Mercedes A200 CDI: Our A-Class visits Goodwood

  • We embark on a long trip to Goodwood and back
  • Bluetooth proves useful, panoramic sunroof proves hot
  • Once again fuel economy impresses, dust less so

I’ve been doing a lot of miles in the A-Class recently. One of the more memorable trips was down to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in what can only be described as a most uncharacteristic British heat wave.

Driving down, I’d decided to leave nice and early to make sure I beat the traffic. I’d allowed four hours to do the 159 miles down to the event, and upon hitting the M25 promptly stopped in several traffic jams. I was due at a car launch, so I had to use the Bluetooth handsfree connection to my mobile to call in and make my excuses to the organiser.

While sitting in traffic it gave me time to lament the A200’s unsuitability for hotter weather. Firstly, the £900 glass panoramic sunroof makes a huge difference. Although it’s nice in that it makes the interior feel quite a lot bigger, when in direct summer sunlight it does warm the car up quite considerably. For much of the journey I had to have the air-con on full-blast at its lowest temperature just to keep things liveable.

Still, the air conditioning my car is fitted with does the job pretty well. It’s a simple system to use and doesn’t seem to affect the car’s efficiency when it’s operating, so there isn’t a huge amount to complain about.

It turned out I wasn’t all that late afterall – many of my colleagues from other publications were also held up and it turned out I was the second person to arrive.

On the way back from Goodwood I decided I’d take the opportunity to see just how much fuel economy I could get from my car. As you’ll remember, I’ve been concentrating on trying to stretch out the fuel economy so figured a long run back home was the perfect opportunity to have a proper go at it.

Using a couple of tactics I know, including switching off the air con for short periods and keeping my speed and throttle application as gentle as possible, I managed a mightily impressive 70.6mpg. That’s way over the car’s claimed average fuel economy of 62.8mpg and actually approaching the extra-urban economy of 74.2mpg. To say I was impressed is an understatement.

Of course, the drawback to taking a car into the dusty fields which masquerade as car parks at Lord March’s Goodwood estate is that everything gets very dusty. Luckily, though, at least it didn’t rain.

It really is incredible, the sort of cars you end up parked next to at the Festival of Speed.

Current mileage: 5,640

Average mpg: 70.6mpg (ind.)