Mercedes A200: Waving goodbye

  • We say farewell to our Mercedes A-Class
  • Many things impressed us about the car...
  • ...while some things did begin to irk

It’s a sad day. I’ve had to give the keys to our A-Class long-term test car back to the man from Mercedes.

Having covered many thousands of miles in the red hatchback, I’ve really grown to like it. My wife claims it’s the best long-term test car I’ve ever had, and I have to say it’s definitely up there in the top three.

While there are aspects I’m not too fond of – the ride quality and gearbox being of note – overall it’s been a great ownership experience. I’ve particularly enjoyed the sporty handling, the punchy yet economical diesel engine and of course the fact that you get a key reminding you that you’re driving a Mercedes-Benz.

It looks great too, the AMG Sport bodykit and wheels really bringing out the best in the A-Class. It’s testament to the A200 that parked next to its rip-roaring hot hatch relative, the A45 AMG, there’s not much difference to the un-trained eye.

One thing that really did impress was the fuel economy. If I tried hard I managed to illicit over 70mpg from the A-Class, which is really not to be sniffed at.

The seats were comfortable, but one thing I’d go without if I were buying it for myself is the pre-safe anticipatory safety system. It’s most disconcerting when you get into the car and have the seatbelt tug you into the seat shortly after you’ve turned the ignition.

This is especially true if you find you want to operate anything on the centre console (such as the heated seats) or you’re already in a position to release the parking brake. Both activities mean you lean forward, so when the car pulls you back it’s frustrating.

Still, that’s a minor gripe since you don’t have to tick that option box, and you’ll save yourself £340 in the process.

Options we would consider include the panoramic glass sunroof, which makes the cabin feel nice and light, and personally I like a decent stereo too – so I’d probably end up paying the extra £1,430 for the Audio 20 system, uprated speakers and handsfree telephone pre-wiring. This includes a 5.8-inch ‘tablet style’ screen on the dash along with USB and aux-in sockets, MP3 player connectivity and of course a radio.

The AMG Exclusive Package is nice – including such features as a black roof lining, heated black leather front seats, a leather upper dash and some red stitching – but is it nice enough to command a £1,080 premium? We’re not too sure.

Overall, £29,900 is a lot of money for a hatchback. You could buy a Volkswagen Golf GTi with the optional Performance Pack for less. If you did, though, it’s worth noting that you wouldn’t get anywhere near the same fuel economy as I’ve been getting and tax will cost you a lot more too – especially if you’re a company car driver. Furthermore, you don’t get that key with the three-pointed star on it…

I’ve done all sorts of interesting things in the trusty A200, and I’m genuinely sad to give it back. Now it’s on to the test car lottery to see what form my next vehicle takes.

Total mileage: 9,526

Average MPG: 49.7