If you’re after a hatchback that’s fun to drive then don’t buy a Mercedes B-Class and that includes models in sporty AMG trim.
There are currently two petrol engines and two diesels to choose from in the Mercedes B-Class range, all of which give decent performance and are cheap to run.
There is also a choice between a six-speed manual gearbox and a seven-speed automatic. The automatic is recommended for urban driving thanks to its smooth operation.
The petrol B180 is the entry-level engine. It doesn’t lack too much in power – getting from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds, while the B200 is more than a second quicker. Both models can return fuel economy of more than 50mpg.
A BMW 2 Series Active Tourer runs rings around it in terms of handling
The B220d is the most powerful diesel, though most experts say that the B180d is the engine to go for. In ECO trim it can return 78.5mpg, but some may find it a little slow with 0-62mph taking 11.6 seconds.
The B220d solves that problem; sprinting from 0-62mph in a far sprightlier 8.3 seconds and not running out of puff until it reaches its 139mph top speed. That’s a decent performance hike when you consider the 2.2-litre model can still achieve fuel economy of 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 111g/km.
Put quite simply – there’s little driving enjoyment to be had.
Even if you don’t care about how a car handles you’ll be disappointed by the uncomfortable, jarring ride and noisy cabin at cruising speeds. Visibility from the driver’s seat also comes in for criticism as it’s quite restricted when reversing.
These issues may sound more than a little off-putting, but this isn’t a two-seater roadster so an edge-of-your-seat driving experience shouldn’t be expected.