Review: Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018)
Loads of cabin space front and rear. Lots of safety kit. Engines are all frugal and even the most powerful deliver low CO2 emissions. All electric B Class from Spring 2015.
Ride too firm in all conditions. Inconsistent steering response undermines driving pleasure. Dash-top information screen could be clearer. 7G-DCT transmission has as many problems as previous model's CVT.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018): At A Glance
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is a development of the ideas originally thought up for the first generation of A-Class. This is why the B-Class has tall sides and single box styling, whereas the A-Class has developed into a more traditional premium hatch.
Those tall sides give the B-Class ample interior space for five, making it a plausible alternative to many MPVs and crossover rivals. Add in the appeal of the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star badge, a large boot and strong build quality and the B-Class begins to build a case for itself.
There’s a choice of two petrol versions, which both use the same 1.6-litre turbo petrol engines in two different outputs. You can also choose from a 1.5-litre diesel or two versions of the 2.1-litre diesel and the most powerful diesel is also available with 4Matic all-wheel drive.
While the variety of engines and premium appeal of the B-Class will attract some to its ranks, this Mercedes-Benz does not offer much in the way of driving thrills. The handling is at best average for the class and the firm ride is necessary to stop the tall-sided B-Class from lolling about too much in corners.
Where the B-Class does regain ground is the amount of safety equipment supplied as standard with the car. All B-Class models have seven airbags, a Collision Prevention Assist Plus system to avoid accidents happening in the first place, plus a driver drowsiness warning. Mercedes-Benz also includes automatic child seat recognition to deactivate the front passenger airbag when a child seat is fitted.
For some, the safety and practicality of the B-Class will be enough of a draw, even if Mercedes-Benz offers cars from within its own ranks that are more fun to drive. For others, the B-Class will be too expensive compared to rivals that make do without a Mercedes-Benz badge.
What does a Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018) cost?
Buy a used Mercedes-Benz B-Class from £12,150
Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
The moment you step into the B-Class cabin, you know you are in a Mercedes-Benz. Even if the higher-set driving position has more in common with an MPV, the clear white-on-black dials, trio of central air vents and stereo and heater controls all tell you this is a Mercedes.
Let your hand roam around the driver’s environment and every surface, button and control you come into contact with further enforces the idea that Mercedes-Benz has not skimped on the quality of the B-Class interior.
All of the dials are clear and uncluttered and the B-Class also comes with a dash-top display screen, which looks great. However, this screen is used to operate a lot of the car’s functions and this is achieved through a variety of menus, which can become quite trying when a simple press of a switch would have sufficed.
However, the driving position is good and affords an unhindered view to the front and sides of the car, while the raised position also lets the driver see over most other cars to gain early warning of any potential hazards. It’s not so good when you look over your left shoulder when changing lane or reversing into a parking space as the thick rear pillars obstructs the view. To counter this, Mercedes-Benz supplies the B-Class with a reversing camera that shows its display in the dash-top screen.
Other safety features packed into the B-Class cabin are seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knees, a drowsiness alert system to warn if the driver is getting tired, plus Collision Prevention Assist Plus. This last item alerts the driver if you are getting too close to the car in front and, if the driver doesn’t react, will apply the brakes for an emergency stop.
Automatic child seat recognition will deactivate the passenger-side front airbag when a child seat is fitted, which can save searching for the right switch to turn when juggling kids and car.
Space in the rear seats of the B-Class is more than generous to accommodate three children, or even three child seats. A benefit of the tall sides of the B-Class is it also offers more than enough room for adults in the rear seats and headroom is never an issue.
Behind the seats is a 488-litre boot, which is much bigger than the class norm for small hatches. This can be extended to 666 litres with the rear seats slid as far forward as possible on their runners. The only downside here, perhaps, is the B-Class is strictly a five-seater where many of its MPV rivals offer seven seats.
SE standard equipment includes: 16-inch alloy wheels, Audio 20 radio/CD player with USB port, Active Park Assist (auto steering), air conditioning, four electric windows, 'light and sight' package, comfort suspension, leather-trimmed steering wheel, Collision Prevention Assist, Attention Assist, driver's knee airbag, Becker Map Pilot pre-wiring and seat comfort package.
Sport standard equipment adds: (in addition to SE) 18-inch bi-colour alloy wheels, run-flat tyres, sports suspension, Artico upholstery, DIRECT steering (variable ratio system)' bi-xenon lights with LED daytime running lights, reversing camera and privacy glass.
Options Packs include: Exclusive Package (SE £1690, Sport £1210), which includes: Leather seats with topstitching, heated front seats, upper dashboard and door centre panels in Artico topstitching, black as high-gloss wood or burr walnut satin wood, moveable front armrest, rear doornsills in extruded stainless steel, 12v rear socket, velour floor mats, black or grey roof liner. Easy Vario Package (£600) includes: Front passenger seat backrest folds down, rear centre folding armrest with cup holders and through-loading, rear seats with fore/aft/rake adjustment, height-adjustable rear floor.
Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018) like to drive?
The B-Class is pitched somewhere between a full-blown MPV and family hatch. That’s a tough place to find yourself given how able so many other cars are that can do both. Unfortunately for the B-Class, this is not a line it treads with any great finesse.
For starters, the B-Class suspension always feels too stiff and unforgiving. It doesn’t matter whether you’re ambling through town or marking time along a motorway, the B-Class almost wilfully refuses to settle to a comfortable stride. The result is wearying combination of pitching and rocking motions that are far from ideal in a family car that is expected to carry children on a regular basis.
This firmly sprung set-up of the B-Class is largely the result of Mercedes-Benz trying to make sure the car does not lean like a tacking yacht as it goes round corners. While Merc has achieved its aim and the B-Class wends its way through a bend with impressively little loll, it is a compromise we’d be willing to see moved more in the direction of ride comfort than outright handling ability.
If you opt for the Sport version of the B-Class, you’ll find both of the above traits accentuated to the point where the car is simply too uncomfortable on some of the UK’s more disparaging road surfaces.
We could forgive the B-Class some of its firm ride if it were a more sporting car or it made it up for it by being a joy to drive. Instead, Mercedes-Benz has further hampered the B-Class with power steering that does not deliver consistent, regular feedback. What you get is steering that is often too light in the straight-ahead position that then quickly transfers to being too heavy as you progress into and through a corner.
While the B-Class is down, we’ll also give it a kick for its below par refinement. There’s too much wind noise and the tyres create a noticeable roar at higher speeds, which is even worse in the Sport model with its larger wheels and lower, even firmer suspension. The engines also get in on the act when they are worked harder, though in most conditions they keep quiet.
Luckily, all but the least powerful petrol and diesel engines are happy to work at lower revs and pull cleanly. The 122PS 1.6-litre in the B180 and the B180 d 109PS are fine around town and give good accounts of themselves for economy and emissions, it’s their more powerful sister motors that are preferable.
For petrol buyers, the B200 156PS version of the 1.6-litre turbo engine gives stronger acceleration with only fractionally less fuel economy but the same emissions. As for the diesels, the B200 d is a good compromise between price, running costs, consumption and emissions. However, it’s hard to see past the B220 d that delivers a better turn of acceleration than the B200 d yet offers the same official 67.3mpg average economy and lower CO2 emissions.
If you choose the B220d, you also have the option of Mercedes-Benz 4Matic all-wheel drive. It shares its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with the front-drive B220d, but economy of 56.5mpg and 130g/km CO2 emissions versus the front-drive model’s 108g/km means you really need four-wheel drive to make it worth spending the extra
|B180||42–69 mpg||9.0–11.6 s||105–132 g/km|
|B180 4Matic||42 mpg||7.5 s||156 g/km|
|B180 Automatic||46–51 mpg||8.7–10.2 s||125–139 g/km|
|B180 CDI Automatic||64–69 mpg||11.9 s||107–115 g/km|
|B180 CDI Eco||74–79 mpg||11.6 s||94–98 g/km|
|B180 d||69–71 mpg||11.6 s||105–107 g/km|
|B180 d Automatic||69–71 mpg||11.6–11.9 s||105–107 g/km|
|B200||44–50 mpg||8.2 s||130–132 g/km|
|B200 Automatic||44–51 mpg||7.9–8.4 s||125–139 g/km|
|B200 BlueEfficiency||46 mpg||8.6 s||144 g/km|
|B200 CDI||64 mpg||9.5 s||114 g/km|
|B200 CDI Automatic||63–67 mpg||9.3 s||112–120 g/km|
|B200 d||66–67 mpg||9.4 s||110–112 g/km|
|B200 d Automatic||52–71 mpg||8.9 s||105–106 g/km|
|B220 4Matic||42 mpg||7.5 s||156 g/km|
|B220 CDI 4Matic Automatic||57 mpg||8.3 s||130 g/km|
|B220 CDI Automatic||66 mpg||8.3 s||111 g/km|
|B220 d Automatic||52–67 mpg||7.6 s||108–109 g/km|
|B220 d Automatic 4Matic||49–57 mpg||7.6 s||130–131 g/km|
|B250e||-||7.9 s||1 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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