Test Drive: Mercedes-Benz B180 CDI image

The Mercedes-Benz answer to models like the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer is called the B-Class. It’s a premium MPV with an appealing design, a spacious cabin, good engines and enough “goodies” inside to make you feel right at home. Giving up on RWD on some models and adopting FWD instead and using the same platform for several vehicles, like the A-Class, CLA and GLA in this case, means a lower cost. But is the B-Class really good enough for a family with children and should you consider it? That’s what we’ve tried to find out in our review.

Engine and transmission

The tested car came in the 180 CDI version and besides the 1.5L Renault unit, the carmaker is also offering a 1.8L diesel. The unit is rated at the same 109 HP as its French version but the torque figure has went down by 10 Nm to 250 Nm. The unit is connected to the double clutch automatic transmission made by Mercedes which is really the only one you need. Power is being sent to the front-wheel drive but this being an MPV you shouldn’t have to worry too much about that.

Fuel consumption

Mercedes-Benz is stating that the B180 CDI is burning between 4.2L / 100km and 4.5L / 100km, depending on the driving mode but in the real world, the trip computer indicated just above 9L / 100km in the city after pushing the pedal down quite fast. Drive it normally and you will achieve about 7L / 100km in the urban environment, which isn’t that bad actually. On the highway, the family cruiser will return just over 5L / 100km but if you’re not in any hurry, the 4.5L / 100km figure is achievable, which is good to know if you’re on a budget.

The ride

The B-Class is acting like most MPVs on the market when it comes to driving meaning that it is comfortable enough to allow your children to drink their juice without having to worry that they will spill it and even if they will, the leather upholstery should have you covered. Despite being FWD, the B-Class is not letting the sensation that it will understeer anytime soon and if know what you’re doing behind the wheel, you can some fun with it, but don’t expect it to act like something it is not. This is quite agile on the corners and you will constantly feel what every wheel is doing on the ground.

Interior Design

If you have stepped inside a GLA, an A-Class or a CLA, you will feel right at home in the B-Class too, because most of the interior has been carried over. This is a downside when it comes to the “exclusivity” but a big “up” when speaking about the price. The tested car came with features like the Park Assist, Tire Pressure Monitor, automatic climate control with two zones, leather upholstery, leather wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, velour floor mats, rain sensing wipers, automatic xenon headlights and more.

The same copy of BMW’s iDrive is found in front of the armrest which is letting you control several functions of the display, including the navigation system, the audio, phone, the vehicle settings and all the other things which your are probably used to finding here. Mercedes’ system is working just like it should but it doesn’t have that “something” to make you feel special and if you are petrol head you will constantly remember the one from its main competitor.

Being a family cruiser has its ups meaning that you get a lot of storage spaces, cup holders and even a place to keep your mobile phone, especially if it’s a big one. All the buttons are in reach to the driver and you will get used to them quite easily, so German engineering wins again but the fact that they added the paddle shifters on the steering wheel and a Sport mode is not helping because we are still talking about a small engined, diesel family car.

Likes / Dislikes

The B-Class feels like a well-made vehicle, starting with its buttons and ending with the leather on the seats so hopefully Mercedes will drop the “not so reliable” tag from the mind of most car people. One particular thing I enjoyed was the seat and the black leather covering it, along with the low driving position, which isn’t exactly that low but the raised dashboard is giving you this impression. I also liked the fact that the carmaker is allowing you to see on the instrument cluster who is wearing the seatbelt in the rear and who is not and this should earn it some points to “mom” and “dad”.

I’m not exactly sure if the price is worth it because except for some better quality materials, this is offering all the things that you will find in a, let’s say, a Renault Scenic. I also didn’t like the noise the tires made and the noise of the air around the front windows when driving on the highway. But if you really want the 3-pointed star badges on it, the extra cash is worth it. Be sure to check out the competition before placing a deposit, especially if you are on a budget.

Tested Vehicle

2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class B180 CDI
Engine: 1.8L diesel (1,796 cc)
Power: 109 HP (80 kW) @ 3,200 – 4,600 rpm
Torque: 250 Nm 184 lb-ft) @ 1,400 – 2,800 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, double clutch
Dimensions: length 4,359 mm, width 1,786 mm, height 1,557 mm
Weight: 1,505 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 54L
0-100km/h: 10.7s
Top Speed: 190 km/h
Cheapest version – 23,195.00 EUR
Tested Car – 37,032.60 EUR

4.0 / 5