From £20,530
Merc B is spacious, not sporty.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz B-Class

Change is coming to Mercedes’ small-car range, and this new B-Class is the first taste of it.

10 May 2005

Mercedes is trying to position the B-class as what it calls a ‘sports tourer’ and not, as most will see it, as a midi-MPV. Which is a shame, because the B-class would make a good MPV; despite having only five seats it offers good versatility.The B looks different from the A-class on which it is based – the squat front wings and longer wheelbase giving it a more planted stance. Interior space is impressive, particularly for rear passengers, and the materials are high-quality.The diesel engine is powerful, yet not as refined as you would expect, emitting a constant drone at motorway speeds. The 2.0-litre unit pumps out a respectable 138bhp, although the torque figure of 221lb ft trails rivals from Honda, VW and Peugeot. Mercedes claims a brisk 9.6sec to 60mph, but performance can feel tame, especially with the optional CVT ’box.Find a twisting road and the B is surprisingly agile, benefiting from a low centre of gravity. But there is a remoteness in the controls, particularly the steering, that doesn’t encourage drivers to press on.Measured as a ‘sports tourer’, the B-class delivers a mixed performance. It has good space, but insufficient refinement to be a great tourer; it is quick, but not involving enough to be called sporty. However, it works as an MPV But the real question is whether the badge and quality interior justify the price.Jamie Corstorphine

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK
  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals
  • Hyundai Kona
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Hyundai's funky-looking Kona crossover with a peppy three-cylinder engine makes all the right noises for the car to be a success in a crowded segment