Seán Creedon noted big improvements in the revamped Mercedes B-Class, which he tested for Drive last week
At every Mercedes event I have attended in recent years, the focus has always been on making their cars more attractive for young people. However, with the new B-Class, the carmaker seems to be pitching more at the family market.
When I initially sat into the revamped B-Class, however, my first impression was that younger motorists remained the target market, when I noticed what I thought was an iPad on the dash.
The ‘iPad’ turned out to be a multi-media console, complete with information on radio stations. It’s a cute feature, and if you were the owner of an iPhone you’d be able to use the console for e-mail access. If I were more of a ‘techie’, I would find it more appealing, and while I was happy to experiment with the radio, e-mails can, and always do, wait until I’m ready to properly read them.
The B-Class has been around since 2005 and the new version is a big improvement, with its enhanced headroom bound to attract taller motorists. With the 1.8 CDI Blue Efficiency model starting at €29,330, the latest B-Class is 11% lower in price than its predecessor.
Targeting the compact MPV market, Mercedes will be hoping to get ‘conquest sales’ from owners of cars like the Ford C-Max, Opel Zafira or Renault Scenic. Viewed from the front, the car boasts the distinctive Mercedes look, despite the absence of the three-pointed star. I’m told that the star is now a thing of the past, due to the numbers of them broken off by vandals, and the expense of replacing them.
Even from the side, the B-Class is lovely to look at, with its attractive sculpted lines and alloy wheels. While it’s a compact, but you couldn’t describe the B-Class as small. The newly designed lights cluster at the rear is another striking visual feature.
In the cabin, apart from the aforementioned radio control console, I was struck by how the walnut trim on the dashboard imbued a classy feel to the interior.
The model that I test-drove was coffee coloured, offset nicely by the cream leather seats. However, I would imagine these would be difficult to keep clean if you have children of any age to ferry around.