been of great assistance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th June, 2006

2000 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Avantgarde 1.6 petrol


Nice, but far too many problems


Seat height adjustment handles on both front seats have broken off twice. Replaced under warranty.

Driver's seat developed a nasty creaking noise in the frame at around 25,000km. Dealer replaced seat frame under warranty.

Indicator stalk broke inside the steering column, which made the high-beam headlights switch on at night whenever the indicators were used. Fixed under warranty. 35,000km.

Numerous squeaks, rattles, and creaking cheap plastics used in the cabin. Some problems fixed, others impossible to fix.

At 66,000km the timing chain snapped in the engine, causing bent valves, damaged pistons, and other damage. Dealer said this is the first time they have seen a snapped timing chain on an A-Class (read below).

Hot water hose from the radiator developed a leak.

General Comments:

The front seat height adjustment handles are very fragile on all German A-Classes built before May 2001. Just two small plastic tabs turn a metal spigot on the seat. I used the handles maybe 5 times before they snapped off. No undue pressure is required as they are quite fragile. After replacing four on my car (one just minutes after I drove the car off the dealer's parking lot) they used silicone glue to help reinforce the handles on the seat.

As other reviews point out, the interior quality of pre May 2001 A-Classes is marginal. For some reason Mercedes-Benz chose to use a hard plastic that creaks and groans, especially the silly trim around the passenger seats. I ignored it at first, but eventually plastic quality with all the creaks and clicking noises when driving really annoyed me.

Another common problem on the older A-Classes was the driver's seat frame, which would develop a loud creaking noise whenever weight was shifted on the seat (changing gears was enough). The dealer offered to replace the frame with a redesigned model without hassles. Initially they just tried lubricating the seat, but that did not help.

The indicator stalk issue was interesting, as it was impossible to avoid turning on the high-beam headlights at night when turning with the indicator on. The dealer replaced the indicator stalk the next day, but I must have annoyed a lot of drivers in the city that night.

The final nail in the Mercedes-Benz quality coffin was the timing chain. In early October 2004 I complained to the dealer (car is now out of warranty) that there is a strange two tone noise coming from the engine bay. Difficult to explain, but it was definately not normal. It got faster with increased revs and the airbox in the engine was shaking quite violently. A belt pretensioner assembly was changed in the vehicle for AU$500 plus labour, but this did not fix the problem. The dealer rang telling me of another noise coming from the engine bay, and asked permission to look under the rocker cover. From their tone of voice they sounded like they thought I was a very fussy car owner who wanted every noise eliminated from a car.

So they had a look, and found a seized link in the timing chain. They had never seen anything like it, and ordered a new chain. This was going to be an expensive repair as the timing chain is not designed to be changed in the A-Class: Its sealed for the life of the engine. I drove out of the dealership and less than 100km later the timing chain snapped in the engine, causing valve, piston, and other damage. The A-Class has a non free spinning engine, meaning damage is caused if the chain snaps. Remember this happened at only 66,000km!

All the valves had to be replaced along with various gaskets, piston parts, and minor damage to the engine block. Fortunately DaimlerChrysler agreed to pay for all the repairs on my vehicle even though it was out of warranty. They found a snapped timing chain in an A-Class to be unacceptable. Without their help the repair bill would have run into many thousands of dollars, as there is a LOT of labour involved in removing the A-Class engine (basically everything from the front is removed).

The A-Class has a funky design, and I really liked my A160 petrol funshift Avantgarde despite all the problems. However, the timing chain failure was the last straw. I simply could not keep the vehicle.

The car is roomy and has quite good performance. Beware of dark coloured paint, as it is very easy to scratch. The Funshift transmission is a joy to use and gives all the economy of a manual.

Safety is excellent in the car, certainly better than a lot of other much larger cars.

Mercedes-Benz have built the A-Class down to a strict budget. Repairs are numerous, quality is so-so, and parts are very expensive. Please look past the gleaming Mercedes badge when buying your next vehicle. Friends have commented 'how could Mercedes build a bad car?' with puzzled expressions. I tell them any company can build a poor quality car despite the prestige of their badge.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd January, 2005

24th May 2005, 10:07

My A-Class 140 engine has also just been replaced. The noise started with a fast ticking noise when the engine was cold and before placing the foot back onto the accelerator after a gear change (I also have the 'funshift'). The dealer replaced the 'tapits' but the problem was not cured. Then the car ran out of warranty! Three weeks after the warranty ran out the car was in again for the same noise. The verdict - a new engine! So far we've not been told the problem with the old one. Daimler Chrysler and the dealer have picked up the cost of this repair - and for this I am very grateful for this excellent service. However, following a myriad of faults including rear suspension replacement, windscreen wiper failure, new steering column and very creaky windows, I've been very unhappy with the car. It only has 28,000 miles at present!

2001 Mercedes-Benz A-Class A140 Classic 1.4 petrol


Avoid this Mercedes with genes from outer Mongolia


Gasoline sensor has blown 3 times.

Headlight has blown.

Instrument console lights have blown twice.

Inner panel on hatchback door has fallen off.

Hubcaps keep falling off on minor bumps.

Seat adjustment lever broke.

Outside trim is peeling off.

General Comments:

Bumpy and uncomfortable to drive if the road is not perfectly smooth.

My kids hate it.

Cheap plastic finish inside.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th August, 2003

2000 Mercedes-Benz A-Class A160 1.6 petrol


Good overall, but suffers from poor workmanship


Seat height adjustment has fallen off both front seats. One has been replaced under warranty and arrangements are being made to replace the other.

Something squeaking in the car as it drives over manholes.

Automatic clutch 'grabs' when slowing down in first gear, and changing gears smoothly is suprisingly difficult as there's always a slight 'clunk'.

General Comments:

Front dashboard build is not very solid. Press on it and hear the subtle squeaks and groans eminating.

I *really* like this car, the looks, the badge, just everything about it. But after driving just 400km it's already beginning to annoy me in subtle, but important ways.

The design of the height adjustment levers appears to be poor, as a plastic part is used for leverage to turn a metal component. Wearing out is almost inevitable.

I expected a bit more from Mercedes-Benz.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th May, 2002

2000 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Classic 1.4 petrol


An excellent city car for a busy woman


Minor rattle in the front suspension. Fixed by the dealer.

General Comments:

A brilliantly designed car, for its intended use as a city run about. Great for carting kids to school, sports events, grocery shopping and for taking elderly people to church, doctor, shopping etc.

It has a lot of safety features, heaps of room inside and handles very well. It is the only small car my 1.94 meter son can comfortably fit in the back seat of, and provides reasonable economy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th March, 2001