Car safety Safety is well catered for in the A-Class, with ESP and adaptable suspension governing the ride and handling. The main interface screen is the same as is used on the rest of the Vitara range. All the doors open nice and wide, though, giving passengers and driver alike instantly good access.
The fact remains that similarly sized, cheaper and more youth orientated cars are available, and will make more sense to most as first time buys. Parallel parking is no problem thanks to a good steering lock and wheels placed towards each corner. The raised driving position inspires confidence and the reversing camera adds a safety net for manoeuvres.
Also worthy of note is the particularly light tailgate, which allows easy one-handed operation for when carrying heavy shopping or a child. Braking is also advanced, with flashing brake lights to warn following drivers of emergency stops. The rear hatch opens to wide angle offering excellent access to the boot.
Costs The A-Class is not a cheap car to buy, and additional options can quickly raise the price, but it has traditionally held its value well. Accessibility The five-door format means there are few issues with accessibility and even though the doors are relatively short, this means that opening them in confined spaces, supermarket car parks for example, is easy.
There's a good view out for kids in the rear seats, but they might prefer the brighter colours of the SZ5 model. Our verdict on the Suzuki Vitara S While the visual changes on the S are a matter of taste, the engine is clearly an upgrade.
However, it's expensive, and insurance will be significantly more expensive than for a normal small hatchback. Inside there's a change of fabrics and reworked trim to match the reworked trim levels.
Featuring sat-nav alongside inputs for SD cards, iPods and USB sticks, the system is extremely simple to use and flawlessly integrated. The trim levels have also been chopped down from six to just three, simplifying the range a great deal.
The highly intuitive system is simple to use and sound quality is also good. The rears are straighter-backed but with highly adjustable head rests.
Items in the boot remain out of sight and there's a decent size glovebox for hiding valuables if required. Compact size makes it useful around town Driving position offers great view of the road Good ride quality Spacious interior considering exterior dimensions Gripes Expensive for a car of its size Lightweight controls are a little lacking in feedback Boot space is restricted compared with other family hatchbacks Key technologies are optional extras Mercedes-Benz's smallest vehicle has proved that there will always be customers for premium products regardless of the category.