Mercedes a class auto.. Any good?

Discussion in 'Parts, Maintenance & Servicing' started by Mbstarz, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. Mbstarz

    Mbstarz Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Dec 30, 2013
    Mercedes c220 cdi sport
    Hi all looking to purchase a used a class auto.

    Anyone have any experience or buying tips?
    Any common issues?
    Is the auto gearbox reliable?
    Petrol or diesel?? For town driving only.

    Which spec should I go for? There seems to be so many variants in engine size.

    Any info would be appreciated
    Thanks in advance
  2. Smatt

    Smatt Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Jul 2, 2008
    2011 E350Cdi Cab Auto, 2011 E350Cdi Estate Auto
    We had a B200 Turbo with CVT auto. this was the same as that of the A class.
    -had no problems over 52K

    Newer models have non CVT box in 6-7speed form. cannot comment about those as no experience.

    What age used are you looking at?
  3. OP

    Mbstarz Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Dec 30, 2013
    Mercedes c220 cdi sport
    Looking at 55/56 onward. The facelift type..
  4. kingdave

    kingdave Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Jan 3, 2010
    Lingfield, Surrey
    1984 R107 280SL, 2004 S211 E320, 2010 W169 A160 CDi a'gard
    Ours is an auto and works fine, it's a diesel A160 which is absolutely gutless, but not my daily drive and Mrs Kingdave doesn't seem to mind it. We went for the 'avantgarde' trim level which is the sportier trim including alu dash trim, part leather, alloys and chrome exhaust/front grille/boot handle.

    On later cars (maybe 2009 on) the door mirrors are a different (squarer) shape, there are another couple of differences. I mention the mirrors because one frustrating thing about our car is that the electric folding mirrors weren't selected as options by the original owner. This means they don't fold at all so you can't pull them in manually to get into a tight space or when parking on a narrow street.

    The only significant fault I've seen reported in the forums is a tendancy for the cars to rust at the bottom of the doors. This was fixed in about 2007 - you can tell if a car has the later doors by checking the welding, earlier cars have rougher seams.



    1 person likes this.
  5. MickyP64

    MickyP64 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Apr 21, 2013
    South London
    A200 Turbo
    Depending on who you talk to…many people don’t rate or trust the CVT at all…but others really like it…

    We have a W169 (2006) A200 Turbo CVT and we really like driving it…however…

    Failure of the speed sensors appears to be a fairly common problem with the CVT that comes with both the A & B Class. The speed sensors are located within the valve body of the unit and traditionally this resulted in the whole of valve body unit needing replacement (at approximately £1000 plus labour and VAT) – ours went and it cost £1600.00, but luckily we had it replaced under warranty. A refurbished unit from MB will cost around £800.

    There are companies/individuals around these days that can dismantle the valve body and repair the speed sensors, and they give a very reasonable guarantee on their work…costs around £450 for repair…then labour on top of course.

    In my experience the speed sensor problem manifests itself as an intermittent fault, resulting in the car going into limp home mode and displaying a ‘Transmission – Visit Workshop’ fault warning on the dashboard. Turning off the ignition and restarting the car often clears the fault and the car may drive perfectly well again for days, even weeks without issue – but the fault will return at some point.

    I was told by the independent MB specialist that replaced the valve body on our car that the newer units have a undergone a ‘product enhancement’, (I take that to mean a better design) which means it shouldn’t happen again…I don’t know when MB started fitting the newer design valve bodies to their cars…Our car now runs just fine but the valve body was replaced just over a year ago and we’ve not done a great deal of mileage since.

    I’ve not heard of any other common problems with the CVT other than they do appear to make a low level whining noise - ours does too but it’s not noticeable above 20 or 30 mph. I’ve tried and tried to find a definitive answer as to why this might happen but haven’t managed to find anything concrete…it seems to be generally accepted that this is probably just a feature common to all CVTs regardless of manufacturer.

    Another common problem with these cars is rust on the bottom edge of the doors and tailgate…if you buy a used W169 try to make sure it is newer one, manufactured from 2007 onwards that has the newer type seam sealer over the door welding – but do check these areas when viewing the car, just because it was registered post 2006 it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll have newer ‘smooth type’ seam seal…see my post regarding rust here:

    I can’t comment personally but I think that the general consensus seems to be to go for the lager engine options if you can (A180, A200) as the smaller range feel a little under powered.

    As for spec, I’d go for the Avantgarde or Excellence depending on your taste…I think our A200 Turbo is really just a turbo charged Avantgarde and it comes with every extra you could imagine fitted as standard.

    One last thing…I quite often read that the earlier W168 should be avoided…

    Good luck, hope you find a nice one…

    Paul Mick
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
    2 people like this.
  6. miro

    miro Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Mar 1, 2004
    Sydney NSW Australia
    W203 slightly modified
    Go for the electric seats instead of Navigation. The GPS can be fitted very easily.

    Actually these items are easily fitted.
    - Dimming rear view mirror
    - Folding mirrors
    - GPS / COMAND / Voice control / Bluetooth
    - Digital radio
    - rain sensor
    - Fire extinguisher
    - larger brakes (if you have 170/180 model)
    - ATE ceramic infused brake pads
    - cargo net in rear
    - Sports / avantgarde headlight
    - Piano black wood
    - AMG wheels

    Hard to fit items (hard to source cheap parts)
    - Electric seats
    - Rear window motors
    - Harmon Kardon (requires drilling through rivets)
    Last edited: May 1, 2014

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