2021 Mercedes-Benz A 200d road test review
A couple of months ago we drove Mercedes-Benz's smallest car in its present portfolio, the A-Class in Goa. We were impressed with the entire package but it warranted closer inspection and evaluations to identify just how impressive it was, and that is what this road test intends to do. I got my hands on the A 200d, the oil-burner in the A-Class range, but with the incessant lockdowns and restrictions, testing had to be out off for a while. Now that we have finally managed to hit the road again, sit back and let the A-Class Limousine experience overwhelm you like it did me.
2021 Mercedes-Benz A 200d styling, interiors, features, specifications
The A 200d is a handsome car, it looks elite especially when viewed from the front. Our test car in white though does not amplify its lines, as well as some of the other shades, do, so if you do choose to buy yourself one, I'd advise you to avoid the car in white. The front grille is its most attractive feature, the honeycomb structure housing a very large 3-pointed star with the two blades running across the length of the grille gives it the appearance of an airplane propellor. Dial in the lower bumper with the large intakes and the sleek headlamps and what you have is a fairly dynamic persona.
However the front overhang is large and because the A-Class sits pretty low with a GC of just around 107mm, you do run the risk of scrapping the underside of the front end or even the belly pan on low entry or exit ramps with steep slopes and even speed breakers. This low slung profile adds another issue, stepping into and out of the A-Class could pose a few challenges to some, especially if you're 6 feet or taller.
The A-Class cabin is high on functionality, design and luxury, and it is quite pleasing seeing this much space in a car that is just a little over 4 metres in length. Despite how tall you may be, you will find enough and more room on any seat. I just wish that among the long list of features, Mercedes also added an electronic and automatically retractable steering wheel that would make getting out of the driver's seat easier.
Speaking of the features, the list is exhaustive and impressive, though certain elements don't have the same texture and feel as you get in the larger more premium star cars. The operational feel of the buttons on the transmission tunnel could have been better, right now it feels a bit too plasticky. The rest of the control dials and knobs though are simply top drawer stuff. The wireless charging pad could have also been positioned better to place a large 6.9-inch phone, it's a bit tricky trying to slot the phone in there or even remove it. Mercedes have also moved to a strictly Type-C charging interface though not all smartphone manufacturers have moved to that fixture yet. There is also no wireless Android Auto or CarPlay connectivity, a standard we should have moved up to by now, considering its available on some competing cars and even on cars lower down the segment. Having said that the wireless charging pad does provide a reasonably quick charge if you do not have a Type-C cable though check if your phone can be charged wirelessly.
The A-Class also gets Mercedes's latest suite of connected technologies and this works pretty well. The system is quite sensitive to audio commands and responses are quick and there is host of tasks you can accomplish though it. Another cool feature is the interior mood lighting which allows you to explore a complete RGB scale to set the tone in your cabin once the sun goes down. The A 200d also gets a milder form of the epic massage seats you get in more expensive Merc's. It is limited in the things it can do, though it does relax your back over long drives.
2021 Mercedes-Benz A 200d engine, gearbox, performance
The A 200d comes with a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder in-line diesel burner that delivers 150 horsepower and 320Nm of torque. It is without a doubt, the nicest engine in the A-Class line-up, barring the sportier AMG A 35 4MATIC. The levels of refinement are very high and the noise inside the cabin kept very low. Its also a quick and responsive engine. Mercedes claims a 0-100kmph time of 8.2 seconds and on our tests, we nearly matched that with a time of 8.3 seconds.
The pace comes not just from the engine but a fairly quick 8-speed dual-clutch transmission as well that is quick to transfer power to the front wheels. The task of the transmission however isn't to give it more poke, the larger number of ratios are intended to maximise efficiency. If you're looking for a diesel obviously its not for the performance but the more affordable ownership costs given the price of fuel today, though the narrowing gap between petrol and diesel prices does not bode too well for diesels. Nonetheless, the 2.0-litre diesel is an efficient burner, on the highways its sips diesel conservatively stretching a litre of crude to nearly 23 kilometres. In urban areas too it does a pretty good job of conserving fuel, though you have to keep it in Eco mode and switch on the engine start-stop function to get the maximum benefit.
2021 Mercedes-Benz A 200d driving impressions
The A 200d looks like it could be a lot of fun, but this is a more sensible urban car that brings tremendous value in terms of space, comfort and tech. If you're looking for a car to head out on the weekend and throw it around some corners, you're better off getting yourself the AMG variant. The standard A-Class has a basic suspension setup that is tweaked for comfort, hard fast cornering isn't its strong suit. That said, it does have a fair amount of confidence and the electronics step in quickly to keep you from overstepping the car's boundaries.
The A 200d also feels perfectly happy at munching miles, you could cruise endlessly heading out on a long road trip and not feel exhausted at the end of it.
The one concern I do have though is with the ground clearance. Mercedes India claims to have raised the GC by a small margin, and though they won't reveal the figures, it still feels inadequate on some of Mumbai's speed breakers with the underbelly scraping sufficiently to raise the hairs on your neck!
2021 Mercedes-Benz A 200d verdict, price
The A-Class is a sensible package that offers great value for a small affordable luxury step up into the Mercedes hall of fame. If this were your first Mercedes, you could do no better than the A 200d. The diesel is a great option, well-matched to the A-Class to deliver smile inducing comfort, efficiency and even brilliant tractability when needed.
More than the engineered bits though is the technology on offer, and the A 200d comes bristling with all of Mercedes-Benz's latest suite of features. For some of that may be what you lean heavily on, and the A 200d does not disappoint in any way. So if sedans are still your fancy, the A 200d ticks all the right boxes.
2021 Mercedes-Benz A 200d real-world fuel efficiency and performance
City fuel efficiency - 16.72 kmpl
Highway fuel efficiency - 20.92 kmpl
Overall - 17.77 kmpl
0 to 100 kmph - 8.2s
30-50 kmph - 1.6s
50-70 kmph - 2.4s
60-80 kmph - 2.5s
100 - 0 kmph - 39.8m, 2.8s
Images by Anis Shaikh
Starts Rs 41.55 Lakhs