Review: Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2019)
Very comfortable and relaxed to travel in. Lots of interior space in a reasonably compact package. Has new excellent MBUX system. High quality interior design and finish.
Styling will not appeal to everyone. Automatic in petrols can be hesitant at low speeds.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2019): At A Glance
In a world where SUVs have become the family car of choice for most people, it seems the days of the MPV are numbered. But if that's the case, no one has told Mercedes-Benz. Because the B-Class is now in its third generation and Mercedes is aiming it at a younger market.
In terms of the looks, it's not going to win any style contests, but what the B-Class does have is one of the best interiors around. Against the competition like the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and Volkswagen Golf SV, the B-Class has a much fresher and more appealing cabin.
There's plenty of standard kit, including navigation, smartphone integration and the new Mercedes MBUX system. This is a voice controlled infotainment assistant which responds to commands when you say 'Hey Mercedes'. Kind of like Alexa but on the move.
With a similar style to the excellent A-Class, it's not just the design that impresses but also the feel of the materials used and the quality of the finish. There's plenty of space too and it feels more roomy inside than you'd expect of a compact MPV.
The B-Class certainly creates a relaxing and serene environment to travel in, with comfortable seats, little wind noise and excellent ride quality. It's arguably more comfortable than the competition from BMW and Volkswagen.
Yet it still handles well with lots of grip and is surprisingly keen in corners with not much in the way of lean.
The boot is usefully large too and more than big enough to cope with what a family can throw at it everyday. The wide boot opening and low lip mean getting awkward things like pushchairs in the back is easy.
The cheapest model is the B 180 petrol, powered by a 1.3-litre engine (yes, Mercedes-Benz badging has reached peak meaningless). This four-cylinder unit may seem far too small for a car this size, but with 136PS it actually provides more than enough power to give the B-Class a good turn of pace when needed. Only a hesitant automatic lets it down but luckily there's a manual available.
There are also diesels, including the B 200 d which has a claimed average economy of more than 50mpg. This is a quiet and refined engine, that also responds eagerly to throttle inputs.
Currently there's no hybrid or PHEV models but expect that to change in the not too distant future.
What does a Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2019) cost?
Buy a used Mercedes-Benz B-Class from £16,930
Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2019): What's It Like Inside?
- Euro NCAP rating of five stars
Compared to its main rivals, the B-Class feels a step ahead. The interior is modern, well-finished and looks genuinely upmarket. Small MPVs may not be especially interesting, but the interior of the Mercedes makes this feel that little bit special.
It takes many elements from the A-Class including the neat circular air vents and the wide screen that sits across the top of the dash. The materials used all have a quality feel from the soft-touch materials to the piano black trim and the metal buttons (one of our favourite features).
It's not all style over substance though as the B-Class fills its brief as a compact MPV perfectly. It feels very spacious inside, more so than you'd expect from a car this size. It's certainly not as cramped as a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
Even very tall drivers will find a comfortable driving position thanks to lots of adjustment in the seat and steering column - more so than the old model - along with a high roof. The seats are quite flat yet surprisingly supportive and the fronts have an extendable under-thigh cushion.
There's equally good space in the back, much more so than the A-Class, which is ideal if you have toddlers in car seats or younger children with rear facing car seats. Here the flat seats are very helpful with the base of the child seat able to sit flush with the seat cushion.
You'd struggle to get three people in the back in comfort, the middle seat is narrow and firm while there's also a tunnel in the floor, meaning not much room for your feet.
On the plus side, the boot is usefully large and the low load lip and wide opening makes getting things like pushchairs in a doddle. From mid-2019, selected models will feature rear seats which can be moved by 14cm to vary the boot capacity between 455 and 705 litres. There's plenty of storage up front with big door pockets and a large central cubby between the front seats.
We really like the B-Class dash, especially when you get the large glass panel with two 10-inch displays - one for the instrument cluster and the other for infotainment. It's beautifully sharp and bright. What we don't like is that it's part of the Premium Package which costs more than £2250. If you don't go for this you end up with a black plastic panel with two smaller screens.
However, all models do come with the Mercedes-Benz MBUX system, a kind of built-in version of Amazon's Alexa. You can command it by saying ‘Hey Mercedes’ and asking it turn the air con down or the heated seats on for example. Although you could just press a button...
Standard equipment from launch (December 2018):
Sport trim line comes as standard with MBUX multimedia system with ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice activation, seven-inch cockpit display and seven-inch touchscreen media display, reversing camera, 17-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels, hard-disk navigation, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist, black grille, silver painted louvre and insert in chrome, DAB radio, Keyless-Go starting function, automatic two-zone climate control, LED high performance headlights and spiral-look trim with Artico and Fléron fabric upholstery.
AMG Line has 18-inch five-twin-spoke AMG alloy wheels, three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel in nappa leather, sports seats, diamond radiator grille with chrome pins and single louvre, AMG bodystyling and carbon-structure trim with Artico and Dinamica microfibre upholstery with red contrast stitching.
The optional Executive equipment line can be added for £1395 and includes a 10.25-inch media display, Parking package including Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC and front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats and mirror package which includes electrically folding exterior mirrors and automatically-dimming driver’s side mirror and rear view mirror.
The £2259 Premium package adds a 10.25-inch instrument cluster, ambient lighting with a choice of 64 colour, illuminated door sills, Keyless-Entry and a mid-range sound system.
For £3459 customers can opt for the Premium Plus equipment line which, in addition to the Executive and Premium equipment lines, adds electrically-adjustable front memory seats, Multibeam LED headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus and a panoramic glass sunroof.
The Driving Assistance package is available for £1695 – only in conjunction with the Executive, Premium or Premium Plus lines - and comprises Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Braking Assist with cross-traffic function, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane-change Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Steering Asist, Evasive Steering Assist, Pre-Safe Plus and route-based speed adjustment.
The £495 Advanced Navigation package can be added, only in conjunction with the Executive, Premium or Premium Plus lines, and includes MBUX augmented reality for navigation and traffic sign assist.
The Advanced Connectivity package (in conjunction with the Executive, Premium or Premium Plus lines) costs £495 and includes smartphone integration; pre-installation of digital vehicle key for smartphone; and wireless phone charging.
Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2019)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 (2019) like to drive?
- Engines range from B 180 to B 250 Automatic
When it comes to relaxed comfort and effortless progress, the B-Class is an ideal choice. It rides well, dealing easily with poorly surfaced roads while at motorway speeds there's very little wind noise for what is an MPV.
While it's no an SUV, it does have a slightly raised driving position, especially compared to the A-Class, which means better visibility when driving in town or parking. The near vertical rear helps here although all models come with a reversing camera as standard so you've no excuses...
In fact, the B-Class is very well equipped as standard, which goes some way to justifying the high list prices. This means even the entry-level model has Dynamic Select, which gives you different drive programs with setting options for the engine, transmission and steering.
In reality, we doubt many people are buying a B-Class for its dynamic prowess. It's much happier as a relaxed cruiser where you can enjoy the excellent ride quality. We think it's more comfortable than a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer or Volkswagen Golf SV.
That said, push it into a bend and it handles surprisingly well for an MPV, although your children in the back may not be so keen, especially if they're trying to drink a Fruit Shoot. But with good body control and plenty of front end grip, the B-Class will happily tackle corners.
The entry-level model is the B 180 which, despite the badge, is powered by a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine. This may seem a very small engine for a car like the B-Class, but with a very respectable 134PS, it's plenty powerful enough.
And although it's a small engine, much of the vibration and noise is filtered out when you're in the cabin thanks to good sound insulation. Work it hard however and you can't escape the not particularly pleasant sound it creates.
The B 200 uses the same engine but with power upped to 161PS and far more torque - up from 200Nm in the B180 to 320Nm. Both have the same claimed fuel economy of more than 50mpg but we think the B 180 has more than adequate performance and pulls with decent gusto when you need it to.
What lets both down however is the seven-speed automatic. The 7G-DCT is fine on the move but tends to hesitate at low speeds. We think you're better off sticking with the six-speed manual.
It means there's a second or so delay between when you press the accelerator and the power kicks in. When you're trying to pull out of a busy junction or roundabout, this is very frustrating and can be quite dangerous. It's a shame as the rest of the time the gearbox is excellent, with quick and smooth shifts.
You can also opt for the B 250 which has a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 224PS.
The diesel engines use a different eight-speed automatic which doesn't suffer from the same issues. The B 200 d and B 220 d both use the same 2.0-litre diesel engine. It’s quiet and refined engine with little in the way of tell-tale diesel grumble making its way into the cabin.
|B 180||-||-||111–127 g/km|
|B 180 Automatic||-||-||125 g/km|
|B 180 d Automatic||-||-||112 g/km|
|B 200||-||-||128 g/km|
|B 200 Automatic||-||-||126 g/km|
|B 200 d Automatic||-||-||115 g/km|
|B 220 Automatic||-||-||116–141 g/km|
|B 220 Automatic 4Matic||-||-||153 g/km|
|B 220 d Automatic||-||-||116 g/km|
|B 250 Automatic||-||-||143 g/km|
What have we been asked about the Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2019)?
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Is there any reason to buy a Mercedes B-Class to replace my Vauxhall Meriva apart from badge prestige?
What Cars Are Similar To The Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2019)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Comfortable seats, Diesel engine, Easy access, Family friendly, Generous head room, Large boot, Refined ride, Room for a buggy, Petrol engine, Versatile interior and MPV.
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