ENGINES – For most users one of the car’s petrol engines should do the trick, as the school run or office commute isn’t going to demand hybrid-rivalling fuel economy. The engines are refined too, which will make sitting in traffic more pleasant than if you chose a diesel unit. Don’t be put off though, as the oil burners are better suited for regular long journeys.
EXTERIOR – It may not look like a conventional Mercedes, but the upright stance of the B-Class is perfect for its role as a five-door hatchback. It retains all the key styling details of its conventional stablemates though, and there’s no denying that it’s better suited to a busy family than a conventional saloon would be.
INTERIOR – Mercedes fans will feel right at home in the B-Class thanks to familiar switchgear and a similar premium cabin ambience. While it can’t match the overall quality of an E-Class, the Mercedes hatchback offers an above average experience and, crucially, a more flexible and spacious cabin.
DRIVING – Unlike its sporty rear-wheel drive Mercedes cousins, the B-Class leans more towards being easy to drive in a range of different environments. The raised driving position promotes good visibility, while refinement is above average. Keen drivers will need to look elsewhere though, and if you want to feel cosseted on the open road you might want to pass on the Sport variants.
OWNERSHIP –With its spacious and, crucially, flexible cabin space, the B-Class is a good choice for a growing family. High spec cars might not wear well in the face of toddlers and mucky hands and shoes - stick to the more durable cloth options for added peace of mind. Easy to drive and offering good levels of visibility fore and aft, city motoring will be largely stress free.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR – If it’s been family owned, there’s a chance certain cars will have led a hard life. Look for damage to cabin trim and upholstery, plus the predictable parking dents and battle scars associated with urban motoring. A test drive is essential to ensure everything works as described and that there’s no evidence of neglect. That includes a comprehensive service record, too.
2005: Mercedes launches its B-Class, a five-door hatchback offering a flexible cabin with more space than a conventional family hatchback. Petrol engines dominate the range, although large capacity diesel units are also available. Modest levels of standard kit are supplemented by a comprehensive list of cost options.
REASONS TO BUY – brand image, spacious and flexible cabin, looks, driving position
REASONS TO BEWARE – premium price tag, not for keen drivers, potential for a abuse in the hands of an active family
PICK OF THE RANGE – B160 SE
WHAT TO PAY
2009 09 11,385
2009 59 11,835
2010 10 13,170
2010 60 13,690
2011 11 15,235
Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.