Since 2013, the Mercedes A-Klasse has been the wonder child of the brand's lineup after a massive identity refurb from the earlier generations that gained bad press for being ridiculously unsafe. The new generation, dubbed 'W177', continues that legacy from its predecessor to be the hip and chic model in the whole Mercedes family tree with a lot of tech and fancy design that befits the needs of the current XYZ generation of people. And for a couple of days, we tried to fit ourselves into that shoe to understand the new Mercedes A200 W177. Cars today are beyond just the drive, because brands intend on humanising the experience with their products. Back when character came in the form of a massive engine, today, the approach is to understand the type of people who buys these products and inculcating the behavioural element into the product itself as a USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. If i'm honest, I find it weird. For enthusiasts like myself, cars are all about how it drives, how it handles, and how it reacts to changing road conditions and driving elements. But I guess what do I know... What is it? - Well, the new W177 A-Klasse is designed to be "Just Like You". And whilst I can't quite understand what that means, at first, I thought it was going to wake up one day, put on pants, and go uncover some nice JDMs on a Tuesday afternoon. Over the last few years, there hasn't truly been a bad car that came out of Europe especially in this segment. Between the Golf, the 1er, and alternative options from Seat or Volvo; what happens is when you get inside the car, you'll eventually go back feeling very similar on the drive. Which is why for this new generation, Mercedes is set to introduce a new benchmark standard! Doing it like no other, the new W177 A-Klasse comes packed with a lot of tech and gizmos that are meant to appeal to the new and current hip generation. Design wise, the new shape is a love or hate for me. From many angles, I think it looks decent, and where it wins is from the frontal side sporting Merc's new design language. But the rear is questionable, and if you were to remove Merc's badge from the back, people could just mistake it for a Korean car. The new car is significantly bigger, being 16mm wider, 7mm taller, and 126mm longer than the previous car. This of course translates to a much bigger interior space...
And this is most important because the A-Klasse party piece is all in the interior. Mercedes introduces their new MBUX infotainment system that is designed to learn and understand the driver or users of the car. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it can be individualised to adapt to the user's needs and emotions, creating a new level of connectivity between car and driver. For the average user, this all sounds like absolute gimmickry, but spend enough time with the A-Klasse and you'll find yourself utterly surprised by just how lovely it is to be inside the new car.
The cockpit is also now, all digital. Powered by a huge dash display courtesy of a dual 10.25inch screen that is sharp and intuitive to the driver. Though much of the functions are hidden within the menu, you can easily have everything customised to your driving mood and functional desires as and when you like.
Powered by a new 1.3-litre Turbocharged engine, the A200 variant is the smallest of the baby benz range here in Malaysia. Whilst spending RM227k on a new 200 may sound like a lot of money for just a 1.3-litre engine, this power unit is by far the most surprising part of the car. It is very responsive and superbly relentless, and feels far from being underpowered. Across the band, the turbocharged unit is perfect for the kind of use an A200 buyer would need it for. Quick enough for the slightly spirited weekends, frugal enough for the daily.
Check out our POV walkaround video below on the car...
When I picked up the A200, I was far from excited. I thought the baby of the model would be the boring one to drive, being the least powerful and least striking in terms of exterior outlook. But I found it to be the most surprising of the bunch. The new power unit is a charm to drive, and the A200 sparks the right idea to capture the new generation of buyers. Packed with a lot of tech and hipster interior lighting, the car fits perfectly into your Instagram lifestyle and stories.
Using this as a benchmark, I can't wait to get into the seat of the A250 and the upcoming A35 AMG. It's those hot versions that'll be the more exciting drive, and with the way the A200 has performed, the hotter variants should be absolutely more appealing!