Mercedes B-Class review
It’s not a proper MPV, but the Mercedes B-Class boasts a spacious and classy cabin
There’s a lot to like about the Mercedes B-Class, from its sharp looks and high-quality interior, to the big boot and excellent infotainment system. It also offers more cabin space than the closely related A-Class hatchback, particularly for rear-seat passengers.
But the lack of a clear distinction between the B-Class and A-Class means that the former fails to offer a real unique selling point. It’s not flexible enough to be a true MPV, while the A-Class edges it in terms of style, image and dynamics. In isolation, the B-Class is a good car; it’s just not entirely clear what it wants to be.
About the Mercedes B-Class
The Mercedes B-Class is a premium five-seat MPV that’s been around since 2005. We’re now on our third generation of the car and it seems it’ll be the last, because the company has confirmed it won’t be replacing this current generation once production comes to an end. Considering MPVs are something of a dying breed in 2023, with SUVs now the family car of choice, we’re hardly surprised to hear the B-Class will be laid to rest soon, but a series of updates for 2023 suggests it’ll be with us for a little while yet.
Underneath, the B-Class is based on the same platform as Mercedes’s premium hatchback, the A-Class. The pair look a lot alike too, especially following the recent facelift, and feature the same classy interior and MBUX infotainment system. The only advantages the B-Class has are its superior cabin space and extra luggage capacity, but that’s about it.
Ultimately the B-Class isn’t large enough, or versatile enough, to be considered a true MPV, and there’s no long-wheelbase seven-seat version, either. What’s more, despite using the same underpinnings, the B-Class isn’t offered with the same variety of engines and powertrains as the A-Class. Instead you get to choose between the diesel B 220 d and the petrol B 200, which now features mild-hybrid technology. That means there’s no plug-in hybrid or fully electric model offered to entice company car drivers or those looking to reduce their fuel consumption.
The B-Class is hardly swamped with rivals; instead it has more of an arch-rival: the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, an all-new version of which was launched in 2022 and is offered with plug-in hybrid power. Other competitors in the MPV class include the Volkswagen Touran and Ford S-Max, but they feature seven seats, while the B-Class only gets five. That means the B-Class has to attract potential buyers looking at crossovers and small SUVs, of which there is no shortage in this price bracket.
Speaking of which, the Mercedes B-Class currently starts from around £35,000 for the petrol-powered version, or just over £36,000 for the diesel. You have four trim levels to choose from – Sport Executive, AMG Line Executive, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus – with AMG Line models receiving sportier styling, larger alloy wheels and stiffer suspension. Standard kit on all models includes dual 10.25-inch displays, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, heated front seats, keyless go and a powered tailgate.
For an alternative review of the Mercedes B-Class, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingIt’s not a proper MPV, but the Mercedes B-Class boasts a spacious and classy cabin
- 2Engines, performance and driveAlmost as good to drive as the A-Class, but engine options are limited
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsFuel economy is decent, but there's still no plug-in hybrid option in the UK
- 4Interior, design and technologyFull marks for the B-Class, thanks to a high-quality interior and an impressive infotainment system
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceLuxury saloon-like levels of interior space and a big boot are two B-Class strong points
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe B-Class has a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety score, but Mercedes’ customer satisfaction levels could be higher