Mercedes B-Class (2011-2018) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
As much cabin space as an S-Class? Yes, if you’re measuring vertically
Mercedes often claims that the B-Class has as much interior space as an S-Class, which might be true on a technical level, but isn’t representative of the comfort on offer.
At just 4.3-metres long, the B-Class is barely any longer than a Ford Fiesta, but it packs a whopping amount of cabin space into a very small footprint. While this second-generation B-Class isn’t quite as clever, technically, as it’s predecessor, it still manages to pull of some pretty TARDIS-like tricks when it comes to bigger-on-the-inside tests.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
With 2,699mm wheelbase, the B-Class was never going to be short on cabin space, and thanks to its extra height (it’s a lofty 1,557mm tall), passengers can sit more upright to liberate even more room. So legroom, headroom and knee room are especially impressive, especially in the back. The ‘same space as an S-Class’ claim is probably accurate measured volumetrically but sadly it’s never going to be as comfy as the Big S.
That’s because the upright seating means you can’t slouch as comfortably as you otherwise might be able to, and there are issues with the driving position too. Actually, if you’re going to do long motorway journeys with a B-Class then you really, really need to spec it with the automatic gearbox, as that’s the only way to get cruise control. Without cruise, the relationship between the steering wheel, seat and lightly-sprung accelerator pedal is a recipe for leg-and-back-ache.
488-litres is right on the money for the class average, and the B’s boxy, upright shape means you can make the most of every litre. Fold the seats flat and you get 1,547-litres, which is a pretty remarkable figure for a car as short as this. You can also spec the car with some useful load-space items such as a rubber-lined tub for carrying loose, or dirty items such as sports kit, while there’s also a fold-out concertina sill and bumper protector for protecting the paint from being gouged by anything you’re loading into the back – a common problem with complicated baby buggies and prams. The EASY-VARIO PLUS system means that the rear seats can be slid back and forth to maximise luggage space, there’s a ski-hatch for long, slim items and an adjustable boot floor.
In this review
- 1Mercedes B-Class (2011-2018) reviewThe 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 space - currently readingAs 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