REVIEW: Mercedes-Benz A-Class A200

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The A-Class has always been seen as a 'Merc for Mom', with its obtuse styling and square-like features particularly in the rear end in its first-generation version.

Styling was different, but bland, and that long, slanting bonnet didn't quite seem to fit proportionally with the rest of the car. The latest A-Class is a far cry from yesteryear. 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 even at just a glance, and I no longer think it's a car for moms - unless the kids are still small and young enough to fit in car seats in the rear.

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 just did not prove itself as a practical offering. Elbow, head- and legroom in the rear is a bit 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 as an expense to any passengers at the back as it is rather broad and take 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 childless couples or young folk on the move.

The seats also have to be manually operated so you can't get that perfect spot as you would with power seats. 

It drives a dream. Overtaking is child's play, and that burble coming form the exhaust is exhilarating, and makes you want to press the throttle deeper into the corner. Not something you'd want to do with tiny tots in the car either.

But driving the A200 is a pleasure. There really are no qualms about that. It is powered by a 1.3-litre unit which generates 120kW/250Nm with a 7G DCT dual-clutch transmission. Fuel consumption is claimed at 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 traveling 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.

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