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
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.
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.
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.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Mercedes B-Class is a premium compact MPV that majors in quality and comfort as well as space
- 2Engines, performance and driveIt's an all-turbo line-up for the B-Class, with its range including a 1.6-litre turbo petrol all the way up to a 174bhp 2.1-litre diesel
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsWith family use in mind, the B-Class has been tuned for frugality, no matter which engine you choose
- 4Interior, design and technologyCabin is lifted more or less straight from the A-Class, which means it’s well made and classy
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceAs much cabin space as an S-Class? Yes, if you’re measuring vertically
- 6Reliability and SafetyMercedes’ quality has really picked up since the firm’s early-2000s slump, but the model didn't do well in recent Driver Power scores