Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018) Review

Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
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.

+Loads of cabin space front and rear, excellent safety kit, good range of efficient engines, classy image.

-Firm ride on all models and worse on the sportier versions, inconsistent steering response, dash-top screen and infotainment system not the best.

Insurance Groups are between 13–27
On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure

The second generation of Mercedes-Benz B-Class aimed to be the premium manufacturer’s take on a small MPV or a beefed-up hatchback when it was on sale from 2012 to 2018. It’s a sort of ‘best of both worlds’ attempt of blending posh with practicality but without the huge price tag of the brand’s bigger SUVs. Mercedes isn’t the only brand to have tried this – the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is a similar concept, as is the Volkswagen Golf SV (or Golf Plus) but it is a bit of a rarity.

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.

There are three main trim levels on offer in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, with SE, Sport and AMG Line. Given the market that Mercedes looks to appeal to, the standard level of kit is good even on the basic model. Even the SE cars got toys such as a reversing camera, leather substitute trim, a seven-inch display and active parking assist.

Sport adds more tech and some visual upgrades while AMG Line is the one that brings more in the way of a body kit and lowered suspension, for those of you that want your people carrier to have a degree of sportiness.

For many buyers though, the B-Class will be too expensive compared to rivals that make do without a Mercedes-Benz badge.

Ask Honest John

I'm at a loss when it comes to options and trims. Any advice?
"We are both in our 70s and live in Somerset where these are very narrow lanes etc. We go to Cardiff frequently so motorway driving and a bit of city. We have had a Volkswagen Passat Estate, which was very comfortable and reliable with heated seats and the like. We're looking for a used car fairly that's not as long as the Passat Estate but has good boot space. We'd prefer a hatchback with parking assist and infotainment systems. It must be safe, comfortable and quiet with reasonable running costs. Up to around £20k. We've looked at the Volkswagen Golf but the boot is too small. The Golf estate is better but not exciting. BMW Series 2 Active Tourer seems possible but I’m at sea with all the options, trims etc. Any advice greatly welcomed!"
A BMW 2 Series Active Tourer sounds like an ideal choice. All models come with rear parking sensors and a very good 6.5-inch infotainment system. Look out for Technology Pack 1 if you'd prefer a reversing camera, and Technology Pack 2 for the bigger 8.8-inch navigation system. Heated seats are an optional extra, too, available as part of the Comfort Pack. You might wish to avoid the top-spec M Sport model as this comes with larger 18-inch alloy wheels and sports suspension which means it's a bit firmer and less comfortable than other trim levels. As an alternative, have you considered a Mercedes-Benz B-Class? The latest model will be in budget and it's a very comfortable rival to the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, with a superb cabin and plenty of space.
Answered by Andrew Brady
A seller didn't tell me the car's nav was broken. Should I worry about it?
"I want to get a good, used Mercedes-Benz B-Class diesel around 6-7 years old. On a test drive, everything was good. Only that the car's sat nav screen doesn't work and the seller didn't know about it. They said they will fix it. Should I worry about this issue in a long term? Can I ask fo the lower price? I want to get a car for things like going for a grocery shopping, dropping the kids off at school etc and I've found searching for a used car exhausting. There are so limited options out there. I want to wait but I also don't know if I will find a car like this one again. Thank you in advance."
The faulty sat nav is a big red flag. The seller would have probably known it was faulty. And he/she should have pointed this out to you (or got it fixed before advertising the car). The fact they said nothing and waited for you to spot it would make me wonder what else might be faulty on the car. I'd recommend finding another car for sale with a more trustworthy seller.
Answered by Dan Powell
Why has the battery in my car failed after just three years?
"What type of stop/start battery is fitted to my Mercedes B-Class and why has it failed? The car is less than three years old and the mileage is 28000."
It will be an 020 Bosch AGM Stop Start Battery S5A15, costing around £230. The usual reason for failure is not driving the car far enough often enough, though, as you rightly suggest, 28,000 miles in three years should have been enough to keep the battery fully charged and at full capacity.
Answered by Honest John
What is the best economical SUV for £12,000?
"We will be looking for a family SUV around April/May and can spend up to £12,000. Will prices come down after the new reg in March? Also, with the crackdown on diesel, should we be looking at petrol? Our annual mileage will be 10,000 - 14,000 of mostly short local journeys, a few 20 mile commutes and 100 mile weekend trips. We're looking for the most we can get for our money; parking sensors are a must, Navigation would be a bonus and fuel economy above 40mpg (if petrol). So far it's between a 2013 Mazda CX-5 SE-L or Nav 2.2d 150PS or 2.0 petrol (this is economical still), a 2014 Kia Sportage 2 1.7 CRDi (not keen on the sluggish petrol version), Mercedes-Benz B Class 2.0d Sport and a Honda CR-V 1.6d SE-T. Front runners are the Kia Sportage, because of Kia's long warranty, and the Mazda CX-5 because I've heard it's better to drive."
We won't know the new tax rates for existing cars until 9th March. If an additional tax is imposed on diesels then it will affect values of used diesels, but normally car prices rise through the spring until they level off in June/July. Repeated short local journeys not followed by much longer runs are likely to clog a diesel DPF and, anyway, a used diesel is already heading for DPF, EGR, Eolys and/or AdBlue heater trouble. You're better off with petrol. Try to find a Ford Galaxy or an S-Max with the 2.0 EcoBoost 200 or 240 engine.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2018) cost?