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Which old A Class?

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It dawned on me just last week, the A Class isn't such a bad car, for what it is like. We need 5 doors for the missus, and with a modest budget we're restricted to what we can get. And it has to be Auto. She's a new driver, and she's a she, so it needs to be "compact". But it needs to be 5 door and reasonably spacious at the same time. 

 

We're looking up to about £5k, but I've seen some lovely looking older model cars (which I prefer the look of) for around £3k. It's only for nipping round locally so it don't gotta be posh.

 

But my word, how many different models are there??? A140/150/160/170/170D/180/190/200/210. WTF?? I don't suppose it really matters which one we get as it doesn't need to be anything, but I guess I want to buy the best one...

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LWB version if you can find one. Positively cavernous inside. A friend has a 170TDI (I think!). I can vouch for it being fairly rapid for what it is.

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None of the above.

A friend of mine bought one for his ex-wife as punishment for the divorce...

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Well I think they're a great little car. Quite a few autos available. Lots of space. Main downside might be expensive servicing due to the badge, but if you know a specialist that shouldn't be an issue.

 

Perfect alternative would be a Honda Jazz.

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Ahhh, I think we're talking about the Mk2 version here - my mate's divorce was ages ago, and the car was a Mk1.

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I bought one for Mrs P! She loved it :grin:

Hers was an A160 petrol, which was about the right balance of power and weight for nipping around town. Much more power and the suspension wouldn't be able to cope, whereas the A140 was a bit gutless.

The auto is a bit sapping, do consider the clutchless manual (which we had). When new, it was very smooth, but I've no idea what they are like now. Merc suggested at the time that they expected the clutchless manual to outlast the pure manual and the auto, as there was less to go wrong than an auto and no scope for fecking the clutch as in the manual (although they didn't use those words). And of course, that was dealertalk and therefore pure bollocks.

It came in three trim levels, Classic (i.e. poverty), Elegance and Avantgarde. The latter two were meant to be a pretty one and a sporty one. Just mull on the words "sporty A-class" for a moment, and then realise that it doesn't matter which you have. Mrs P's was an Elegance because if you're buying a car for your (not ex-) wife then you kind of have to.

The model changed just before we bought, in 2001. Ours was one of the first facelifts, delivered in May or April 2001. If there are any left from before then, do avoid them as the lift in the general standard of the car was quite significant. It was a much more Merc-like car after the facelift. I think there was a further update some years later, with some changes to the engines - that probably explains the plethora of models that you can see. As of 2001 it was the A140, A160, A190 and the A170 diesel. Of those, the A160 was the pick without doubt.

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Nice one! If we went for the older shape we'd try and get as new as we can so would guess at around 2003. So 160 is the one? Okedoke. Have to look in to the SWB and LWB options. Maybe with baby seats the LWB could be a better option for us otherwise I suspect the front seats will have to sit pretty far forward in order to accommodate seats and bases. Or perhaps the LWB just gives a bigger boot?

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LWB wasn't an option when we bought, so I've no idea. We put a 2-year old and a brand new baby in the back, plus pushchairs in the boot of our SWB and it was ample even with me sitting in the front - indeed, we chose it specifically for that purpose.

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I think the extra space in the LWB is a couple of inches or so rear cabin legroom - so definitely a plus for rear baby seats. Boot remains the same as far as I'm aware.

 

And, the LWB may only have been Mk1.

Edited by garcon magnifique

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SWB / LWB were only sold together for a short time iirc

The LWB was added alongside the 'standard' model from around 2001 when the first gen was facelifted. Gen 2 arrived in 2004 I'm pretty sure they have all been the same length

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Can't say i'm much of a fan of the A class, but then in all honesty I've no experience of them, I guess most of my opinion is formed from the round slating they got in the press when first launched, much like the Audi A2 when it first came out.

Personally i'd be looking elsewhere, sound like a stuck record, but in that sector you won't do better than a Prius.

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Well yeah, but she likes the A class. She liked the A2 too, but she needs auto. I tried her on the Golf Plus but that didn't wash.

To be fair, I'm more than happy for her to have an A class.

We're just about to go out in the loaner - 63 reg 320d M sport with 4 miles on the clock. I wonder if she'll still want an A class. Hopefully since this 3 is £39k. WTF.

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The slating was because the press demo models displayed a tendency to roll over under cornering. Merc reacted by adding ESP and tweaking the suspension, after which even I couldn't make it roll over.

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But that did mean ride quality even Audi would have been embarrassed by in an S-Line ;)

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Beware the auto (CVT?) gearbox.

I only know two people with A-classes, one CDI something and the other an A200.

Both are 55 - 06 plates and Both are on second, very expensive, gearboxes.

I also know for a fact that one of their cars is in again today with a specialist as the 'Transmission - Visit Workshop' message has popped up again - already had warning noises of a bill for £1000.....

Google will confirm issues.

Both are now considering a MINI - which is the school run favorite around here after the XC90.

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Problem with the old shape, is that it hails from 'that' era of Mercedes where it all went wrong, the accountants won and everything was done on the cheap, resulting in Mercedes reputation for reliability lying in tatters.

Personally i'd avoid any Merc from that era, pre or post turn of the century era cars will be fine though.

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But that did mean ride quality even Audi would have been embarrassed by in an S-Line ;)

 

*shrugs* We found it ok. Mind you, a ten year old car's suspension hardness will bear little or no resemblance to when it was new... :coffee:

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Problem with the old shape, is that it hails from 'that' era of Mercedes where it all went wrong, the accountants won and everything was done on the cheap, resulting in Mercedes reputation for reliability lying in tatters.

Personally i'd avoid any Merc from that era, pre or post turn of the century era cars will be fine though.

 

I hunt her down a 190E then!

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Is that a title shared with the 2.5 Boxster?

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Ah the 190E Cosworth. "The world's slowest performance car."

Tell that to Shark, he didn't have any problem keeping up with other so called performance cars from more prestigious 'sports' brands!

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*shrugs* We found it ok. Mind you, a ten year old car's suspension hardness will bear little or no resemblance to when it was new... :coffee:

That's why God invented Ohlins, Koni and Eibach and Sachs and... :P

Edited by Rachel
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