Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012-2019) Review logo

Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012-2019) Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2011
      Body type
      MPV
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, EV
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Roomy, well equipped, often overlooked”

Best bits

  • Lots of cabin space for passengers and luggage
  • Great level of safety kit
  • Strong range of engines

Not so great

  • Firm ride, particularly on higher spec models
  • Noisy diesel engines
  • Infotainment system not up to that of rivals

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Mercedes B-Class 2012 front exterior

Overall verdict

Mercedes B-Class 2012 frontright interior

On the inside

Mercedes B-Class 2012 front exterior

Driving

Mercedes B-Class 2012 rear exterior

How much does it cost to run

Mercedes B-Class 2012 left exterior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Posh, stylish, practical, affordable? It’s tricky to make a car that covers every one of these, but the premium MPV, or beefed-up hatchback, is one way of attempting it. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is one of just a few cars that attempts to blend posh and practical but without the huge price tag of some of the brand’s bigger SUVs."

Mercedes B-Class 2012 front exterior

There are other brands that have offered a similar big hatchback/small people carrier type car – the BMW 2 Series and the Volkswagen Golf SV to name two – but they are a real rarity.


The overall idea is a development of what you saw with the original Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which means high sides, a single box styling and interior space for a family of five and all their stuff. This means it is something that could be considered by those who might be otherwise looking at the likes of the Ford C-Max but wanting something with a bit more pizzazz.


The high up styling translates to a raised driving position, which means you get a good view out the front and to the side of the B-Class. There are some thick pillars to the rear though, which makes the view over your shoulder a little trickier, but Mercedes handily chucks a reversing camera in as standard to help on that front.


The engine range comprises a selection of petrol and diesel options, with two of the former and three of the latter by the time this generation of B-Class came to the end of its life in 2018. The petrol options consist of a 1.6-litre engine in two different power outputs named B180 and B200, while the diesel range boasts a 1.5-litre B180 CDI and two versions of a 2.1-litre diesel – the B200 CDI and B220 CDI. You can also get the latter with Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system.


The lower powered models are ok for low-speed town life, but the more powerful options are the better bet if your life has more variety in it. If you have the choice of the lot then the B220 CDI is the one that will appeal to most – it has the same official economy and lower emissions than the lower powered B200 CDI despite being quicker.


Don’t expect much in the way of driving thrills from the B-Class, though, whichever engine you go for. The handling is average at best. To stop the tall-sided car from rolling around through the corners, Mercedes has fitted it with stiff suspension, which results in a firm ride that isn’t very family friendly.


One real bonus is the level of kit you get, which is generous – there isn’t a poverty spec version to be found in the B-Class range. SE, Sport and AMG Line are the three main trims, with even the basic model coming with a reversing camera, leather-substitute trim, a seven-inch screen and active parking assist.


Step up to the Sport model and you get more tech and visual goodies, while the AMG Line is the one with a body kit and lowered suspension.


The safety and practicality might draw some in, but the B-Class loses out in several other key areas. It isn’t that much fun to drive and that Mercedes badge makes it expensive compared to alternatives that offer the practicality without the premium image.


If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Mercedes B-Class (2019-) review.

Is the Mercedes-Benz B-Class right for you?

The level of kit in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class makes it an attractive prospect for those seeking value for money, but truth be told it will be the badge and premium finish that will appeal to others.


It doesn’t offer extra seats or particularly clever interior layouts, so its selling point as a family car is simply a big boot, sliding rear seats and a decent amount of passenger room. This doesn’t make it stand out in its class particularly, but it does make it a more compelling prospect than a standard hatchback.

What's the best Mercedes-Benz B-Class model/engine to choose?

If you’re going to go for a posh MPV/hatch then you might as well go for broke on the engine, too, and head for the most powerful B220 CDI. It offers more power and performance than the B200 CDI but the same official fuel consumption so it shouldn’t be any more expensive to run so long as you drive it sensibly. Brand new it might have been hard to justify the jump, but the gap may have narrowed with used models.


In terms of the trim, it is better off sticking to the lower end of the range and finding a model that has had a few options added to it. The AMG Line adds sportier suspension and bigger wheels that make the B-Class’s ride that bit less comfy. SE trim’s smaller wheels will be comfier to live with.

What other cars are similar to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class?

There hasn’t been a big push for posh MPVs from customers, so there aren’t many of them out there as direct rivals. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, and to a certain extent the Volkswagen Golf SV, are direct equivalents, but otherwise you are looking at non-premium models like the Ford C-MAX or small SUVs like Mercedes’ own Mercedes GLA

Learn more

Mercedes B-Class 2012 frontright interior

On the inside

Mercedes B-Class 2012 front exterior

Driving

Mercedes B-Class 2012 rear exterior

How much does it cost to run

Mercedes B-Class 2012 left exterior

Prices, versions and specification