JOHANNESBURG – If you are after a posh hatch with a sporty appeal, as well as high levels of quality, the Mercedes-Benz A200 will do nicely. The AMG package fitted to our A200 on test here certainly emphasised the vehicle’s pretty styling, as well as adding some extra value to this used car buy. The bold and sporty styling continues on the inside of the vehicle, which ensures that the A200 should appeal to younger buyers as well.
Background and condition of the vehicle:
You certainly do not get less quality in the A200 because it is a Mercedes-Benz entry-level model. Yes, the overall design is sporty, but the materials retain that Mercedes-Benz feeling of quality throughout. In fact, the AMG package fitted to our test car ensured that our A200 looked pretty much the same as the range-topping A45 model, not only on the outside but in the cabin as well.
This 3-year-old A200 was still in a very tidy condition and was certainly well looked after. The only negatives were a few small scuff marks on some of the alloy wheels, which to be honest could easily be refurbished at very little cost.
Although the 225/40R18 tyres fitted to our test vehicle were not new any more they should not need replacing in a hurry.
Performance and Economy:
The A200 comes powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Although the maximum power output of 125kW and 250Nm of torque might sound modest by today’s standards, I was surprised at how lively the A200 felt, especially in and around town. Good low-down torque delivery and well-spaced ratios from its 7-speed automatic gearbox seem to be the key.
Overall performance, therefore, was not shabby at all, with the A200 capable of blasting past the 100km/h mark in 8.0 seconds. Fuel economy proved to be especially impressive for a petrol-driven vehicle, with a quoted average fuel economy figure of 5.7-litres per 100km.
How does it drive?
I was surprised to see that our A200 came fitted with Mercedes-Benz’s “Dynamic Select” system which allows drivers to tweak steering and throttle settings, as well as gearshift timing through several different modes.
These modes included comfort, sport, economy, and an individual setting. Overall comfort proved to be good for a hatchback of this kind. Yes, the ride was quite firm, but never uncomfortable, while the A200 also felt surefooted around the bends. Selecting the appropriate mode through the “Dynamic Select” system should further compliment the driving experience that you are after.
Inside the vehicle:
Not only is the interior styling sporty, but sophisticated and good to look at too. The leather and Alcantara combo front seats not only looked great but also offered good support and comfort. SLS inspired air vents and the attractive carbon fibre look-alike trim on the dashboard creates a sporty atmosphere in the cabin.
The eight-inch infotainment system did prove a bit complicated to use, although it is probably just a case of getting more familiar with it over time.
Space and Practicality:
Although the A200 could still carry up to 5 people in relative comfort, adults sitting in the back will find legroom more adequate than spacious, while headroom could be a bit tight for six-footers.
The boot is perfectly adequate, but not class-leading at 341-litres. The seats do fold flat which increases loading space to 1 157-litres.
Fitted with the AMG package, the A200 proved to be a very attractive little hatchback that included the quality and style you would find in some larger Mercedes-Benz models but ultimately wrapped in a sporty and fun to drive package. Decent performance and excellent fuel economy further ensure that it is a great hatchback buy at this price point.
Attractive styling with AMG package
Excellent fuel economy
Not as spacious and practical as some rivals
No key-less entry