A-Class, second hand

31 March 2012

Silver and dark red A-Class cars

It’s a Saturday morning and the previously sunny weather has decided to take the weekend off, so while it’s dull and grey outside the colourful world of car buying has lured me back to my laptop.

Earlier this week I wrote about the outgoing Mercedes-Benz A-Class and what interesting second hand cars they might make. Time for some fantasy garage shopping.

Awarding myself a budget of £12,000 – about what I spent on my current car – and an age limit of just one year I turned up 22 cars within 25 miles of GreenMotor central, through the Mercedes approved used scheme. Of those, 10 were diesels, 12 petrols. Six were manuals and the rest automatics.

The first thing that struck me was what a monotone bunch of cars they all were. Matching today’s heavy overcast, 19 of the 22 were in black, grey or silver. One was finished in Horizon Blue, which is a very grey and silver colour to be calling itself blue. And two were Saturn Red – a sort of dark and moody burgundy.

Clearly, the A-Class is not the car to choose if you like bright and breezy primary colours.

A-Class Elegance interior

There are three trim levels to choose from – the entry Classic, the more luxurious Elegance and the more sporting Avantgarde. Automatic transmission is also a pricey option at purchase, so an automatic Elegance model would be the most cosseting car.

Leather upholstery is an option too, but none within my budget came with cowhide. All of the Elegance models on offer came with a mix of cloth and Artico – a faux leather that at least has the benefit of being hard-wearing.

The newest and least-used car on offer was a 61-plate car with just 4,000 miles on its shiny clock. It was a 5-door A160 BlueEfficiency petrol with a 5-speed manual transmission, trimmed in fabric upholstery and in the relatively basic Classic SE trim. Rolling on 15-inch steel wheels it wouldn’t feel remotely luxurious but it would come in just under budget at £11,850. And it’s black, obviously. The CO2 rating for this car is 139g/km and it slots into tax band E.

At the other end of the spectrum, the feeling of having bought something special might best be conferred by an A180 offered in Elegance spec, on 16-inch alloys. At £11,990, it was a 5-door diesel with a 6-speed manual box, on a 60 plate and having covered under 9,000 miles. It was also at the colourful end of the options in Saturn Red. Artico trim and some doubtful wood on the dash might annoy me, but it seems like a lot of car for the cash. Fitted with a particulate filter, that model has a CO2 rating of 136g/km, also slotting into tax Band E.

Of the two, I know which I’d go for. The one with the lowest CO2, obviously. Nothing to do with plush spec, honest.

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