REVIEW: Mercedes-Benz A-Class A200

Since its launch, the A-Class has always been seen as a 'Mercedes for Mom', with its obtuse styling and squat/boxy features, particularly at the rear end, during its first and second iterations.

Styling was different compared to the rest of the market, but ultimately its bland shape and slanting bonnet didn't quite seem to fit proportionally with the rest of the car. The latest A-Class, beginning with the third-generation, is a far cry from its forebears.

It also happens to be one of the 12 finalists in the 2019 SA Car of the Year competition. Now, it's a beautiful vehicle and I no longer consider it as targeted towards moms - unless the kids are still small enough to fit in the rear seats.

READ: How the Mercedes-Benz A-Class went from Smart car lookalike to the most complete hatch on the market 

I spent some time with the A200 recently and, as a mother, this car did not prove itself as a practical offering. Elbow, head and legroom in the rear is sparse. My toddler had to share the rear seats with some family members over the weekend and even she complained loudly about the lack of wiggle room. 

mercedes-benz a200
                                                               

                                                         Image: Wheels24 / Clavern Van der Post

While the front seats might be comfortable and sporty, it comes at the expense to passengers at the rear, as it is rather broad and takes up lots of space. For a good driving position, you'd have to move the seat back quite some bit, so this really makes sense as a car for young folk on the move.

The seats also have to be manually operated, so you can't shift into that sweet spot for comfort, as you would with power seats. However, it drives like a dream. Overtaking is child's play, and the burble emanating from the exhaust is exhilarating, and makes you want to press the throttle deeper along straights and corners. Not something you'd want to do with tiny tots in the car though...

Driving the A200 is a pleasure. There really are no qualms about its performance.

It is powered by a 1.3-litre unit which generates 120kW/250Nm, with a 7G DCT dual-clutch transmission. Fuel consumption is 5.2-litre/100km in peak form, while more realistic figures will see you reaching 6.9-litres to 7.3-litres/100km - still not too bad.  

mercedes-benz a200
                                                                 

                                                     Image: Wheels24 / Clavern Van der Post

Is the A-Class a bad car? Of course not, it's just not the ideal car for parents with growing children.

Boot space is ample, and can pack quite the cargo when you're travelling home from a family function up the West Coast.

It also performed a charm on track during the dynamic handling and speed testing at Kyalami Circuit during the SA Car of the Year testing days earlier this week. Listening to my fellow jury members, it seems as if it did well, both on track and on the road.

Pricing, however, is a bit on the heavy side and begins at R499 000 for the entry-level A200 petrol version, but so are its direct rivals in the form of the BMW X1, Volvo V40 and the Golf 7.

mercedes-benz a200

                                                             Image: Wheels24 / Clavern Van der Post