Sprint Review: 2023 Mercedes-Benz A200

Starting this review with anything but this car’s colour would be sin. And that’s probably the kindest description of this hue (“a sin!”) which I had to endure from our region’s uptight white-or-silver crowd…

You should know: Please gloss over its paint and consider the smallest Mercedes-Benz hatchback in its most diminutive form: the A200. Powered by a Renault-sourced 1.3L turbo 4-cylinder petrol, it uses a 7-speed DCT (dual clutch automated manual transmission) to deliver 130kW or 270Nm to the front wheels.

What else? The cabin is obviously quite a snug affair, especially with its stingy window-line, but you’ll find a 355L boot, folding rear furniture and claimed average petrol use of 5.6L/100km from the 43L tank. While that won’t be possible in undulating city traffic, I did see high fives on a steady highway commute once.

Also, just to calm down all you hysterical Plain Janes, this vehicle is available in silver, grey, blue, black, and everyone’s darling: fridge freezer white. To be honest, I’d rather have this “Rose Gold Metallic” than wander around parking lots looking for my car in a sea of white goods. May a bolt of lightning strike me if I’m lying.

More info: Ride comfort is OK by today’s standards, but caution should be taken over speed humps, around potholes and near steep entrances, as the ground clearance is rather negligible. Steering feedback is decent but the drive train is prone to alarming naps or uncouth jerks due to turbo lag, gearbox lethargy, a high-rpm torque plateau (only starting at 2,000rpm) but EU-dictated rpm shyness.

Ditto for all its direct rivals, though.

Why you shouldn’t: Mercedes-Benzes were, are and probably always will be comparably expensive. If you want bang for your buck, better toys or more power, you’re better off shopping elsewhere. When compared to bigger Mercs, this 1,365kg entry-level model is quite basic inside, brutally demonstrated by its rather tiny digital gauge cluster.

Why you should: What this A200 promises is a quality product with great safety and good comfort features, plus just the right amount of efficiency and modern toys. There’s also an AMG-Line version, which will be impossible to resist because it becomes a mandatory package if you so much as go near the options list.

Oh, and just for the record, no bolts of lightning struck me while I was typing this text.


Engine:1,332cc i-4 Turbo-petrol
Transmission:7-speed DCT, FWD
Max. Power:135kW @ 5,500rpm
Max. Torque:270Nm @ 2,000rpm
Avg. cons.:Claimed 5.6L/100km
0-100km/h:Claimed 8.2 seconds
Top Speed:Claimed 225km/h
List Price:From R820,995 (Jan. 2024)

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