The A180 CDI ECO SE is quite simply the most efficient A-Class that Mercedes-Benz can offer you. As you might expect from the ECO badge its combined fuel economy of 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 92kg/km mean that you get all of the Mercedes style, comfort and smooth handling but with a much reduced fuel bill and carbon footprint.
The A180 CDI ECO SE does look like the CDI SE went on a bit of diet and slimmed down in order to achieve fuel-sipping status rather than guzzling it. With its lower suspension, smaller fuel tank, slippery underbody panelling and a much more aerodynamic front grille which creates even less drag; its economic selling points are inherently visible.
The ECO status makes it road tax free as an added string to its economic bow. Still, despite these efficiency measures, on paper the A180 CDI ECO SE retains its power and torque, thanks mainly to the 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine that leave its top speed and 0-62mph times unchanged.
How it Handles
Fortunately, this marriage of efficiency and capability is still going strong as the A180 CDI ECO SE provides one of the sharpest rides in the A-Class. The economy measures haven’t caused tight handling or comfort to be compromised; really leaving you with a superb Mercedes driving experience at a rate that is still eminently affordable.
Unlike a lot of diesel hatchback specials, the ECO doesn’t sacrifice sportiness either. This means that if you spot a gap in the traffic, the extra bit of grunt is readily available to exploit it. For motorway cruising the engine is quiet enough to not intrude and the excellent mpg rate should give you added peace of mind too.
Its small 16-inch alloys and fat tyres mean that despite the lowered suspension of 10mm at the front and 15mm at the back the ECO is still more comfortable than comparable cars that sport bigger wheels. Still, if you hit a bump or pothole at speed you will certainly feel it through the seat, but it’s a lot less noticeable than in AMG models.
In terms of drawbacks there don’t appear to be any deal breakers popping out to surprise you. The engine can growl slightly until you get it into a higher gear but as previously mentioned it makes for a very quiet ride once you’re there.
With a fuel economy rate that outperforms any A3 from Audi or 1-series from BMW, the Mercedes-Benz A180 CDI ECO SE is already a serious contender for your cash. When you combine this already impressive selling point with its good-looking bodywork and excellent all-round capabilities, it moves into the ‘solid yes’ category.
- 0-62mph: 9.9sec
- Top speed: 118mph
- Economy: 78.5mpg
- CO2: 92g/km
- Engine type: 4cyls in line, 1461cc, turbodiesel
- Power: 108bhp at 4000rpm
- Torque: 192lb ft at 1750-2500rpm
- Gearbox: 6-spd manual