Mercedes B-Class review - Interior, design and technology
Full marks for the B-Class, thanks to a quality-rich interior and an impressive infotainment system
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while it would be a stretch to call the new B-Class ‘beautiful’, it’s certainly more attractive than the old model. Gone is the frumpy, MPV-like exterior, replaced by something more cohesive and, dare we say it, sporty.
That’s no surprise, given the fact that the designers were told to make the B-Class stand out from the minivans of the world. The result is a car that’s lower than before, graced with shorter overhangs and a face that’s 100 per cent A-Class.
Which, in our book, is a good result. It’s 10mm wider than before, with this width accentuated by a pair of distinctive rear lights. Predictably, the B-Class looks at its best in AMG Line trim, thanks to a host of cosmetic trimmings, 18-inch alloy wheels and a distinctive chrome grille.
The positive vibes continue on the inside, with an interior that’s lifted almost entirely from the A-Class. The key difference is in the design of the instrument panel, which in the B-Class is a single unit, rather than the split bodies of the A-Class.
It’s dominated by five, high-quality, circular air vents and the display units (more on these in the next section). Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, front and rear armrests, multifunction steering wheel and an array of ambient lighting.
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The cabin vibe changes depending on whether you opt for Sport or AMG Line, with the latter offering the likes of stainless steel pedals, sports seats, flat-bottom steering wheel and AMG floor mats.
Three equipment packs are available: Executive, Premium and Premium Plus. In Premium Plus guise, you get all three packs for £3,500, with the kit comprising multibeam LED headlights, memory seats, panoramic sunroof, mid-range sound system, keyless entry, 10.25-inch instrument cluster, heated front seats and a choice of 64 colours for the ambient lighting.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system is fitted as standard and is a welcome addition to the range. In our opinion, it’s one of the best systems on the market.
The MBUX system can be controlled via a touchpad on the centre console or via the buttons on the steering wheel, but more impressive is the voice control. It uses a “Hey Mercedes” command, in much the same way you might use Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa personal assistants.
The majority of the infotainment functions can be accessed using voice control, including the sat-nav, phone calls or choice of music. You can even use indirect commands, such as “I feel cold” to adjust the heating. Over time, MBUX will adjust to your personal habits, such as your route to work and your favourite radio station.
Two 7-inch screens come as standard on both the Sport and AMG Line models, but it’s possible to upgrade to a 10.25-inch infotainment screen as part of the Executive equipment pack (£1,400) and/or the 10.25-inch instrument cluster as part of the Premium equipment pack (£2,300). The Premium pack also includes a 225-watt mid-range sound system.
In this review
- 1Mercedes B-Class reviewIt’s not a proper MPV, but the much-improved Mercedes B-Class boasts a spacious and classy cabin
- 2Engines, performance and driveAlmost as good to drive as the A-Class, especially in AMG Line trim
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsImpressive economy, especially from the diesel versions, but there's no plug-in hybrid
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingFull marks for the B-Class, thanks to a quality-rich 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 is likely to score well in crash tests, but customer satisfaction levels could be higher