Offering up a compact sedan in today's market is a brave move. The shift from three-box designs to larger, higher-riding SUVs and crossovers has been taking place for many a year now and the sedan market is fast dwindling to the point where there are questions about the longevity of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Is there still a place for them and if so, for how long? Especially in budget-friendly trim levels.
Mercedes-Benz is adamant that there is still enough of a market to develop and sell, not only the C-Class, but to introduce a new entry-level compact sedan, based on the A-Class: the A-Class sedan.
I hear you say that this is nothing new and that Mercedes-Benz has had the coupé-esque CLA-Class on the market for a while now and has enjoyed much success with this model. This is true, and this has also left us wondering if the introduction of a dedicated A-Class sedan won't end up cannibalising sales of the revamped CLA?
Related:Top 5 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan features that stand out from the competition.
While visually very similar to the CLA, the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan does have its own look and feel. For starters, the headlights are more triangular on the A-Class and the large grille a little narrower than you would find on the CLA. Both feature a large tri-star badge in the centre with chrome elements extending to either side. The A-Class is also without the two 'power bars' on the bonnet, creating a sleeker, more elegant look.
At the rear, the lower edge of the CLA sits considerably higher than that of the A-Class and while this creates the impression of a droop in the back of the A-Class, it's only noticeable when it's parked alongside a contemporary CLA; on its own, it holds up rather well. This low, accessible lower edge of the boot opening alludes to the more practical nature of the A-Class sedan over that of the CLA, where the emphasis has been placed on its sporting credentials and design.
Our A200 model was fitted with the optional AMG-Line package and a set of stylish, but sensible 18-inch wheels finished in black with polished spoke and rime details. As standard, you will get a set of 17-inch wheels and tyres which are ideal for comfort and durability on out pockmarked roads.
With that said, the A200 didn't drive poor at all. Keeping in mind that this is the entry-point into the Mercedes-Benz brand, I was pleasantly surprised by the effortless ride that was only flummoxed on the most demanding road surfaces. I was expecting a more basic response akin to that felt in older A- and B-Class models but I was pleasantly surprised for the most part.
One cannot expect E-Class levels of refinement here but the A-Class sedan performs admirably and still manages to give you that Mercedes-Benz feel, provided you don't get too analytical. For the average Joe, this won't be of any concern.
NVH levels are more than acceptable and the only unwanted intrusion comes from the small-capacity engine that sounds somewhat strained when pressing on.
This unwanted clatter is largely due to the high-strung nature of the small-displacement engine. Unlike the years before, the 200 in the A200 model designation no longer refers to the displacement of the engine but rather the relative power output of the engine. Where an A200 would have indicated that the engine was indeed a 2.0-litre, thanks to turbocharger technology, the A200 uses a 1.3-litre engine that makes as much power as a 2.0-litre would without turbocharging - sort of. Naturally, there are exceptions to the rule, just be thankful that they didn't call it the A130 - that could be a little embarrassing and make it hard to sell.
This rather small engine produces an admirable 120 kW and 250 Nm torque and while this is unlikely to set your hair on fire, it fares just fine on the daily commute and highway adventure. It's paired to a 7-speed 7G-DCT automatic gearbox and sends power to the front wheels, typical of an A-Class offering. Mercedes-Benz claims that this is sufficient to get the car from a standstill to 100 km/h in only 8.1-seconds and that it will carry this through to a top speed of 230 km/h.
Space and Comfort
The interior space of the new A-Class sedan is nothing to get too excited about. It shares rather similar interior dimensions with the A-Class hatch and it's only in the rear overhang where you really benefit from the added length. Taller drivers will notice that the headroom in the A-class is a little more generous, this is thanks to the slightly taller profile of the sedan over the hatch.
Open up the boot and you're given 420-litres of storage space as opposed to the 370-litre you get in the hatchback, but the narrower opening of the sedan makes loading slightly more challenging. Oddly enough, and due to the higher decklid inherent of the design, the CLA has even more space in the boot with 460-litres on offer. The interior of the CLA feels rather cramped though, especially at the rear where the sloping roofline encroaches.
The interior of the A-Class sedan is well-trimmed and rather well-appointed at first glace and once again, one cannot expect E-Class levels of trim and luxury. That said, the A-Class does an admirable job of making things feel premium, even if there is more plastic used than in the higher-level models.
Much of the active safety controls fitted to our A200 AMG-line press model are optional extras but in standard, bare-bones format, the A-Class sedan still benefits from six airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control and LED Daytime Running Lights. It's in the options list though where you can benefit from the technology made available to the A-Class sedan, features that one would ordinarily only see in larger, more expensive models.
The standard MBUX infotainment system can be upgraded to the full-digital package which sees two 10.25-inch screens for the gauges and the infotainment system, blended seamlessly into one. You can also spring for the Driving Assistance package which sees the addition of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC for radar-guided cruise control, PRE-SAFE for city braking and injury mitigation, and Exit Warning Assistant to help you back out of parking bays without hassle.
While this seems all good and well, we found the systems to be a rather hit and miss affair. The DISTRONIC was slow to respond and the lane-keep function intervened far too aggressively, making us think that the assistance systems were ordered off ofWish.com. The one area where the A-Class certainly impressed was with the configurable Heads-Up Display that has to be one of the best we've ever seen.
The small engine doesn't pretend to be a performance item and the A-Class sedan is happy with fronting as a performance vehicle without having the bite to match the bark. We're fine with that too, especially with the running costs associated with a performance car. As such, we were driving the A-Class sedan in a respectable manner and managed to return fuel consumption figures of 6.9 l/100km, on the mark for their claim of 6.7 l/100km in the urban setting. Combined fuel consumption is said to be 5.2 l/100km.
Where the A-Class is meant to be the entry-point into Mercedes-Benz ownership and the A200 the most affordable of the range, the A200 starts are an eye-watering R541 000 before you're even looked at the options list. The model we tested, with a generous selection of options runs a tab of R735 875.
The A200 AMG-Line is a rather agreeable compact sedan and one that I could comfortably park in my driveway - provided someone else is paying for it. I feel it is priced just too high to attract the sort of attention Mercedes-Benz needs in order to make a sedan work in this current market, no matter how pleasant it is to drive and live with. I'd choose it over the CLA and I'd spring for it over the hatchback as well. It's a more mature approach to the theme, idiosyncrasies and all.
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The A200 is also a top choice for a long-distance drive as it glides smoothly through the highway but with a deep rumbling sound that may be evident during the drive. The noise from outside is easily masked by the soothing sound of music on your playlist.Do Mercedes A-Class have a lot of problems? ›
One of the most common problems that Mercedes A-Class owners may experience is electrical issues. These can manifest in a variety of ways, such as dashboard warning lights, faulty sensors, or problems with the car's infotainment system.Is Mercedes A200 reliable? ›
Reliability hasn't been a strong point of the current A-Class, unfortunately. In the 2021 What Car? reliability survey, it finished dead last in the family car category, and the 19th worst new car on sale.Is 2020 Mercedes A-Class a good car? ›
With a long list of standard features, a premium-looking cabin, and relatively accessible pricing, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-class offers good value. Despite its small footprint, this sedan provides spacious accommodations for passengers, with a respectable amount of legroom for adults in the back seat.Is Mercedes A200 discontinued? ›
It's official: the Mercedes-Benz A-Class will be no more in the USA market – but the brand's smallest and most affordable model will continue on in Australia with no foreseeable change to local strategy.Are Mercedes A Class cars reliable? ›
The A-Class finished 39th on our list of the best cars to own based on owners' feedback from the 2023 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. The premium hatchback also received a 93.77 per cent score for reliability.Why is Mercedes discontinuing the A-class? ›
The decision to axe the A- and B-Class comes as Mercedes-Benz looks to increase its number of pure-electric models, while ramping up the number of higher-profit luxury models in its portfolio. The German car maker is not abandoning the compact car segment completely, though.Are Mercedes a-class strong in crashes? ›
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class was originally crash tested by Euro NCAP back in 2012 and awarded a five-star rating.
Mercedes-Benz cars are luxurious but often face engine issues, gear shift problems, and faulty engine mounts. problems range from engine system failures to problems with the brake system, rough gear shifts, transmission issues, and rusty engine mounts.Is the A200 a Mercedes engine? ›
Badged A180 and A200, they're based around the same engine but with different tuning. They use a 1.3-litre, four-cylinder engine sourced from Renault, but refinement is suitably 'Mercedes' for use in this car unless you thrash them.
Mercedes-Benz A Class Engines
The entry level petrol engine is badged A180 and is a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which makes 136 hp. The A200 is essentially the same engine, except that it produces 163 hp.
|Diesel Mileage (ARAI)||20.0|
|Diesel Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)||50.0|
|Emission Norm Compliance||BS IV|
|Top Speed (Kmph)||210|
In 2020, Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle sales in the USA contracted by 14% to 275,000 cars with the GLC and GLE the top-selling models. In full-year 2020, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) recorded sales of 274,916 Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles and 50,999 Vans.How long will A-Class Mercedes last? ›
The Mercedes C-Class is considered to have the shortest lifespan of any Mercedes model, usually hovering closer to the 150,000-200,000 mile range. On the other hand, a Mercedes Benz E-Class can have a long lifespan, edging closer and even past the 250,000 mile range.Why is the Mercedes A-Class so popular? ›
The Mercedes A-Class launched in 1997 in a decade when many passenger car designs had become less than inspiring, but with its four-door compact hatchback body shape, the A-Class brought a sporty, family-friendly feel to the entry-level end of the Mercedes range.Is the A200 fast? ›
In the A200 it's punchy enough, with a 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds. Helped by the mild hybrid system, the seven-speed DCT is reasonably responsive. The A200 d is quiet for a diesel, and has plenty of torque and is well served by the smooth eight-speed DCT.Is Mercedes A200 fuel efficient? ›
Claimed fuel consumption for the A 200 is 5.2 l/100 km. The A 200d is powered by a 1.9-litre unit which generates 110 kW and 320 Nm of torque and has been paired with a 8-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission. Claimed fuel consumption for the A 200d is 4.9 l/100 km.