Mercedes B-Class mini MPV (2005-2011)
"The B-Class is spacious and well made, but you’ll pay handsomely for the car’s upmarket badge and premium feel, as it’s very expensive."
- Feeling of space inside
- Quality of cabin materials and switches
- Big, flexible boot space
- Very dull to drive
- Engines feel underpowered across the board
- High price to pay for Mercedes-Benz badge
It’s bigger than the Mercedes A-Class, yet the upmarket B-Class still only seats five, unlike some rivals. The VW Touran, for example, includes a pair of extra folding seats in the boot. Instead, the B-Class focuses on passenger comfort and a premium image. The rear seats fold down easily to boost stowage space. Overall, it’s a practical and prestigious family car that’s very comfortable – but not very exciting to drive.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Both petrol engines come with a BlueEFFICIENCY badge, which is basically Mercedes’ name for its work in lowering fuel consumption. Confusingly then, these two are the thirstiest B-Classes, with economy in the mid-forties compared to the 54.3mpg of the B 180 and B 200 CDI versions.
Engines, drive & performance
The Mercedes B-Class is an easy car to drive. The high driving position, which also offers lots of seat and wheel adjustment, means all-round visibility is good, so it’s easy to zip through traffic and park. Light steering, a vague gearchange and some body roll around corners means this car is unlikely to appeal to enthusiasts. The engines don’t help: the B 160 model, powered by a 1.7-litre 94bhp petrol engine, feels underpowered at low revs, as does the B 180 CDI diesel variant. Even the B 180 petrol model, with 114bhp, struggles with the weight of a family of five on board. That leaves the 138bhp B 200 CDI, which is significantly faster than the rest, but is expensive.
Interior & comfort
The B-Class is a quiet and comfortable car to drive on long journeys. Wind noise is limited, and the car’s suspension is supple enough to smooth over potholes on broken city roads. The car rolls around a bit through corners, but the seats are supportive. Cabin quality is first rate, and helps justify the car’s high price tag.
Practicality & boot space
Pop the rear hatch, and you’ll instantly notice how big the boot looks. The rear seats fold down very easily, and - for a price - you can specify removable seats. Cabin cubbyholes are sparse when compared to most people carriers, and there are no map pockets, although the central storage and glove boxes are big enough for a few drinks cans and CDs.
Reliability & safety
The B-Class doesn’t have a Euro NCAP rating, but it has six airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and a clever system called ‘Steer Control’ that assists in steering the right way if you find yourself skidding. It also has a ‘sandwich floor’, which means the engine slides underneath the car during a head-on collision, which helps to reduce injuries. It has a proven track record of reliability and all models get an unlimited mileage warranty and up to 3-years of breakdown cover.
Price, value for money & options
There’s no doubting the kudos of the Mercedes badge, but it comes at a high price. Standard equipment on SE models includes alloy wheels, air-conditioning and electric windows, but the B-Class is priced higher than many bigger, better equipped people carriers - and it depreciates quicker than bigger Mercedes-Benz models.