Mercedes A200 CDI: Initial driving impressions

  • Our thoughts 280 miles into running the A-Class
  • Ride is firm but trade off is neat handling
  • Trip computer shows 47.8mpg and range of 550 miles

The A-Class has been in the office for a week now, and I’ve managed to put a few miles on the clock. My journey has taken in a mixture of driving on motorways, country lanes and town roads, so I thought I’d let you know my initial impressions.

First and foremost, I was concerned about how this car was going to drive. After a colleague drove the car upon its initial arrival, and was quick to complain about seat comfort and ride, there was some doubt in my mind about its abilities.

There’s obviously sporty intent going on – the flashy wheels and body kit make this plainly obvious – so it wouldn't have been the biggest surprise if I agreed with his findings.

He neded up with backache, the seats and their adjustment clearly not suiting his spine, and couldn't wait to slide into something softer for his ride home that night.

But you know what? I've actually found the A200 a relatively cosseting and comfortable companion on the longer journeys I've tackled so far. Granted I’ve only done a couple of trips over 60 minutes long, but if anything was going to seriously disagree with my lumbar area I'd have noticed by now.

I’m not for one minute going to try and tell you it has an ultra-forgiving ride, though. It doesn’t. The lower AMG Sport suspension provides a distinctly sporty chassis set-up, and you do tend to feel bumps in the road.

Luckily for me, the pay-off is that it goes around corners pleasingly well too. And in my opinion, it's not at the absolute and complete detriment to ride comfort. Whatever my initial fears, driving for long distances is no longer one of them - my time in the car has already quashed that one.

And as I'm such a fan of the odd enthusiastic B-lane blast, I'll happily put up with the slightly turbulent ride.

Two things I’m not so sure about though - at least so far - are the gear change and steering feel. Both seem vague, which is a shame as tightening them up would have a marked effect on how enjoyable the car is to drive. I’m not prepared to write either off yet though. It could just be a case of getting used to the car.

Over my time with the car so far I’ve seen 47.8mpg indicated on the A-Class’ trip computer. There’s no telling how accurate that is – we’ll have to wait for a few fill-ups before we can calculate it properly – but if true it’s pretty impressive considering I’ve not really been concentrating too much on saving fuel.

In terms of range, I've covered 282 miles so far. The range gauge on the dash says I've got 270 left, which means a grand total of around 550 miles between fill-ups.

In the next month or so I’ll be doing a few much longer journeys in the A-Class, and I’m looking forward to learning exactly how easy this Audi A3, Volvo V40 and Ford Focus rival really is to live with.

Current mileage: 4,353

Average mpg: 47.8mpg (ind.)