Getting into a Mercedes-Benz is about to get a lot easier.

The German maker has announced a new entry-level version of its A-Class hatch for Australia.

The A180 will be priced from $42,300 (before on-road costs) when it arrives in local showrooms in February, 2019.

That price puts it about $5000 cheaper than the A200 and about $2000 more affordable than the current cheapest Mercedes-Benz, the GLA180 SUV.

The A180 is still far more expensive than range-topping mainstream small cars: Toyota Corolla ZR Hybrid ($31,920), Mazda3 Astina ($33,490) and Volkswagen Golf Highline ($35,990).

But the A180 scores some excellent tech features including the maker’s digital assistant which responds to “Hey Mercedes” and can control the vehicle’s climate, navigation and infotainment functions via voice commands.

Two large 10.25-inch displays run lengthways across the dash. The first displays all the vehicle’s vitals while the second one takes care of the entertainment functions.

Power comes from a 1.3-inch turbocharged four-cylinder engine (100kW/200Nm) — a detuned version of the one found in the A200 that makes 120kW/250Nm — matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The A180 comes with a decent kit of active safety equipment including autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, road sign recognition and auto parking.

Mercedes-Benz will expand the A-Class line-up with two A250 models in the first quarter of 2019.

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