Mercedes-Benz B200

CDI BlueEFFICIENCY

Sport

Mercedes B Class, interior
Mercedes B Class, side
Mercedes B Class, rear
Mercedes B Class, front

WHATEVER walk of life you enjoyed in the past there was a time when playing to your strengths was very much the thing to do.

It was a situation which could perhaps have discouraged Mercedes-Benz from down sizing to the extent that it does today.

But, back in 1998 the German car giant set off on a compromise between compact city car and fully fledged MPV leading to the A-Class becoming the very first small Merc.

This venture into the world of the small car encouraged the appearance of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class in 2005 and now there is an all new version of this high roofed premium priced competitor to the likes of the VW Golf Plus, Vauxhall Zafira, Citroen C4 Picasso and Ford C-MAX.

The second generation B-Class has been thoroughly re-engineered coming with a revised suspension set-up, new front wheel drive platform, frugal four cylinder engines and an extended range of safety features.

There are generous levels of standard kit on board including air con, air vents, ambient lighting, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, electric parking brake, electric windows all round, leather trimmed steering wheel, tyre pressure warning, a powerful CD/radio system, those ever useful locking wheel bolts, and the rest.

In addition there are driver safety features which include ABS braking with brake assist, an electronic stability program with acceleration skid control and 'attention assist' which monitors steering behaviour patterns and can help alert drivers to long distance fatigue.

Also on board is the Mercedes collision prevention equipment which delivers a visual and acoustic alert if the set safety distance from the vehicle ahead changes, while plenty of chromework adds quality even down to the silver tipped exhaust pipe.

On the road the new B-Class handles well whatever the surface at tyre level while Mercedes' progressively weighted electro mechanical steering proved responsive and manoeuvrable.

Powered by a user friendly 1.8-litre diesel paired with a smooth switching six-speed manual gearchange this B-Class Sport extends a certain eagerness as it turns into corners offering up much less body roll than its predecessor. There is plenty of grip and cruising ability at high speed is vastly improved.

The 136bhp diesel engine does its work well delivering a 0-62mph off the mark speed of 9.5 seconds while, assisted by a smooth running Eco Start/Stop function the BlueEFFICIENCY CDI set-up promises some 60mpg.

The ride, too, proved a pleasing experience with the revised suspension system giving the new MPV an assured feeling delivering some top class damping over bigger bumps.

In the B-Class the upholstery is top quality and the cabin also benefits from the use throughout of improved materials which give it a much more upmarket feel.

A high quality dash and some attractive new switchgear gives the latest B-Class a much more adult appearance.

There is plenty of comfort to be enjoyed in all parts with agreeable legroom - if you by-pass the transmission tunnel and a rear centre seat which provides a very limited amount of room. However, with all seats taken there is some 486 litres available for family luggage.

Overall, this Mercedes-Benz B-Class 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport looks great both inside and out, it is agile and extremely versatile and a huge step forward from its predecessor.

FAST FACTS

Mercedes-Benz B200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport

Price: £26,160

Mechanical: 136bhp, 1,796cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 64.2

Insurance Group: 21

C02 emissions: 121g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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