Mercedes-Benz A 200 Hatchback 2018 first drive review

RoyalAuto magazine

The smallest Mercedes ramps up the technology with a new voice-control feature, strong safety and a perky powerplant. 

Report: Liam McPhan
September 2018


Talking points

  • Infotainment system and some vehicle functions controlled by voice
  • High level of standard safety features
  • Surprisingly versatile small turbocharged petrol engine

A blind spot exit assist function prevents doors from opening should something be approaching from the rear.

The all-new A-Class is not so much about mechanical advancements as it is about delivering advanced technologies to the entry point of the Mercedes-Benz brand.


On the outside it looks sleeker and more streamlined, with many of the outgoing model’s curves now replaced with sharp edges and straight lines. Overall dimensions haven’t changed much, but splitting the tail light assembly in two creates a wider opening that may help getting bigger items into the boot. 

The A 200 is well equipped with safety features including traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, crosswind assist, nine airbags, and an audible tone to help protect ears in a crash. A blind spot exit assist function prevents doors from opening should something be approaching from the rear (cars, cyclists etc). The full suite of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance features is to be available in the A-Class as an option. 

If you say ‘Hey Mercedes, I’m cold’ it will turn up the climate control system.

For the most part the interior has been brought up to speed with other models in Mercedes’ line up. What stands out are two 10.25-inch customisable screens spanning the driver display and infotainment system, acting as the physical interface between occupants and the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or “MBUX”. 


This is the biggest change to how occupants interact with the car, and it comes in the form of saying “Hey Mercedes”. The A-Class is the first car to receive the new  Mercedes-Benz developed Linguatronic system. It allows occupants to control vehicle functions through voice commands. Like other smartphone and smart home devices, you get its attention with a phrase – in this case, “Hey Mercedes” - and follow with your command. 

In our limited drive we tested opening and closing the sunroof, changing climate control temperature, setting navigation, configuring mood lighting and choosing radio stations. For the most part it worked quite well, only occasionally asking you to repeat the command.

The little engine delivers power in all the right places to provide a well-rounded drive experience in all situations.

Interestingly the AI can recognise non-standard phrases - for example, if you say “Hey Mercedes, I’m cold” it will turn up the climate control system. There’s also an augmented reality smartphone app with which you can scan the car and see instructions on your phone for various vehicle functions.

The turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine has been reduced to 1.3 litres from 1.6 litres in the outgoing model. The new engine, a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Renault named “M 270”, shaves off five kilograms in mass which is claimed to contribute towards improved noise and vibration. Paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the outcome is a 5kW increase in power output, reduced CO2 emissions and a reduction in ADR fuel consumption from 6.1 to 5.7 L/100km. 

Despite its size, the little engine delivers power in all the right places to provide a well-rounded drive experience in all situations, with good pick-up around town and a comfortable cruise on the highway. The suspension has been tuned to a nice blend of comfort and performance, giving a relaxed drive on the open road and plenty of agility in tighter situations.

In its core form, the A200 is priced at $47,200 before on road costs, or nearly $3000 more than the outgoing model. The aftersales department is well equipped with an array of optional packages ranging from $790 to $3190 - some cosmetic, some comfort, and some offering mechanical changes such as reduced ride height or adaptive damper suspension. The A200 has a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty.

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2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A 200 HATCHBACK

Price

$47,200 + est. $5700 on road costs

Technical

Engine 1,332 cc turbo four
Power 120 kW @ 5500 rpm
Torque 250 Nm @ 1620 rpm
Transmission / driven wheels
Seven-speed automatic / front wheel drive
Tyres 225/45 R18
Wheel type Alloy
Spare wheel None – run-flat tyres
Kerb weight 1345 kg
Wheelbase 2729 mm
Fuel Consumption (ADR) 5.7 L/100km
Co2 Emissions130g/km
Fuel95-RON
Fuel tank capacity43 litres

Standard safety

ANCAP not yet rated
Nine airbags
ABS, ESC, EBA
Hill start assist / driver attention assist
Auto headlights / adaptive high-beam assist
Blind spot monitor / exit warning assist
Lane keep assist / cross wind assist/ traffic sign assist
Reverse camera / front and rear parking sensors
ISOFIX child seat mounting

Standard features

Cruise control
10.25” digital instrument cluster
10.25” touchscreen digital display
Satellite navigation
Bluetooth connectivity
DAB+ Digital Radio
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Power windows
Rain sensing wipers
Dual zone climate air-conditioning
40:20:40 split-fold rear seat
Wireless device charging
Leather seats


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