Mercedes has opted for a simpler and more streamlined range of model trims here than it did with the A-Class last year; there is no equivalent for the entry-level SE derivative of the lower-roofed A-Class, so the B-Class range kicks off with this B180 Sport test car, priced from a whisker under £27,000.

It looks like a bold strategy, given that the similarly powerful BMW 218i Active Tourer can be had for less than £25,000 and the equivalent Volkswagen Golf SV is cheaper still. Moreover, our sources suggest the B-Class will only enjoy a very marginal advantage over its rivals on residual value. This plainly won’t be a cheap car to own.

Richard Lane

Road tester
B180 Sport expected to hold its value fractionally better than BMW and VW rivals, though the benefit is very slight

Still, some of Mercedes’ typically well-supported monthly finance deals ought to make the car more competitive on the pocket than that list price might lead you to expect.

Most B-Class buyers will use one or more of Mercedes’ options packages to boost the equipment level of their cars. They start with the Executive Package (£1395), which upgrades your central infotainment display and includes a few added convenience features – but if you want digital instruments as well, you’ll need to go at least as far as the Premium equipment line (£2259).

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As for fuel economy, our test car recorded 51.3mpg at a steady 70mph. That's neither outstanding nor disappointing and matches almost exactly what we would expect a Volkswagen Golf SV equipped with the 1.5-litre TSI Evo engine to return. Those for whom long-distance economy is especially important, however, might want to consider this car’s hatchback sibling; our A200 returned 56.7mpg, thanks to its lighter mass and smaller frontal area.

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