2003 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Reviews

2003 Mercedes-Benz A-Class A140SE LWB 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.4 petrol Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.8 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance26000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Golf

Summary:

Very disappointing all round

Faults:

Three failed engine management systems, thankfully replaced under warranty, but each repair keeps the car off the road for a week as the part has to be programmed in Germany and shipped to the UK (apparently)

Three height adjusters for the drivers seat.

Two paint defects, one one ach side.

The plastic bonnet is very susceptible to stone chips.

Faulty wing mirror motor.

General Comments:

Great on paper and looks very good.

The long wheel bases can carry a huge amount of kit - they are like a Tardis, bigger on the inside than on the out.

The ride is very firm.

The reliability is shocking and the dealerships are very hard work.

The reliability probably explains why the depreciation is so high.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th March, 2007

2003 Mercedes-Benz A-Class SE 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.4 petrol Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance26000 miles

Summary:

I'd rather drive an Austin Allegro!

Faults:

Glove-box has fallen off (around 10,000 miles) - dealer says it's our responsibility to have it fixed.

Trim around ashtray has fallen off. (around 20,000 miles)

Cigarette lighter has never worked.

Rear windscreen washer has broken - possible torn pipe (around 20,000 miles) - water pours inside the car.

Various other parts of the (very plasticky) trim have fallen off.

Steering column replaced (around 15,000 miles) due to fault with the airbag.

General Comments:

Car handles quite well. Quite slow to accelerate, but once it's up to speed, it has a fair bit of go in it.

The ride is very smooth. Once you get going, you can hardly feel that you're moving. When stopped in neutral, I've had to check that the engine is still running!

The auto gearbox sounds quite laboured at times, especially when it has to deal with slight inclines on the motorway. This is remedied, however, by using the tiptronic controls - when its in (D) push the gear selector to the left (+) to go up from 1st gear up to 4th, and obviously if you push it left (-) it goes down through the gears. Switch it into (S) and the gears firm up a little, and the ride gets a bit sportier.

Passengers in the back who are taller than 4' have complained that they have to ride with their knees up around their ears, and when the front seats are back far enough, they can't get their feet underneath them.

The dealer has been a bit hit-and-miss. We've never had a courtesy car from them, despite being told that we'd get one straight away if the car had to go in for anything.

In short, for a "luxury" rand, Mercedes-Benz aren't all they're cracked up to be!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th October, 2006

2003 Mercedes-Benz A-Class A160 Classic 1.6 litre petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.6 litre petrol Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.2 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance28000 kilometres
Previous carMercedes-Benz C-Class

Summary:

Sensible transport

Faults:

Nothing.

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

2003 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 210LWB 2.1 from UK and Ireland

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.1 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance14000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz A-Class

Summary:

This car delivers ridiculous amounts of power from 0 to 130mph

Faults:

The only fault I've had to date was the starter motor. This was reporting to the engine management system that it had over heated and resulted in the ignition being inhibited for 2 minutes after putting the key in the ignition. This problem was quickly diagnosed and fixed by the dealer.

General Comments:

The previous A Class I had was an A160SWB ACS, I wanted a bit more power and this certainly delivers. The most significant issue is that even with huge 17" boots, the Traction Control will limit the engine to avoid the wheels spinning. The Brakes were already excellent on the A160, with A210 they are even better (all-round disks, front vented). The additional space with the LWB is a definite advantage over the SWB and thoroughly recommended. I was disappointed to discover that the removable front seat is now a 'cost' option, where as on the earlier models it was included.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th November, 2004

2003 Mercedes-Benz A-Class A160 Elegance 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.6 petrol Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.2 / 10
Distance when acquired250 miles
Most recent distance7000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Polo

Summary:

Fantastic on paper, lousy in the flesh

Faults:

The handbrake accidentally released, whilst the car was parked on a hill, with my 4 year old son in the car. The resulting collisions removed 2 side doors. I suspect that the handbrake was incorrectly adjusted when the car was delivered to us.

General Comments:

The car seems to make so much sense on paper. It is smaller than a VW Polo, yet more spacious than a Mondeo. However I feel that it is let down by very poor handling and ride. I am not a speed king, but it feels more like driving a truck than a car. The long wheelbase version which we have is extremely spacious though, and the built in child seats are excellent.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th January, 2004

17th Aug 2004, 16:50

It's old advice, but good. NEVER rely solely on the handbrake, but always leave the car in gear too (1st or reverse). On hills point the front wheels towards the kerb as well. Nuff said!

19th Oct 2004, 05:49

Yes, but if you have a Mercedes than you don't expect a handbrake to fail do you, as they are famed for their supposed legendary first class, first rate, top quality build/reliability. hmmm. They look nice though

Average review marks: 5.6 / 10, based on 5 reviews