The Mercedes B-Class’ interior is sensibly laid out and looks more futuristic than most alternatives, but you have to pay extra for those two huge infotainment screens
The Mercedes B-Class’ interior is one of the flashiest you’ll find in any MPV. The silver air vents and neat metal toggle switches on the dashboard look and feel like they’ve been borrowed from a Mercedes costing twice as much and they’re laid out in a neat, minimalist fashion that lends the B-Class’ cabin an undeniably classy feel.
You also get customisable mood lighting that’ll let you bathe the cabin in your favourite of 64 colours. It looks great but does produce some distracting reflections on the windscreen – especially at night. Pick the Style equipment pack, and the air vents come with illuminated innards, too
Elsewhere, you’ll find plenty of soft plastics and a huge brushed metal-effect panel that stretches across the dashboard above the glovebox. The door trims feel plush and yielding too, but you don’t have to reach too far down to find some hard, brittle plastics around the door bins. The indicator and gear-selector stalks also feel disappointingly cheap and the former makes an unpleasant clacking noise each time you use it.
The man-made leather seats feel just as soft and supple as the real thing though, and can be had in a racy two-tone black and red design – if you fancy. The dual-infotainment displays look more futuristic than anything you’ll find in alternatives and do away with conventional analogue dials – even in entry-level models.
Even in entry-level trim, the B-Class has a more stylish cabin than you’d expect to find in a practical MPV
Every Mercedes B-Class comes with a pair of high-resolution displays on the dashboard. One sits in front of the driver and replaces the usual pair of analogue dials while the second deals with the car’s onboard features, from programming the sat-nav to tuning the stereo.
As standard, you get a pair of 7.0-inch displays but these don’t quite fill their black plastic frame and look a little tacky as a result. Much better are the upgraded 10-inch units you get as part of the Premium and Premium Plus packages. They’re bright, sharp and easy to read and make the B-Class look much posher inside.
You control these screens using a touchpad on the centre console rather than a scroll wheel like in a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. This takes some getting used to and isn’t particularly intuitive to use when you’re driving. Still, at least the logical menu layout means you won’t struggle to find the features you’re looking for – even if there aren’t any handy physical shortcut buttons located up on the dashboard like in a VW Golf SV.
Unfortunately, you don’t get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard – these come as part of the optional Smartphone Connect package. Similarly, you’ll have to pay extra for the fancy satellite navigation system that superimposes directions over a live view of the road ahead. This shows a blue arrow pointing at exactly the turning you need to take – particularly helpful when you’re approaching a tricky junction or complex roundabout.
Less useful is the Mercedes B-Class’ voice recognition feature. It’s supposed to be able to understand commands as if you were having a conversation – such as ‘where’s the nearest petrol station?’ – however it’ll occasionally butt in while you’re chatting with a passenger and refuse to turn off.