What is it?
When Mercedes ditched the original, innovative, ‘sandwich chassis’ A-Class and went all conventional, many felt it was being a bit conformist. That said, it’s done it no harm, because the third-generation A-Class has sold by the bucketload.
Looking at this refreshed version, you might argue Mercedes has stopped innovating altogether because it hardly looks any different, but why change a winning formula?
For those that need help identifying the tweaks, look for the ‘diamond effect’ grille and front bumper, plus the new tail lights and twin exhausts peeking out from the rear bumper.
This version is the A 200 d Sport, and while you can’t have the new option of adaptive suspension that you can have on top AMG-Line versions, it does have a Dynamic Select button to change the driving modes - in the same vein as an Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series.
You also get a standard 8.0in infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink included, so you can operate your smartphone through it more easily as well.
What's it like?
Despite the subtlety of the styling tweaks the A-Class arguably still cuts a dash, but where it really needed some fettling was to the chassis.
Unfortunately this hasn’t happened, so the old issues remain. From our limited experience abroad it seems the new adaptive suspension improves the ride and handling, but on conventional dampers and here in UK, the A 200 d Sport still fails to shine.
It’s not bad by any means, with direct steering and lots of grip, but the body control is at times felt wanting. Push it hard on some twisty bits and it leans more than you’d like, while there's lots of unwanted float over a series of long crests and dips.
The rear axle has a tendency to hop about, too, so even though you can now adjust the sportiness using the different modes, this A 200 d Sport just doesn’t cut the mustard like an A3 Sport. You don’t get any payback in comfort terms, either; the brittle ride jostles you about over patchy roads, and then gives you a good thump through the seat when you hit anything sharp.