The Mercedes Benz W176 A-Class first came to market back in 2012 and was in continuous production until 2018 when it was finally replaced by the current W177 A-Class. The W176 showcased the biggest leap within the A-Class lineup since the previous W169 shares literally no resemblance with the W176.
With such a new vehicle, Mercedes wanted to position its A-Class closer to what a compact premium hatchback was back in the day. The Audi A3, the VW Golf, and the BMW 1-Series have all been using the same recipe since these came out, and the first true Mercedes competitor to these cars was the W176.
Either way, in this article, we are going to in-depth about all of the problems the W176 tends to face. These include potential powertrain problems, electrical problems, suspension problems, build quality issues, and potential issues with the brakes.
If you want to know more about these problems, we are going to go over the most common causes, symptoms, and solutions to these problems. So, if you are in the market for a W176 or you want to know what can go wrong, be sure to read this article and find out!
Powertrain issues in the Mercedes A-Class W176 usually include problems such as poor acceleration, rough gear shifts, or even potential engine misfires. The most common causes may include faulty sensors, worn-out transmission parts, or software issues in engine management systems.
Symptoms include warning lights on the dashboard, inconsistent fuel economy, or poor and inconsistent throttle input. To address these issues, it’s crucial to get a comprehensive diagnostic scan, preferably by a Mercedes-Benz specialist. Solutions may range from simple software updates and resets to replacement parts such as turbochargers, fuel injectors, or similar.
Electrical problems with the Mercedes A-Class W176 usually range from good old infotainment system issues to issues with power windows or exterior lighting. Causes are often rooted in software bugs and glitches, worn-out or damaged wiring, or faulty sensors and control units. Symptoms can be as subtle as the occasional flickering of dashboard lights or as obvious as a complete failure of electronic systems, like navigation, phone connectivity, or Bluetooth connectivity. What you need to do at this point is diagnose the car fully. If you are lucky, a software reset will do the trick. If you are not, you’ll likely have to replace a module or two.
When it comes to suspension problems, the Mercedes A-Class W176 often suffers from knocking noises, uneven tire wear, or simply uncomfortable ride. The causes range from worn-out shocks, springs, and struts to issues with the control arms or bushings.
Be sure to look for symptoms that decrease ride quality, increase body roll during cornering, or cause noises when driving over bumps or potholes. Lastly, solutions typically involve replacing the worn or damaged suspension components, followed by wheel alignment to ensure proper handling and control.
Build Quality Issues
The W176 interior is much better than the W169 A-Class, that’s rather obvious. However, the W176 has often been criticized for using too many cheap plastics in the interior which isn’t all that good-looking once the car starts aging. Problems include rattling, worn-out touch-points, and accessories that may fail to function.
The causes are simple, it’s a pure lack of build quality. To fix this problem, you’ll have to replace these components and try your best to not wear them out as much as possible. These problems are a lot more noticeable on lightly colored interiors and fabric seats.
Issues with the Brakes
Last, but certainly not least, brake issues in the Mercedes A-Class W176 have also been reported. These can manifest as reduced stopping power, squeaking noises, or vibrations when applying the brakes. Common causes include worn brake pads, damaged rotors, or issues with the brake fluid system, such as leaks or air bubbles within the lines.
Symptoms to be cautious of include a spongy brake pedal, warning lights on the dashboard, or any change in how the brakes feel or sound. As this can be a serious problem if not dealt with accordingly, it’s important to take your car in for a brake bleed service or to replace components such as the pads to resolve these problems.
Is the Mercedes W176 A-Class a Good Used Car?
The Mercedes W176 A-Class can be a really good used car if you are able to find one that hasn’t been bullied and does not have a ton of miles on the clock. Even though the W177 A-Class is ten times better, the W176 can be a really good option as it balances costs and value very nicely. Lower-spec models aren’t nearly as convincing while high-spec models sell really well.
It’s also better to go for a post-facelift W176 which takes care of some of the issues listed in this article and is a noticeably better vehicle throughout. It gets the newer Mercedes infotainment system which is still more than good enough for most people.
Is the Mercedes W176 A-Class a Luxury Car?
For some, it makes no sense to ask if the W176 A-Class is a luxury car because it has the three-pointed star badge on the front. For others, the W176 is the poor man’s Mercedes which means that it does have the badge, but it does not get the Mercedes luxury car substance.
In reality, the W176 is highly dependent on its spec sheet. Lower-end models with weak and noisy diesel engines can hardly be viewed as luxury while higher-end post-facelift models with AMG trim and other high-end trinkets spruce things up and make it a luxury car indeed.
Should I Buy a Mercedes W176 A-Class?
If you want a compact, usable, and relatively affordable Mercedes compact hatchback, the W176 A-Class can be a good choice. It does not offer all that much inside and it may not be the most luxurious Mercedes ever, but with the right equipment, it can be a really good choice.
On the other hand, if you don’t like compact cars and you often drive multiple people, the A-Class might feel a bit too small, especially in the back seats where it can’t even match its competitors from that era.