The automotive history books are littered with stories of upscale manufacturers who went down-market in search of sales. The cars are generally not success stories and managed to cheapen the brand's prestige in the eyes of buyers. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A220 Sedan runs no risk of that. Count this as one a luxury manufacturer got right. And that's no easy task for an automobile with a base price of $32,800, which is Camry/Accord territory. But having been in quite a few Mercedes the past four months (the CLA250, GLB 250, GLC 300 and the spectacular AMG GLE 53 and GLS 63), I can say first-hand that the essence of modern Mercedes' goodness lives within the entry-level A220 Sedan.
Let's be clear---this is not a fire-breathing twin-turbo AMG product, but it's plenty fast for its class and certainly its price. The two-liter turbo four in the A220 makes 188 horsepower and 221 pounds per foot of torque. It has a seven-speed automatic transmission. Zero to sixty happens in 7.1 seconds. And the EPA fuel economy estimate (aided by an ECO start/stop program) is 24 city/35 highway.
Active brake assist, antilock braking, electronic stability program and brake assist are all part of the package and Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is available for the A220 for an extra $2,000.
Driving the A220 from Folsom (suburban Sacramento) to South Lake Tahoe, up the eastern shore of the lake to Tahoe City, to the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, through Truckee and back home (a 233-mile loop of widely varying roads, elevations and conditions), the A220 always had enough power, handled beautifully and kept us in perfect comfort.
Rear seat room is a bit tight. I'm five-eleven, and you can see if there'd been someone behind the driver's seat, they'd have had some room. My wife, who's five-six, likes to put her seat all the way back---and as the photo shows, there's not much left in terms of rear seat legroom if you do that in the A220 (she's also very nice and wouldn't do that to a passenger).
As mentioned, the base price is $32,800. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but standard equipment includes a panoramic sunroof, power front seats with lumbar support and memory, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
If you're new to luxury vehicles, especially German luxury vehicles, the next part may come as a shock. The extra-cost optional equipment on our test car came to $14,480---roughly 44% of the base price. Again, the window sticker is below so you can see specifics, but some of it you could probably skip (would you really pay $460 for a "free trial period" of SiriusXM Satellite Radio?), but other items like the heated and ventilated front seats, the Driver Assistance Package, the Multimedia Package, the AMG Line and the Premium Package would be musts in my book.
Fundamentally, I think there's enough Mercedes-Benz look, feel and function to justify the as-tested price (with $995 destination and delivery charge) of $48,275.