Mercedes-Benz A200

Much improved A-class is still no hot hatch

Evo rating
Price
from £18,120
  • Original's chassis woes now sorted
  • Not a car you really want to punt hard

Elk, moose, deer, even the humble Fresian cow shouldn't hold any worries for the second incarnation of Mercedes' Tardis. Where the old A-class infamously went sump-over-grab-handle trying to evade cones representing wandering Scandinavian ruminants, the new one merely wafts around them, which translates to a much more enjoyable car, for us as well as them.

We tried the most powerful diesel and petrol versions currently available (there's a 200bhp turbocharged 2-litre petrol due at the end of the year) and it's nice to be able to sing the praises of the latter rather than the former. The petrol comes with only five gears to the derv's six, and 136bhp versus 140bhp, but it feels much the more flexible and gutsy unit, punting along at a brisk yet refined pace with decent urge when you want it at motorway speeds.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Although the driving position is high, you don't get the waving sensation of being at the top of a tree in a gale through the corners. The driving position is also less van-like, and the rest of the interior is as spacious as Mercedes claims, although whether it's what you'd expect for the £26K of our specced-up test car is debatable. The £500 optional Harman Kardon stereo was, however, fantastic. As far as the outside goes, you can make up your own mind, but it does seem odd that when form so obviously follows function, anyone would bother to specify the convenience-robbing three-door.

In everyday driving the A-class is refreshingly accomplished, with a good ride/handling trade-off. It's best through bigger corners on more open A- and B-roads where you can use the laterally stable chassis to best effect. The wide-feeling front track doesn't really key into the tarmac through tighter, more nadgety turns and the outside front wheel always seems to be trying to bear too much of the cornering duties. A touch of trail-braking does help, but few owners will drive it like that.

In truth, you wouldn't really expect an A-class to be some B-road hero anyway. Much better to enjoy sweeping along bigger roads, cheerfully waving at all the animals as you go.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4cyl, 2035cc
Max power136bhp @ 5750rpm
Max torque136lb ft @ 3500-4000rpm
0-609.8sec (claimed)
Top speed125mph (claimed)
On saleNow

Recommended

Mercedes-AMG A35 Saloon 2020 review
Mercedes A-Class

Mercedes-AMG A35 Saloon 2020 review

7 Feb 2020
Mercedes-AMG A35 2020 review – AMG’s shot at the VW Golf R
Mercedes A-Class hatchback

Mercedes-AMG A35 2020 review – AMG’s shot at the VW Golf R

24 Jan 2020

Most Popular

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car
News

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble
Cupra

Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Is Cupra about to get hold of Audi’s brilliant five-cylinder petrol engine?
19 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot
Alpine

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020
Car pictures of the week
Lotus Elise

Car pictures of the week

In this week’s car pictures, from issue 279, we look at the highlights from our lightweight sports car triple test
23 Oct 2020