Mercedes-Benz B-class review - Practical people-mover not Mercedes' best effort - Mercedes-Benz B-class prices, specs and rivals

A compact MPV for those that value the Merc badge

Evo rating
Price
from £21,825
  • Refined, spacious, classy, good electric version
  • Very ordinary to drive and most models dull to look at

Prices, specs and rivals

The vast B-class line-up is split into SE, Sport and AMG Line trim levels, though not all engines are available with all. SE cars, starting at £21,825 on-the-road for the petrol B 180 or £23,245 for the B 180d, come with 16-inch alloy wheels, Artico man-made leather upholstery, LED daytime running lights, reversing camera, electric windows all-round, air conditioning, Bluetooth and a tablet-like seven-inch display screen.

It costs £1125 to upgrade to Sport, bringing with it 17-inch wheels, auto wipers, a different rear bumper and interior enhancements such as ambient lighting and a nicer steering wheel.

The AMG Line cars look better again with unique body parts and stylish 18-inch alloys, a lower ride height and a much sportier looking cabin. Only available with Mercedes' 7G-DCT automatic transmission, they begin at higher prices than Sport models (from £24,245 with the B 180 engine), though confusingly if you were to specify a Sport model with the same automatic 'box it comes out £25 more expensive. Muddying the waters further are tempting option packages including Executive (on all models), Premium and Premium Plus (Sport trim and up). The 7G-DCT adds £1320 to the price of the equivalent manual.

Electric versions begin with the B 250e Sport, at £32,275 (£27,275 minus the government's £5000 plug-in car grant) or the more stylised Electric Art version at £32,570 (£27,570 after the grant). As with other B-class models, Executive and Premium upgrade packs are available at a cost.

The B-class's most obvious rivals are the BMW 2-series Active Tourer and the Volkswagen Golf SV. The BMW probably has the edge on the road, and the SV is most affordable, with a £19,255 entry tag.

Neither has an electric option like the Mercedes - the closest you'll get from each manufacturer are the £27,330 BMW i3 and £26,680 e-Golf, both post-grant. Of those, we'd choose the BMW, as much for its Buck Rogers styling as the fact it's actually quite entertaining to drive and has one of the best cabins of any car on sale. It's not as voluminous inside as the Mercedes though, which may deter some. Neither fades into the background quite like the Golf, which could be the most sensible choice of the trio.

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