Feedback

Mercedes-Benz A 200 Progressive Review 2019 - Class Dynamics

Derryn Wong
28/12/2018


The least expensive A-Class in Singapore – the Mercedes-Benz A 200 Progressive delivers on the promise of upper-crust features in a normal-class body, but at an upper-crust price
 
SINGAPORE
In 1997, Mercedes-Benz launched its first small hatchback, the A-Class.

That’s pretty much it really, the world went on its merry way. It wasn’t a particularly momentous event like the debut of the BMW 3 Series, or even the first ‘baby Benz’, the C-Class, both of which went on to have much more sales success than the A-Class ever did.

But this could be the A-Class than changes things. The third-gen W177 was pronounced as ‘pretty dang good’ at its international debut, while its local launch saw a huge amount of buyer interest and the sort of handphone-saluting usually only seen at supercar events.
It seems the semi-forgotten child of the Mercedes range (the really forgotten child is the B-Class, and that’s not nearly as boring as it used to be either) has done a Cinderella overnight.
A glance at the new car is enough to show you why, really.

The sloping front end is a bold move on a hatchback: It doesn’t have the length to guarantee the approach works like it does on the elegant CLS, but the effect is still gratifying, even if the Progressive model variant here isn’t as dressed up as the AMG Line one is.

In other words, the A-Class looks like a Mercedes-Benz small car, not just a hatch that happened to be built by Mercedes, as the previous one did.

Flip out ‘cargo mode’ latches for carrying boxier items flush upright against the backrest. 
What’s nicer is that the design doesn’t impinge on practicality at all, as there’s more boot space and passenger room too: 370-litres, which is a 29-litre increase, but importantly the loading aperture isn’t modelled after a Tetris piece, while the seats fold down 40/20/40.

The real magic is up front, though.

In the PC enthusiast world, the disease of RGB LEDs (that is red-green-blue light-emitting diodes – basically colour change lights) is in full plague mode.

To naysayers it’s a pointless, fancy light show, and the interior lighting of the A-Class could appear to be very much the same with its ambient, colour change LED light strips, light up air vents and hidden backdrop fills.

Pointless? Maybe, but it is pretty, and it does slap home the point to all onlookers that this is a rather tech-filled, luxury permeated cabin.
If you do somehow miss the lights, there’s no missing the large ‘HD’ cockpit with its dual 10.25-inch screens, the centrepiece of Mercedes’ new human-machine interface, dubbed MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience).
As covered in our international test drive, news story, and video online, MBUX allows you four ways of interacting with the machine – touchscreen, touchpad, steering wheel scroll pad, and voice.

‘Hi Mercedes’ is the activation word (though you can’t change it, which results in it interrupting you if you talk about the brand to your co-driver) and it’s useful for navigating, changing the light colours, and other tasks.

You can watch our walkthrough of MBUX below. 
 It’s the best iteration of in-car voice control for now, but BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA), which is due in Singapore with the new 3 Series next year -see this system in action in our video here – is more adroit at human speech, and can do more things.

MBUX also makes suggestions and customisations depending on how and where you drive, as well as preferred functions and settings, all of which is is managed via themes and profiles, like a computer. As an adaptive system, we didn’t have enough time to see if it really does make your life easier, though.

But overall, the A-Class’ interior is a place worth spending time in, it’s gone from ho-hum boring to a polished, futuristic lounge space that has all its tech-trickery on proud display.

Matching that is the improvement in drive manners. The A 200 has a perky 162hp from its new power unit, and it’s the first we’re seeing of this 1.33-litre turbo inline four that will no doubt also be found in the forthcoming new CLA, GLA, and everything else compact-Mercedes.

It’s not the smoothest of powerplants, but in this category and capacity most engines sound like vacuum cleaners anyway.

There is a surprising amount of top end, so the A 200 is capable of a surprising turn of speed, especially since the handling now has far more poise and grace – it’s actually fun to wrangle the agile little Merc through some twisty tarmac.


It’s still a small hatch in town manners, where you’ll notice the really rough bumps, there is some wind and tyre noise, but overall the comfort level is still better than a janky crossover’s.

We expected a little more refinement from the new A, especially given the price tag.  It’s far better than it used to be, but you’re paying top-dollar here, and the A-Class still can’t touch the Volkswagen Golf for ultimate all-roundedness.

For context, the Mercedes-AMG A 35 is tremendously flexible and quick, and far more refined, while the current CLA ‘coupe’ drove far less impressively than this car does and it still sold like cheap Mao Shan Wang in early July.


Still, there’s no getting around the fact that the Merc is spendy, even for a luxury small hatch, as we pointed out in our launch piece. The A 200 Progressive is the least expensive A-Class, and it’s already $153k with COE, the A 200 AMG is $157k, and the A 250 AMG Line is an eye-watering $173k with COE.
Whether or not that price is worth shelling out for is for stuff beyond our reckoning, like fashion and being on-trend. In technology, style and cabin-coolness though, the A-Class is now really the Mercedes of hatchbacks.

Mercedes-Benz A 200 Progressive

Engine 1,332cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 163hp at 5500rpm
Torque 250Nm at 1620rpm
Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h 8.0 seconds
Top Speed 225km/h
Fuel Efficiency 5.6L/100km
VES Band / CO2 B / 128g/km
Agent Cycle & Carriage
Price S$152,888 with COE
Availability Now

Verdict: A significantly high-tech, high-class hatch experience, but with a price to match

Tags:

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

Related Models

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CarBuyer – Revolutionizing The Online Car Marketplace In Singapore

Buy Used And New Cars Online
Start your car buying journey with CarBuyer as we connect you seamlessly to the industry’s best CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealerships. As a one stop car online portal you can now buy your new ride, be it a pre-owned car or a brand new car from trusted dealers all over Singapore, all in one place. Our ever expanding listing of quality and covet-worthy cars, new and second hand, from both owners and trusted car dealers, will leave you spoilt for choice. Refine your search by vehicle type, registration year, price, mileage, engine type, transmission, annual depreciation value and more to find the car that best suits your needs, taste and lifestyle. You can even search for your car by dealer or directly by owner.

Sell Your Car In An Instant With Confidence
We all know how selling a car in Singapore can be a daunting task especially for a first time car seller; from trying to get a valuation for your car, finding a trusted dealer, to getting the best quote on your vehicle. CarBuyer understands the hassle and even the costs involved and have as such partnered with Huawei to develop a FIRST in Southeast Asia AI car valuation tool that is able to provide a car’s resale value at the snap of a finger. Backed with a consortium of trusted CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealers you can be assured that you are getting the best price for your vehicle and do not have to worry about any hidden costs.

The Ultimate Car Shopping Experience Online
CarBuyer platform is the first of its kind to be backed by Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, enabling it to be able to offer users transparency and enhanced security, all with the one aim of enhancing customer experience. So come on over to buy and sell used cars online at the best prices at CarBuyer Singapore. Connect easily with dealers in real-time via our online video call feature, or schedule a test drive when you’re ready. Have some questions? Get them answered instantly with our chatbot moderated by our responsive team. Stay in the loop with our car-related tips, reviews and news. Learn the ins-and-outs of your car, as well as global and Singapore’s car updates at your own pace.