When you’re on a lengthy drive with a car that talks to you like a human, then it simply makes sense to have a conversation to pass the time.
That’s what I did during a recent test drive of the new Mercedes A-class compact sedan, the A220, on my way to from Seattle to Yakima, Wash., and back. It uses a sophisticated infotainment system called MBUX, short for Mercedes-Benz User Experience. Here’s a bit of our conversation:
Globe Drive: Hey, Mercedes.
Friendly Woman’s voice: How can I help you?
GD: What’s all the excitement about this car I’m driving?
FW: (Pause) Well, I’m glad you asked. The new 2019 A-class has been designed to be on affordable entry point into the Mercedes brand. Something we hope will attract younger people, who wouldn’t normally be able to buy one of our cars just yet.
GD: How affordable is affordable?
FW: Well, prices haven’t been announced, but you can count on less than $40,000 in Canada, equipped with the premium package.
GD: Wait a minute. You have a state-of-the-art communications system, and you’re putting it in your lowest-priced car?
FW: That’s because people who like new technology tend to be – you guessed it – younger. In fact, at age 46, our compact car buyers are eight years younger on average than the typical Mercedes owner.
GD: Okay. But doesn’t Mercedes already have a compact sedan in the CLA? It just came out in 2014.