Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - daveyjp

I’ve now had my B class 4 months so thought I’d provide an update because I know Avant likes owners reviews!

The car spec is a B class 160 SE in silver, black interior, 16 inch alloys, the only option are auto folding mirrors. It was bought as a 3 month old ex demo with 3,500 on the clock and I have covered almost 5,000 miles since then.

We didn’t need a full blown MPV with two seats in the boot we would never use and this vehicle suited us. It offers plenty of interior space, without it having a huge footprint so it swallows huge loads, but doesn’t need large parking spaces. When inside it does feel much larger than it actually is.

The rear legroom is very generous with no lack of accommodation even with the front seats set a good distance back. Front seats are comfortable and the high seating position gives a commanding view without dominating other road users.

The boot is large and has a false floor which can be set at two different heights. At the lowest setting it is flush with the spare wheel (spacesaver type), but pull it towards you and it lifts about 4 inches giving lots of room under it and providing a completely flat load area. The rear seat bolsters tumble forward and the seat backs fold flat. For extra length the seat bolsters can be removed. Some cars have an optional load system where all but the driver’s seat can be removed completely – I imagine this does turn the car into a van. Despite not having this I have transported a 204 cm long Ikea wardrobe in the car by reclining the passenger seat fully.

It’s a small thing, but the in boot ‘curry’ hook also doubles as a stop to hold the false floor back – very innovative.

The sandwich floor construction means the front floor is flush with the door cills which makes getting in and out very easy. Cleaning is also better as everything can be brushed straight out of the car.

It also swallows all our camping gear with only the sleeping bags on the back seat and the tent in the rear footwell – with a luggage guard it would all go in the boot. All the airbeds, pillows, blankets etc go under the false boot floor.

The car has standard auto lights, auto wipers, Bluetooth, variable power steering, auto fold mirrors, auto dipping rear view mirror, parking sensors front and rear, autoparking system (very clever, but strange when in use – look no hands!), aircon, ipod connection, low tyre pressure warning system. The steering is light – some may say too light, but it stiffens up as speed increases. Global opening and closing of all windows from outside the car is possible using the key fob – very handy on these hot summer days.

Despite being one of the cheaper Mercs quality has not suffered.

The audio headunit and switchgear is the same as fitted to much more expensive Mercedes and if you hunt for long enough you can find cars with lots of options fitted.

With just 95bhp the car will never set world speed records, but the 1.5 unit is willing enough if you keep the revs up and has not failed to keep up with traffic – I now spend most of my time in urban traffic so 0-60 isn’t I figure I need to worry about.

The car is quiet – the sandwich floor means there is a lot of space between you and the exhaust so this reduces noise through the cabin. It gets noisy at higher motorway speeds, but stick to 70 and it is a pleasant enough place to be. Gear change is like a rifle bolt – no sloppiness at all, the clutch is very light, so no aching legs when in traffic.

Over the mainly urban trips I’ve averaged 36mpg. Round town it gets mid 30s, rising to 40 if I can stay out of heavy traffic long enough. On rural trips 50mpg is possible and motorway sees low 40s if I’m sensible. VED is £130 a year.

The car isn’t a sports car, but it goes round corners well enough and with the fat tyres and soft suspension it doesn’t crash through potholes (the Sport version I tested with 18inch AMG alloys and hard suspension was terrible in this regard). Being slab sided you have to be wary in crosswinds.

The car has stop start technology which automatically turns the engine off once you stop, select neutral and take your foot off the clutch. None of the electrical items or braking assist are taken out so it is possible to roll down hill slowly without any power – once you get to 10mph the car bursts into life again.

The left hand drive wiper set up has finally been swapped to RHD so no complaints in that regard anymore. The only issues I’ve found are the wipers have no intermittent option. There’s auto or fully on with no sensitivity for auto setting as with Audis. It does mean on auto setting it can go from intermittent to full speed, to normal speed depending how heavy it is raining. I prefer an intermittent setting rather than having wipers do mad things as they are very sensitive and full speed is often used when it is hardly raining.

The tyre pressure system has already warned me of low pressure in a tyre which I found was due to a screw in a tyre. It doesn’t state which tyre so you have to check them all if the system is activated.

The car has used no oil and is due a service after 1 year or 15,000 miles whichever comes first. The vehicle is fitted with Michelin energy saver tyres which are a harder compound and after almost 9,000 miles the fronts still have 6mm left on them. The rears are hardly touched.

In many respects it reminds me of my Audi A2 - an excellently built car which hasn’t caught the imagination of the car buying public. As a result those who do want them can pick up decent deals on the ex demos MB dealers have in stock.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - Avant

Thank you very much, Daveyjp. I'm particularly interested as I had a B-class in 2006 and grew to hate it - but for reasons that are wholly absent from your model.

Mine was a B200CDi with CVT, which I chose to follow a much-loved Audi A4 Avant 2.5 TDI as it was £100 per month cheaper on a PCP.

Its worst faults were the noise and the constant drone from the combination of diesel, 4 cylinders and CVT, and the boneshaking 700 rpm idling speed which apparently couldn't be adjusted. And the LHD wiper pattern was more of an irritation than you might think.

Your report confirms my thoughts - if I'd had a petrol B-class I'd have been much happier with it. I echo your assessment of its many good points: interestingly if anything your car's fuel consumption - on a par with my current petrol Octavia - is better than my CDi.

Edited by Avant on 10/07/2011 at 01:16

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - daveyjp

Avant - I knew you'd had one a few years ago, so thought I'd give you a comparison. I've not had a petrol car for over ten years.

I did look for a 180 (1.7 engine) ) as mpg is supposedly slightly better, but there were none available in SE.

I did a 20 mile trip today averaging 20 mph, predominantly urban and it averaged 41 mpg - the blueefficiency system helped as there were quite a few red lights along the way.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - Collos25

Due to their very poor sales and quality issues the A and B class as you know it are being discontinued to be replaced by something that looks more like a proper MB.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - unthrottled

Don't mince your words, will you? I think MB have really improved their quality control issues albeuit from a low base; a friend's 99T A class was one of the only modern car I've seen that had serious rust problems.

I haven't seen anything in the MB stable that fills me with envy-but that is a very subjective opinion.

Edited by unthrottled on 08/07/2011 at 23:03

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - jamie745

I wouldnt turn down the SLK 350!

A while ago Mercedes thought they could make cars just as good by making them for less than half of the original cost but still selling them for the same amount, counting on the badge to make up the difference.

People still bought them, no arguing there, but is MB's rep what it once was?

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - gordonbennet

Trouble with MB's and other similarly expensive cars is that some people buy them expecting them to cost the same to maintain as a Mondeo, and seem shocked when they get MB dealer 4 figure bills. Others, who believe the bomb proof rhetoric, think they can neglect them like real Japanese cars, the ensuing mega bills soon disabuse them of that notion.

They've always been the preserve of the wealthy or those who know how or where to maintain well at fair cost well away from glass palace dealerships.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - jamie745

I think in the last 15 odd years things like easy access to credit and generally people having more money than they did in the 80s meant cars like BMW's and Mercedes were no longer the preserve of the rich, ordinary people could afford to get hold of one, it made these cars accessible to more people than ever before. As a result of that they've ended up common and now "lesser" cars are maybe more "exclusive" than they are. A BMW is not exclusive, for instance, you'll see one every 30 seconds out on the road. Personally i have nothing against common, i think it helps the used market, if theres 100 pristine Ford Focuses near you, you wont buy the 1 s*** one will you? It forces dealers prices down and to throw in extra's etc, its good for the used car market and for the customer in that way.

We're seeing alot of instances where people who bought these cars five years ago now selling them off dirt cheap with people afraid of high VED and fuel bills so if you can afford such a car now is the time to buy it when they're in low demand.

Ive never been to a main dealer and even my S-Type will be going to the same independant i take everything to.

Edited by jamie745 on 08/07/2011 at 23:41

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - Collos25

Please don't get me wrong I love MB while I am in the UK I am running a c class coupe evo my second one 2004 vintage and its superb,a bit heavy on petrol at around an average on the computer of 34mpg but I am getting a could payment for car use.Its a proper car unlike the A and B class which were the accountants way of trying to get mass market box into the MB range and it failed miserable. The German definition of a MB or BMW is it must have three boxes one for the engine one for the people and one for the suitcases any other configuration then its not a proper car.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - gordonbennet

''must have three boxes one for the engine one for the people and one for the suitcases any other configuration then its not a proper car. ''

Not just the two marques and not just Germany, add in RWD to confirm..Lexus realised this and added their proper cars to the list of few.

Other designs are motorised shopping trolleys for those disinterested in a pleasurable driving experience, or vans with windows for lugging larger shopping loads..;)

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - jamie745

The A Class was Mercedes Benz' attempt to wedge their way into the small family car market where the likes of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra etc dominate. But they tried to do it with something which was still expensive for what it was compared to long established rivals and not particularly well made. In that market of cars people will pay extra for something which is very well built, engineered and made to last or they'll buy it because it undercuts others. The A Class did neither of those things. So it ended up bought purely by people who wanted a Merc but couldnt afford a C Class.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - B class review - noose

Has any one had a problem with a faulty clutch in their B class?.

I had a new clutch at 34,000 miles and that has worn out again at under 42,000. neither my wife nor I have had this problem in the past. A previou Astra of hers did 80,000 with no clutch problems and I had a 5 series BMW which had done 120,000 when I parted with it on the original clutch.

Any ideas? Noose


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