Early last year, Mercedes made an unprecedented move by announcing that it would introduce a new A-Class sedan to the U.S. market. This was great news as the A-Class is a very affordable entry level luxury sedan and would start at just $32,500 for the two-wheel drive, and only $34,800 for the 4Matic, or all-wheel drive version that should prove to be very popular in Utah.

After a week with the new A220, we were completely enamored with all the onboard luxury and technology. It was hard to keep in mind that this new A-Class sedan was something that pretty much anyone wanting a luxury sedan could afford. We have driven many different models in the Mercedes line that have been stacked to the deck with technology and safety. This new sedan would fit right in with any of them in this category.

It seems that everything Mercedes has come up with over the past few years has been passed down to the new A-Class sedan. This includes the ability to add on all the great safety features we previously had only seen on much higher priced vehicles, and also the technology can now be had for what we considered very reasonable add-on prices.

Even the power plant on the new sedan was quite amazing in its own right. Being just a 2.0-liter turbo charged engine, it still produced a very nice 188 horsepower and 210 foot-pounds of torque. It would get the new sedan up and moving with no problem, and we also managed a very respectable 29 mpg for our week of mostly city driving.

The new A220 comes standard with a 7-inch instrument cluster and a 7-inch infotainment touch screen display. This in itself is awesome; however, with the $1,650 addition of the premium package, both screen became 10.25 inches. This was our favorite part of the ride for the week, as it turns the dashboard into a seamlessly extra long digital display.

It appears that they are both the same screen just with different display abilities. And being in high definition, it was more like a work of art than a display for a driving experience. The center cluster for the driver could be set to different driving modes depending on our mood for the day!

Another standard with the A220 is the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX), which we first saw about 18 months ago in the E Class coupe we had for a week and were able to take on trip to Anaheim, California. This "user experience" is one of the best on the market today.

It allows the driver, or passenger for that matter, to simply say "Hey, Mercedes" and the vehicle will answer with "How can I help you?" At that point, it is as simple as telling the car, or "Mercedes," what is wanted.

Tired of listening to FM radio and want a change it? That can be as simple as "Hey, Mercedes," followed by something simple like, "Play ’80s music." It truly was that easy — just like talking with a friend and asking questions or making requests.

It is somewhat similar to using Siri on an Apple phone or Amazon's Alexa. It became more of a challenge for us to find out if "Mercedes" could answer our requests with ease, and we found it very difficult to stump her.

Also added to our test ride was what Mercedes calls a 64 Color Ambient Lighting package at a cost of $310. We would play with this all day long, as it is the most awesome way to light a vehicle at night. We have driven a couple of different brands that will allow eight or so different colors to be used, but having 64 different colors made nighttime driving inside the Mercedes amazing.

And with the use of the "Hey, Mercedes" function, we could ask for any color we wanted at any time and, zoom, it would appear throughout the interior. The designers have used this new LED technology to the extreme, weaving it through the door panels, on the front dash, and in the foot wells and cup holders as well.

There were even color mixing menus with which we could customize the interior or have the A220 do its own preset color mixing for different moods.

The seats were clad with a beautiful red and black leather that rounded out the interior, giving it a very luxurious presence. Included standard was a huge panoramic sunroof that allowed sunlight to envelope the entire inside of the car, almost like having a convertible.

In the Mercedes toolbox, extra safety features are an addition that we would highly recommend, as the Driver Assistance Package ($2,250) came with all kinds of enhancements. Brake assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure assist, blind spot monitors, emergency stopping and speed limit assist were all part of it.

The speed limit assist proved to very interesting, as it would decrease the speed of the A220 if we were traveling too fast and came upon a lower speed zone. This was a definite help if we had not noticed the sign as it went by. (This would be especially handy if we were to travel outside of our normal comfort zone.)

This active driver assist now also transforms the A220 into a semi-autonomous vehicle by looking ahead and keeping a close eye on traffic, up to 1,500 feet. It will also use the navigation date for assistance to slow the car for bends, junctions and even roundabouts — some really awesome tech that worked flawlessly for us.

There is no doubt this entry level luxury vehicle will become a standard that others will look up to. It comes very nicely equipped and can be customized with options for anyone’s taste.

Base price: $34,800

Price as driven: $48,295

Craig and Deanne Conover have been test-driving vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. They receive a new car each week for a weeklong test drive and adventure. They both love having the unique opportunity of trying out new cars. They reside in Springville, Utah.

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