By on February 3, 2018

Image: Daimler AG

There’s more to living in Canada than just higher taxes, polar bear incursions, and brutally cold weather. For some reason, denizens of the Great White North are allowed to enjoy more choice at the bottom of the Mercedes-Benz model range.

For example, Americans can be forgiven if they weren’t aware of the B-Class Electric Drive, a low-volume EV hatchback that bit the dust late last year. MB sold just 744 of them in the U.S. in 2017. Meanwhile, Canadians can still walk into their local dealer and sign on for a 2018 B250, the conventional variant powered by the CLA-Class’ turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

The EV model never made its way north of the border, while the conventional model never made its way south of the 49th Parallel.

On Friday, the automaker pulled the wraps almost all of the way off its new A-Class — a more refined front-drive entry-level model making its first foray into the North American market. Designed to lure buyers who wouldn’t otherwise have considered the brand, the A-Class will spawn a five-door and sedan variant in Europe, while American buyers can expect only the four-door. And Canada? Well, the country that really hates choice in wireless carriers and dairy products somehow gets the five-door, too.

“Our U.S. colleagues have already confirmed that they will only sell the sedan version of the A-Class,” said Brian D. Fulton, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada, on Friday. “Both hatchback and sedan versions will be available in Canada; we will share more information about the sedan later this year.”

Despite the public’s increasing love for trucks and SUVs, a trend that’s just as strong north of the border as south, Canadian car buyers still retain a desire for small, entry-level hatchbacks. Why else would Nissan frustrate TTAC’s Chris Tonn by offering the Micra in that market, but not the U.S.?

mercedes-benz a-class 2019 interior

With the shark-nosed A-Class, the brand hopes it can attract buyers with a tony badge and an interior Daimler AG chief design officer Gorden Wagener calls “modern luxury at a level previously unattained in this class.”

So far, the sedan variant remains under wraps, but the five-door’s appearance is locked into place. In the Canadian market, the A-Class Hatchback holds 13.1 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats. Up front, the A250 (apparently, in both bodystyles) carries a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Available 4Matic all-wheel drive can be had for extra greenbacks (or loonies).

17-inch wheels come standard on the A-Class, with 18-inchers optional. The car’s rear axle is mounted on a subframe that further isolates the body from road vibrations via rubber bushings. Inside, the model’s claim to fame is a dual-screen system that dominates the dash. These screens, offered in 7.0 or 10.25-inch versions, offer users access to the automaker’s new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system. There’s too many connectivity features to list; suffice it to say Mercedes-Benz is making a serious play for the plugged-in Millennial market.

The 2019 A-Class arrives in both the United States and Canada late this year. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but it’s expected the model’s MSRP will undercut that of the CLA (and in Canada, the B-Class).

[Images: Daimler AG]

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39 Comments on “Once Again, Canada Gets a Mercedes-Benz the Americans Can’t Have...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Five-door, eh? Beauty.

  • avatar
    ernest

    “With the shark-nosed A-Class, the brand hopes it can attract buyers with a tony badge and an interior Daimler AG chief design officer Gorden Wagener calls “modern luxury at a level previously unattained in this class.”

    Herr Wagener neglected to mention whether those new levels attained were lows or highs.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    I surprisingly like the front end.

    I am open to experiencing the interior gauges. 2.0T is appropriate at this price level.

    I do not like the 5-door, but I might like the 4-door.

    I agree that this is not something one might like to “own” but I have no problem with Mercedes expanding its base beyond “luxury” in the US, even if through extensive leasing or rentals.

    I’ll show myself out now…

  • avatar
    dougjp

    American brainwashing never ceases to amaze me. ” Canada? Well, the country that really hates choice in dairy products ”

    Contrary to any suggestion that Canada is protectionist, which this jab obviously implies, the U.S. enjoys a significant dairy trade surplus with Canada each year. The U.S. exports more dairy products to Canada than they import from Canada. The fact is the U.S. enjoys a massive dairy trade surplus with Canada. Canada is a significant net importer of dairy products.

    Very frustrating, how is a trade agreement ever supposed to happen without knowledge.

    • 0 avatar
      donatolla

      But, IN Canada, the Dairy Producers have one of the most powerful lobbies in the country. They actively suppress choice and price for farmers. So, the sentiment is pretty accurate in a friendly mocking sort of way.

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        It s dairy farmers who benefit from the welfare programme known as supply management, not dairy product companies. Dairy farmers collectively set the price that commercial and retail customers have to pay for their production, which guarantees them huge profits and removes any incentive to seek out export markets where they’d actually have to compete for business.

        When the the welfare programme known as supply management was introduced in 1966, there were 122,000 dairy farms in Canada. Today, it’s more like 9,000. The guaranteed profitability attracted a lot of corporate investment.

        • 0 avatar
          Heino

          I am so so tired of all the winning, please stop with your facts and logic. Believe me many people are saying that manual transmissions are going away because they’re spelled Manuel.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      “American brainwashing never ceases to amaze me.”

      Steph Willems lives Canada. Ottawa, I believe. So, its likely that if he is wrong in the statement you object to, that it would have nothing to do with the U.S.

  • avatar
    carguy

    So its like a Hyundai Elantra GT Sport but with a shorter warranty and greater maintenance costs?

    I suspect that few will will miss it here in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      Exactly! I have no clue why people pay the premium to get a sliver star on the hood of an otherwise pedestrian cute-ute.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      I can’t speak to the A-Class, as I haven’t driven it.

      I have driven the A3 and B-Class, as well as the Elantra and its ilk. The A3 and B-Class are far superior to the Japanese and Korean makes in quality of materials, appointments/features and interior comfort. As they should be, that’s what people who can afford it pay the price premium to get.

      • 0 avatar
        ernest

        I get that part. What I DON’T GET is the entire concept of shelling out dollars for a “Premium” A3 or B class.

        • 0 avatar
          W210Driver

          @ernest

          Because outside of our borders people live in countries where space is at a premium. Smaller premium cars are a way of driving something nice and being able to park it in those tiny parking spots.

          For example, last time I was in Europe I rented a BMW 320d and in some parking situations in certain cities, parking spots and hotels that car may as well have been a 7 Series. I can understand the appeal of a premium car that is smaller than a 3 Series or C Class in that case.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Compare the B-class to the Kia Rondo. From the exterior they are very hard to tell apart. As for interior comfort and fitments, the Rondo is quite comparable, if you order it ‘fully optioned’. Or you can get an inexpensive ‘entry’ level Rondo that even has a manual transmission.

        And the Rondo does not require premium gas and has a longer warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        @ect: The problem with this class of car in the US is twofold:

        1. The quality gap between luxury class and mainstream products is rapidly shrinking while the cost gap is not. Will the $40K A-Class/A3 be nicer on the inside than a loaded $25K Elantra GT Sport? Yes – most likely. But will it be $15K nicer? Probably not. Once you add in the extra maintenance/repair costs the decision will be even easier.

        2. Discounting of compact luxury sedans are killing luxury entry level products. Where I live, for $40K you can get a BMW 320i with Premium, Convenience and Track handling package or an A4 Premium Quattro with Sport and Convenience packages. If you really want a luxury car, why not get the real thing?

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          We’re all different, of course. I’ve always preferred smaller cars over land barges, especially in urban areas. Other things being equal, a smaller car will handle better than a larger one.

          While I prefer the driving dynamics of smaller cars, I also want my car to be well-designed and built, with high-quality materials and full range of features/accessories and comfortable seating. Which I will pay for.

          Yesterday, I rented a Hyundai Veloster, in which I had about 2 1/4 hours of actual driving time, mixed urban and rural (including freeways). I have no ideas what it costs, but it appears to be about the same size as the B-A3 and B250. It is nowhere near the same car, in any other respect. Obviously cheaper material, far fewer features, awkward to get in and out of, not as quick, etc. Not to say it’s a bad car, just to acknowledge its limitations in comparison with an A3 or B250. Fine for an afternoon, but I wouldn’t have one in my driveway.

          To be sure, that’s just me. Others may (or may have to, financially) make a different decision.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            A Veloster and a B250 are not comparable in interior size, cost or market segment.

            The B class is a ‘people mover’.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “O Canada” is now gender-neutral. Canadians get along with everyone, unless you fly through the crease and run their goalie.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Unlike the CLA, I like the look of this. I hope to see the sedan pictures soon. The whole auto market is getting confusing to me. Hondas pricing out to the mid $30Ks and MBZs selling below that price point. Would I expect the same level of quality and longevity from each?? Who knows? I would not expect a $30K MBZ to last longer that my early 80s Mercedes 300SD. I had it for 7 years and 135K miles and it was solid, rattle free and not using any oil. Unfortunately, the performance was as lackluster as on day one. Since my commute dropped from 45 miles each way daily, to one mile, I opted for a gas powered Lexus.

  • avatar
    donatolla

    “Well, the country that really hates choice in wireless carriers and dairy products”

    Kinda stings.

  • avatar
    derekson

    Canada also gets the C-class wagon.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Looks much better than the B class!

  • avatar
    W210Driver

    The exterior looks pretty sharp.

    I find the interior design rather “messy”, but the materials appear to be top notch.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      How can you judge materials quality by a manipulated image?

      Ugly cliff-face dash shows us that MBZ is still stuck in a creative process such that it thinks (FWD cowling in this car) problems need to be solved properly.

      Bless them in their endeavor to reinvent the wheel, and to do it properly lol but, like… every other FWD car melts the dash cowling into the door panel caps, and every other car looks more put-together than this monstrosity.

      This dash almost gives me a violent reaction it is so poorly done. Is this anti-design?

  • avatar
    threeer

    As most Americans are still rather turned off by hatchbacks (unless they are called CUVs), I’m not sure the hatch A-Klasse will be missed or pined for in the USA. And I’m still not sure about the tacked-on look of the two tablets jutting out of the dash. Somehow, it doesn’t scream “premium” to me, but then again, what do I know?

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    @Arthur Dailey,

    FYI, 2017 was last model year for the Kia Rondo

  • avatar
    scott25

    I find it highly unlikely this will be sold alongside the B-Class. It’ll almost certainly be replacing it on the market. The market isn’t big enough for both AND the GLA AND the imminent GLB

  • avatar
    kmoney

    Screw buying one, just get a Car-2-Go membership and do an hourly lease… They throw the CLAs and B250s into the C2G fleet already here to prop up sales, and I can’t seeing this done that much better in terms of actual purchases.

  • avatar
    ernest

    I get the impression a lot of you guys are younger and live in urban areas. Not a bad thing, mind you, but the lens you’re looking through may not accurately reflect the overall market. The little urban commuter is a niche market. A luxury urban commuter is a niche within a niche.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Can it be true, a Mercedes Benz that doesn’t make me want to unload my guts all over the pavement? I’m surprised.

    The other day I saw the first BMW in about a decade that looked pretty neat. Maybe styling trends are shifting for the big Germans.

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