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Mercedes B-Class (2011-2018) review

The Mercedes B-Class is a premium compact MPV that majors in quality and comfort as well as space

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Price
£26,645 to £36,845
  • High-quality interior, versatile seating setup, efficient engines
  • No seven-seat option, expensive options, dull styling

The quality and comfort boxes are well and truly ticked, as are (somewhat unexpectedly) the dynamic and road-holding boxes. The B-Class has better steering and a far more soothing ride quality than you might expect. But the high price tag and lack of a seven seat option hold it back a bit, even if the available engine choice is usefully vast. The electric option is an interesting one, but it doesn't make as much sense as rival EVs.

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The B-Class Mercedes shares a front-wheel-drive platform and the same petrol and diesel engines as the smaller A-Class hatchback (it’s all technology that features on Renault, Nissan and Infiniti, models too). What the B-Class adds into the equation is space and a much bigger boot. In essence, the B-Class tries to exploit the gap in the Venn diagram where premium appeal, high quality, comfort and family-oriented spaciousness all converge.

The engines on offer are bookended by the least powerful 1.5-litre, 107bhp diesel and the most potent 2.1-litre, 174bhp unit, with turbocharged petrols providing alternatives on power and performance throughout the range. There is of course the option of the 176bhp electric motor to consider. Trim levels include SE, Sport and AMG Line choices, with Executive and Premium iterations of those available as well.

Mercedes B-Class vs Citroen C4 Picasso vs VW Golf SV

Customers only get the choice of one body – that of a tall compact MPV – which isn’t really a choice at all. It’s a long way from being one of Mercedes’ better styling jobs, but that said, it’s reasonably handsome considering the limitations of its class.

Besides, MPVs are much less about style and far more about space, and this is an area in which the B-Class really delivers: there is more rear legroom than in the bigger E-Class saloon, and the boot is enormous. The opposition – primarily the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, and more mainstream models like the Ford Grand C-Max and VW Touran – holds one advantage though: they all have seven-seat options, whereas the B-Class does not.

At least the B-Class can rely on brand recognition. Mercedes has been in the compact MPV game longer than BMW and a long list of satisfied customers may make it a better proposition from a buyer’s point of view.

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