This is a family-sized hatchback/wagon that has been offered in Canada since the fall of 2005. It had originally been intended for the US market as well, but Paul Halata, head of MBUSA, didn't want to depreciate the brand image!
His loss, our gain: it is a 4.27 metre (168 inch) long car on a double floor sandwich concept, with a transverse front engine. It has ample room for four large adults, and will fit five adults adequately. Rear head and legroom is particularly generous. The trunk is massive at about 20 cubic feet, loaded only to the level of the luggage cover.
This car is based on the A-Class, the Mercedes that was re-engineered back in 1997 after it failed the "Moose Test". Since that time, all Mercedes cars have come with Bosch's excellent ESP stability control system, which takes the rough edge off the handling of taller vehicles. Unlike other conventional Mercedes cars, there is no "ESP Off" button on the dash, so they're taking no chances.
The ones sold in Canada only come with a two litre gasoline engine in two states of tune: 134 HP naturally aspirated and 190 HP turbocharged. The lower-powered one will run from 0-60 MPH in a little under 10 seconds, and the Turbo is under 8. Top end for the 134 HP car is about 122 MPH and the Turbo is limited to 130 MPH (the Turbo is not limited in Europe, and will do 140 MPH). A 5 speed manual is available, or a CVT automatic. Fuel economy for the manual 134 HP car is 25 MPG US in urban driving and a little over 35 MPG US on the highway.
EuroNCAP has rated the car at five stars in crash testing.
A really large sunroof is available (see photos), which lightens up the interior quite a bit.
The front suspension is by the ubiquitous McPherson strut; at the rear, instead of a torsion beam axle it has a so-called Omega axle, which is a variation on the good old De Dion suspesnion. It offers the benefits of independent suspension (ride comfort) and a solid axle (perfect camber and toe control).
Equipment levels are high, compared to Europe, where much of the standard equipment in Canada is an extra-cost option. Prices are substantially lower in Canada than in the car's home country, after factoring this in and deducting EU sales taxes. The base price here is $29,900 CAD.
Examples of base equipment:
6 airbags, including windowbags
multicontoured front seats (10 manual adjustments)
ESP, ABS, Brake Assist, Steer Control
three 12 V outlets, extra interior lights, including 4 reading lamps and footwell lighting
front and rear fog lights
automatic air conditioning
4 power windows
Radio/CD with ipod attachment
On the road, the electrically assisted steering weights up a bit, compared to at parking lot speeds, when it is very light. I tried a swerving lane change at 62 MPH with five aboard and it was done with aplomb - the ESP did not intervene or flash at me! The roadholding is good, but the base suspension is clearly tuned for comfort. The 109.5 inch wheelbase helps with ride comfort also. Ambient noise levels are very low, in fact remarkably so.
Acceleration with the base engine is subjectively brisk and more than adequate for any driving conditions I can think of. During a 30 minute urban/suburban test drive around Victoria BC, the average fuel consumption - according to the onboard computer - was under 8 L/100 km (30 US MPG), and this was in a car with the CVT automatic, which is a little less efficient than the 5 speed.
The interior has a high quality feel to it, and it does not betray any obvious evidence of cost-cutting.......fit and finish is excellent.
So having test driven this car, we decided to order one on August 18th. It should be here in about 2.5 months.....ours will be the same colours (interior and exterior) as the one below:
Congratulations on the purchase!
A nice review I have been longing to read. If only I had the budget to trade my Yaris LB for one............
The Yaris has Toyota reliability and better mpg numbers but the B Class has more safety and comfort features. I have been day dreaming about hypermiling a B Class (NB: not deep hypermiling, just drive very F.E. consciously) until I get the kind of mpg numbers from it similar to that of a Yaris. Then, I will have the best of both worlds. Yet, considering that the B Class needs premium fuel, my day dreaming will remain day dreaming for a while. I mean, how can I achieve the Yaris kind of F.E. with a B Class?
Having said all those, I still envy you, new owner of the B Class. Enjoy!
Thanks guys! It gives me something to look forward to in the fall!
I read the stickers on the fuel filler flap on both the B 200 and the B 200 Turbo when at the dealer.....very interesting:
The B 200 sticker says it prefers 95 RON, but 91 RON is the minimum. 91 RON is 86 or 87 on our RON+MON/2 rating standard. So the B 200 can be run on regular, or mid-grade if you are being cautious and yet frugal.
The B 200 Turbo fuel flap sticker said that the car preferred 98 RON but would work on 95 RON. So that means the Turbo could only be run on 91 RON+MON/2, but preferably better, like 93.
I hope to average in the mid-to-low 7.x L/100 km range (say 32 MPG US). That would beat the car the B is replacing by a fair bit.
About cost, well Mercedes just made these a lot more reasonable than they used to be, not only by getting the MSRP under $30K CAD for the first time, but also by adding the following - formerly options - to the base equipment:
telescoping/tilting steering wheel
storage nets on seatbacks
4 individual interior reading lights, with footwell lights
exterior chrome package
mulitcontour front seats (mega-adjustable)
heated windshield washer fluid
leather steering wheel and shift/brake hand levers
You can still get a Matrix for thousands less, but they seem cramped in comparison.
Used B Classes should be coming onto the market at 30% off soon.....
Once I get the car in a couple of months, I will exhume this thread and give further impressions.