Mercedes Bclass B180 CDI Eco SE (2014) CAR review | Road Testing…

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Mercedes-Benz B 180 CDI AT Base

Mercedes B-class B180 CDI Eco SE CAR review

By Ollie Kew

First

12 February 2014 14:40


If a pub asked you to name every currently on sale, would you the B-class? We all know the A-class is the hatchback, the E-class a commendable rival and that the S-class may well be the world’s best

But the B-class is simply a five-door, compact MPV, offering a alternative in theFord C-Max. Scenic and VW Golf Plus Tellingly, it’s the only car not offered as a go-faster AMG.

doesn’t sound that

Don’t judge a book by its The B-class is indeed a frumpy barely lifted by the hasty of some sweeping body But once you’re aboard, discover this is a lovely in which to ferry a family.

We’re driving the entry-level diesel for this test. The SE uses a 1.5-litre four-pot generating an unremarkable 107bhp and ft. As such, it’ll only strip the proverbial rice of its skin, eventually recording in 11.6sec. A

sking the B-class to maximum thrust is like the Duchess of Cornwall to run the 110m Far from quick, but maintaining throughout. It’s noticeably than the raucous 2.0-litre of our Mercedes A-class long-term car. or the 2.2-litre derv in the CLA 220.

Is the B-class too expensive for families?

It’s a Benz – you pay dearly for three-pointed star on the nose. B180 CDI Eco with a manual is the UK’s cheapest B-class, an entry-level ask of £22,950. How does compare with the existing benchmarks? Well, France’s funky Citroen C4 Picasso an equally dainty diesel is while the good-to-drive Ford Zetec 1.6 TDCi is £19,150.

The price premium is inflated by extras. Our test car, with its (excellent) ‘Comand’ centre, (gorgeous) heated seats and polished black ash trim, and a plethora of (unnecessary) safety aids, came out at

The cabin isn’t perfect – the control interface is plasticky and all but by the gearstick, while the parking handle remains a cheap-feeling Nevertheless, it’s a classy and until the new BMW 2-series Active arrives later in 2014, by far the sumptuous, well-trimmed MPV on sale.

Just how practical is the B-class?

about the worst gripe we with the B-class as a commodious car is its lack of cabin storage, due to no cubby hole and pinched bins. The high-roofed body for excellent headroom, and there’s aplenty for one six-footer behind or three children across the bench. The low beltline might do no for the B’s styling, but unlike more family cars, the B-class feel dark and claustrophobic as a result.

The rear pillar spot is a tad large, mitigated by the reversing camera. Like the and CLA, the B-class’s B-pillars sit the driver like a parrot on a shoulder, which can leave the and front seat passenger a little hemmed in, and struggle for visibility at junctions.

Plenty of assistance on the vast makes for easy access to the boot, helped by its back-friendly sill, which has a lower lip than a sulking toddler. The beats its rivals for seats-up but is an inferior van: its seats-flipped is some 200 litres smaller its more mainstream, cheaper

Is all that utility undone by a ride?

Mercifully not. on 16in alloys, the B180 like a proper family car soaking up bumps with to keep lull the children to and suppressing road, wind and noise to keep the little in the land of nod. Even at an cruise, bumping economy to than 50mpg, the bluff B along.

So, you’ve dropped the kids at the gates and need to make it to the on time. Is the B-class a willing

Surprisingly, yes. Perfectly steering, allied with a sculpted steering wheel the electrically assisted B-class’s much of the alacrity of its A-class and CLA It even stops well, and lolling through corners, the lofty driving pose.

The weak link dynamically is the manual gearshift, which is too and flimsy to have any real to engage with. It’s not a bad – just nothing to write about. But the alternative is a £1275 in your wallet and Merc’s seven-speed dual-clutcher, which to write about. To the dealer. In frustration. On balance, the cheaper, manual is better.

Verdict

Pricey it may be, but the B-class a family car for snobs. It’s a complete car – even in its slowest, form. Certainly, it doesn’t to be a forgotten footnote of the Mercedes

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