What is it?
This is our first chance to try out Mercedes’ facelifted B-class on UK roads. It's an opportune time, too, with the model now facing new competition from the likes of Volkswagen’s Golf SV and BMW’s new 2-series Active Tourer.
Revisions to the B-class may look mild on the outside, being limited mainly to a new front bumper with larger air ducts, a revised grille and new light cluster designs. Inside, though, there’s a new seven-inch free-standing multimedia screen, plus numerous improvements to the fit and finish of the cabin.
Under the bonnet of this B 200 CDI Sport model is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, which develops 134bhp and 221lb ft.
Being a mid-range Sport model, there are also larger 17-inch alloy wheels and twin exhausts at the rear. The effect is minimal, but it does give this B-class a hint of sporting intent.
What's it like?
The style and cabin enhancements on the facelifted B-class have worked well, and both outside and in this feels like a premium mini MPV. It's certainly a higher-quality product than the VW Golf SV, and it feels even more well accomplished than the 2-series Active Tourer.
Seats are comfortable with ample legroom and headroom in the front and rear. The rear bench is fine for two adults – although three will be a push – and there are up to 1547 litres of luggage space on offer if you push the rear bench down.
Mechanically, though, the refinement of this B-class still needs some work. The 2.0-litre diesel engine is noisy at idle, and intrudes into the cabin on the move. There’s also a significant level of wind noise at motorway speeds.
For all its noise, though, the engine does at least offer decent levels of power. Mercedes says the B 200 CDI Sport can reach 62mph from rest in 9.8sec, and in practice, getting up to speed is never an issue.
The seven-speed automatic transmission fitted to our test car is capable but seems slow to change gears under load. As usual, it also offers the choice of Sport, Eco or Manual modes, the latter operated via steering wheel-mounted paddles.