The B-Class is Mercedes' MPV offering, or as they like to call it, a premium compact car. It combines space and practicality with Mercedes' trademark premium quality. The second generation was launched in 2012 and offers great value for money, giving you the chance to get your family a Mercedes for a very decent price. A 2015 facelift brought the car's features right up-to-date, and as you'd expect from the German manufacturer it's well-equipped and well built.
As usual you get the defined, instantly recognisable Mercedes' front-end, giving the B-Class an imposing look. Sharp creases on the flanks and a low body position create a look that's more athletic than the majority of MPVs. The 2015 facelift added some subtle touches, including a revised grille, restyled bumper and the addition of LED day-running-lights to the main headlight cluster. All models come with at least 16-inch alloy wheels too, emphasising the B-Class' premium quality. MPVs aren't known for their good looks, but the B-Class does a good job in this regard.
The B-Class' driving position is comfortable and lower to the road than in most MPVs. Mercedes doesn't sacrifice its usual interior quality in this class either, with soft-touch interior plastics and a solid build. There's plenty of good equipment too, with all models coming with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, radio/CD player, air con and a USB connection for MP3 players. Optional upgrades include leather trim and COMAND Online with media interface, while the 2015 facelift added a new free-standing 7.0-inch multimedia screen.
An entertaining ride is never the highest priority for people-carriers, but the B-Class does a decent job in this regard. Standard models are composed enough for family journeys, with enough grip to tackle corners without much trouble thanks to a system called Torque Vectoring Brake. If you want something a little more dynamic, you can go for one of the Sport models, which provide a more dynamic experience. A good amount of torque means the B-Class is reasonably urgent too, and it's refined enough that you don't have to raise your voice to speak to passengers in the back.
It comes as no surprise that practicality is one of the B-Class's main strengths. Head and legroom are generous in both the front and back, and the boot size is very healthy, almost 500 litres, which is more than the vast majority of compact family cars. The rear seats can be folded down completely, boosting the load area to over 1500 litres, and there are plenty of useful storage compartments in the front too. There's also the option of the the Easy Vario Plus system, which increases the standard boot size to 666 litres (some might say that's devilishly large) and adds other useful features such as adjustable rear seats and a front passenger seat whose backrest can be folded forwards.
Engines and transmissions
A 1.6-litre petrol, the B 180, is available although diesels are much more popular on the used car market. These are available in 1.5-litre, 1.8-litre and 2.2-litre guises which are all turbocharged and use stop/start technology to save fuel. The turbocharging enables the engines to generate lots of pulling power at low speeds, meaning you get a smooth and refined ride. Plenty of manuals and automatics are available on the used market - the manual gearbox is slick and the automatics make the B-Class effortless to drive.
The B-Class gives families the chance to experience the German manufacturer's renowned quality. It's highly practical, so is suitable for family days out and big shopping trips, while the smooth engines and comfortable interiors mean an enjoyable driving experience can be had by all. If you're after a family car with a generous dusting of quality, the B-Class is a great option.Used Mercedes-Benz B-Class