A Class Mercedes for a new generation
A Class for a new generation
Mercedes-Benz’s A 200 is one of New Zealand’s best-selling Mercedes, and at just under $55 000 (plus on road costs) it’s also one of the most affordable. But people aren’t buying the A 200 just for the iconic three-pointed star on the front grille, no; they’re lining up to get into one because it’s one of the finest small hatch, premium brand cars on the market — a more than worthy competitor to Audi’s A3 and BMW’s 1 Series — and one that arguably delivers a greater bang for your buck.
Mercedes-Benz is looking forward with this model (the third generation in the A-Class) and has clearly pitched the A 200 at younger buyers. This is not Dad’s Mercedes with the attendant associations of privilege and tradition — but a car that perfectly fits the busy lifestyle of a thirty/forty-something urban go-getter.
It doesn’t need all the creature-comfort bells and whistles of its bigger (and more expensive) brothers. But that doesn’t stop it being a head-turner out on the roads, with its new sporty, svelte exterior and low-to-the-ground profile it stands out in the crowd. Neither does it skimp on the safety features — the A 200 has nine airbags, an attention assist feature which detects signs of driver weariness as well as a collision avoidance system at low speeds. And if you’re parking challenged you’ll be pleased to know a reversing camera comes as standard as does the self-parking PARKTRONIC system.
Of course it’s comfortable and well-appointed as befits a premium-brand but the A 200 is confident in its skin, and not one that feels the need to flaunt its brand legacy.
That confidence is reflected in the fresh, modern styling of the redesigned cabin. There’s enough of the usual Mercedes features on board (a push-button start, six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, along with the usual Mercedes center console infotainment options) but the A 200 boasts a new, modern-looking, instrument panel (it’s crisp look resembling a high-end chronograph watch) that adds a welcome pep and a youthful vibrancy to the interior.
The vehicle contains comfortable ARTICO seats - and the current offer from Mercedes-Benz of a Complimentary Sports package includes a host of AMG equipment, a nappa leather steering wheel and rear window privacy glass among other options, at no cost.
Sport-style head-rests complete the front seats which are heated, and electronically adjustable. In the back there’s space for two adults, and the boot is roomy enough for the groceries or sporting equipment and the rear seats fold down if you need more luggage space.
But the most memorable thing about the A 200 is its pure driveability, as adept at manoeuvring cramped city parking spaces as it is hitting the highway for a weekend away.Steering is responsive and the 7-speed automatic gearbox clicks through its changes with precision.
On the open road the car exhibits a power that belies its stats, and the passing lane seems its natural habitat. Despite the low-to-the-ground position the ride is smooth and quiet, and at around 6 litres per 100km it’s pretty efficient too. But if most of your driving is city-centric the A 200 will add style, class and confidence to your commute.
Mercedes-Benz has taken a few risks with the new A 200 — the result is a fresh, reinvigorated and affordable small car which will appeal to a new generation of car buyers.
MRRP $54 900
1, 595cc, 4 cylinder, 115kW, 250Nm
7G-DCT 7-speed automatic
Front wheel drive
6.1L / 100km combined cycle
18-inch 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels
Sports seats in fabric/ARTICO
Active Parking Assist inc. PARKTRONIC
Electrically folding exterior mirrors
Two-pipe exhaust system