Front-wheel drive hatchback. Six-speed gearbox. Turbocharged petrol engine. If you didnt know better, or had missed the title, you might think the car being described was a hot hatchback.
Instead, its the BlueEFFICIENCY-badged petrol version of Mercedes five-seat, MPV-esque B-Class, serves up 154 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque from its 1.6-litre engine, and delivers a combined 46.3 mpg.
Its less of a hot hatch than its spec sheet suggests and certainly doesnt look like one on the outside. Despite the Sport trim its still more of a people carrier in shape, and while it looks classy from the front, the swooshes down the side do little to alleviate its bulky profile. That said, it does look better in colours other than hard-to-photograph black.
Useful interior space both front and rear is the benefit of the voluminous shape, and you get a large boot too. All the interior materials have a quality feel, and the seats are comfortable – though we struggled to find a driving position that allowed us to use all three pedals comfortably at the same time.
You heard that right – three pedals. This B200 uses a six-speed manual gearbox, and it really doesnt suit the car at all. Aside from the odd driving position – a symptom of the long-travel clutch requiring the drivers seat further forward, too far to comfortably use the gas and brake pedals – we found it hard to execute a shift smoothly. Youd get used to it, but why youd bother trying when Mercedes makes some of the best automatics in the business, were not sure.
The engine itself is strong enough, spinning smoothly to the red line and happy to punt along at low revs. If you dont do many miles, its probably preferable to the diesels.
Ride and handling are average. It clings to the road fairly well and steers accurately, but theres no pleasure to be had from pushing it hard. We also found the ride too bouncy on undulating surfaces and too stiff over harsh bumps.
Price as tested: 27,770
Combined mpg: 46.3
CO2: 144 g/km
The Mercedes-Benz B200 is a fairly underwhelming car. Interior space aside it has little to really recommend it, from its so-so looks, poor ride and frustrating manual gearbox, to the lack of value.
Unless youre desperate for the space, wed rather recommend Mercedes own C180 BlueEFFICIENCY saloon
, which has similar performance, better economy, looks better and costs about the same. And unless a three-pointed star is vital, there are plenty of other cars that offer the same practicality for a lot less money.
If you absolutely must have a B200, ditch the leather upholstery and spend the money on an automatic gearbox instead.
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