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The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is better equipped and more refined than before, and should continue to be popular among car buyers.

19 Dec 2018


The Transformers series of movies have been pretty mediocre - three of the five movies in the franchise have a Rotten Tomatoes score of less than 20%. By far the most egregious is the fourth instalment, Age Of Extinction - it has an 18% score, but has raked in over $1 billion worldwide. In 2014, it was the only film to cross the billion-dollar mark, and the film sucked!

Which leads to a very simple question - why? Well, because it's the Transformers. It's the same thing with X-Men and DC - there have been hits and misses (mostly misses), but studios continue to pump out these shows because they know the money will stream in. The franchise name alone is the selling point.

Sitting at the bottom of Mercedes' pricelist, the A-Class is the most affordable way to access the German luxury brand

What does this have to do with cars? We sometimes joke that certain cars don't need to be reviewed, because people buy these cars regardless how good (or bad) they are. Cynics among us would contend that the Mercedes A-Class is one such car. According to Mercedes, more than a quarter of the cars sold in 2017 were from its compact car range, comprising the A or B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA. The logic is quite simple - these compact cars are the easiest (and most affordable) entry point to the luxury brand.

Here, then, is the brand new fourth generation A-Class, which will undoubtedly continue to be a big seller for the German brand.

The 370-litre boot, 29 litres more than before, offers a touch more practicality

Upsize

The new A-Class has grown bigger - it's 120mm longer, 16mm wider, 6mm taller and has a 30mm longer wheelbase. This translates to slightly more space inside its compact body, which helps to improve the car's day-to-day practicality. The 370-litre boot has grown as well, an increase of 29 litres.

As far as looks go, it's neither particularly good-looking nor offensive. It's sleek-looking enough, but most people aren't going to look past the three-pointed star on the car's nose.

The 10.25-inch digital dashboard can be configured to show the navigation map in full-screen mode

Update

Where the A-Class is notably improved is in the cabin. It's quite futuristic, though some may argue overly so.

Slip into the driver seat and your eyes are immediately drawn to the twin 10.25-inch displays comprising the digital instrument display and the central media display. It's a sleek and seamless setup (familiar from the E-Class) that elevates the cabin's quality and refinement. Using the central media display, you can configure the car in a multitude of ways - set up as 'Themes' - that adjust everything from the display style, choice of ambient lighting or even the way the car drives. 


There's a new touchpad controller that we're not particularly fond of. It may make sense conceptually, but in reality it's quite annoying to use. The imprecision of the controller reminds us of the Lexus one, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Thankfully, you can (and probably will) use the buttons on the steering wheel instead.

Our other niggle is that the car comes equipped with two USB-C ports, but no normal USB ports. So unless you are using the very latest smartphone, you'll need to go get yourself an adapter. 

The new touchpad controller looks sleek, but its lack of precision makes it a hassle to use

Upgrade

It's more planted and comfortable than before, with a significantly more composed ride compared to its predecessor. The car also feels tighter, with slightly sharper and more accurate steering. We did experience the front suspension bottoming out when coming off a steep slope at speed, so we'd suggest taking it easy when exiting a down-ramp.

The turbocharged 1.4-litre engine under the bonnet produces 161bhp and 250Nm of torque

The A200 is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine, producing 161bhp and 250Nm of torque. It doesn't feel particularly powerful (especially when moving off from a standstill), but the engine gets the job done. However, it does sound quite raspy when you put your foot down. But, maintain a light foot and the car is quiet on the trot.

Uptake

Let's be honest, the A-Class is going to be a big seller, no matter how mechanically good or bad it is. Just look at the previous generation model - unspectacular in every way, but popular nonetheless. But it's clear that people care more about the badge on the bonnet than the oily bits underneath.

With ample technology and improved refinement, the new A-Class is a worthy luxury compact hatchback that should prove popular among car buyers

This new A-Class will sell itself, simply because it's one of the smallest six-digit figures on the Mercedes pricelist. Across all the '200'-badged models, it's still the cheapest, even compared against older variants like the B-Class and the CLA.

The fact that the new A-Class is a notably improved car is a pleasant bonus. It's no Transformers, thank god.  
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Car Information

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Mercedes-Benz A-Class  A200 Progressive (A)
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Promotion
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Price

: $153,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1332cc

Horsepower

:

120kW (161 bhp) / 5500 rpm

Torque

:

250 Nm / 1620 rpm

Transmission

:

7G-DCT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

8sec

Top Speed

:

225km/h

Fuel consumption

:

17.9 km/L

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merc  mercedes  a-class  a class  mercedes a-class  mercedes-benz  a200