- Prestige Interior
- Good range of engines
- Impeccable safety
- Poor ride quality
- Handling could be better
- Expensive when new
Mercedes' big, small family car, is much improved from the previous model
The Mercedes B-Class, first introduced in 2005, sits between the compact A-Class hatchback, and the C-Class saloon in the manufacturer's line-up. Whilst the first model received pretty poor reviews, the latest model, introduced in 2012, is a genuine contender in the family hatchback market. With a luxurious interior, huge amounts of practical space, and a much-improved design, the new B-Class is a good option for the small family looking for practicality, with a prestige badge.
Mercedes latest addition to the B-Class range, the electric drive, offers eco-friendly buyers the chance to run their car entirely on electricity.
Exceptional interior and lots of practical, useable space
If there’s one place where the B-Class really excels, it’s in its fantastic interior. The update leaves the B-class with a quality that lives up to the Mercedes badge. And, with acres of space, this is a great luxury family environment.
The dashboard of the B-class is a joy to behold. Taking design cues from the Mercedes SLS, the dash feels contemporary, featuring exceptional soft-touch plastics and an easy to use control system. There’s also lovely design touches, such as the circular air vents, that seem to take an influence from the AMG GT supercar. To find this level of design on a small family car is fantastic - and most buyers are going to be extremely impressed.
In terms of boot space, the B-Class offers a very impressive 486 litres of boot space, which is slightly more than the Ford C-Max. It’s also extremely useable. It has a wide opening and a small lip, which means that carrying heavy items into the back of the B-Class should be a doddle. There’s more than enough space here for the weekly food shop, or the family trip to the seaside.
Equipment levels in the B-Class are pretty impressive. The standard SE trim comes with iPod-connectivity, city braking technology, 16-inch alloy wheels, and soft-touch leatherette upholstery. Bump up to the Sport package and there’s also a majestic interior lighting system, with 12 different settings, so you can set the mood to suit you in what is an already exceptional cabin.
All in all, the B-Class offers an interior that is a pleasure to be in. There're not many cars in its class that come close to the genuine prestige of the B-Class.
Ride and refinement don’t live up to the prestige billing
However, one place that may leave you feeling a little disappointed in the B-Class is its ability on the road. Compared to some of its rivals, it feels a little under-developed. For a family car, the B-Class has surprisingly firm suspension, that makes potholes seem a little worse than perhaps they should, and even struggles on normal roads. There’s also a fair bit of body roll, which makes cornering nowhere near as sharp as it should be - although, to some extent, this is to be expected on taller family hatchbacks.
Suspension and Chassis
The upgrade to Sport spec does counteract some of the body-roll, tightening the car up through the twisty B-roads, but makes ride refinement even more bone-juddering. Steering is also lively, but not always in a particularly good way. The steering wheel never seems to be on the same page as the front wheels, which can be a bit disconcerting. Grip, however, is pretty good.
Gearbox options on the B-Class are as you’d expect. The most common found throughout the range is an impressive 6-speed manual, that’s both sharp and responsive. There’s also a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch semi-automatic gearbox, which is one of the best in its class, though only features on slightly more expensive models. Whichever gearbox your used B-Class comes with, it will be of a noticeably good quality.
Good range of engines, with an all-electric option
When you’re deciding on how you want to power your B-Class, you’ve got three options. There're the usual petrol and diesel powerplants, as well as a new all-electric option for planet-conscious buyers.
When most people are looking for a small family car, power is usually down the list of requirements. There is, however, an engine in the range that will satisfy even the hardest petrolhead's needs. The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the B220 4Matic Sport model produces a respectable 184bhp. This will power you from 0-62mph in a surprisingly rapid 7.5 seconds. For most people, this amount of power is going to feel quick, especially considering we're talking about what's essentially an MPV.
For the environmentally conscious among us, the B-Class Electric drive offers a fantastic all-electric option. Powered by an electric motor borrowed from Tesla, this engine manages to combine a power output of up to 179bhp, without producing any emissions. That means zero road tax and zero congestion charge. For those who don’t want to go all-electric, the diesel powered B180d SE produces only 104g/km of C02, which won't cost you too much in road tax. For the penny pinchers, this model also offers the best economy in the range (electric aside), offering 70.6mpg.
All in all, the range of engines on offer in the Mercedes B-Class is very impressive. Whether you value speed, economy, eco-credentials, or all three, there’s an engine in the range that will suit you down to a T.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests with good standard safety kit
Like most cars in its class, the B-Class reached the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It also achieved a quite remarkable 97% on driver safety, a result that few cars come close to, and which sets the B-Class apart as a class-leader. There’s also decent safety equipment as standard. There are no fewer than seven airbags, stability control, a driver drowsiness detector, and an emergency city-stop braking system. This is a car that is going to keep you and your family safe from harm.
Low running costs, so long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Mercedes B-Class is a very cheap car to run. Obviously, this depends on which model you go for, but throughout the range, there're good fuel-consumption levels. Even the thirstiest, the petrol powered B200, produces a more than respectable 49.6mpg. C02 levels are pretty standard throughout, with the Electric drive model being the exception which, obviously, produces none at all.
Insurance throughout the range is as you might expect. The cheapest in the range is the B180 CDI SE, which comes in at group 12, stretching up to the most expensive model in the range, the B220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport, which tops out at group 25. Both of these are very reasonable for such prestige packages, and you certainly won’t be paying through the nose for insurance.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Mercedes B-Class, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The much-improved Mercedes B-Class is a prestige large family hatchback that is sure to be an option high up family buyer's lists. Though the handling and ride quality aren’t the best, nearly every other aspect of the B-Class exudes the quality and experience that only exclusive brands like Mercedes can offer. A used B-Class is, therefore, a great, luxury, family option.
Buying a used Mercedes B-Class online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Mercedes B-Class for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used B-Class. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Mercedes online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Mercedes B-Class? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used B-Class, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Mercedes, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Audi to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.