MERCEDES-BENZ B250 4MATIC
It is a Benz, so look elsewhere for a bargain. The all-wheel-drive B250 comes with 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, tinted windows, LED interior lights (in 12 colours), synthetic leather trim, AMG body kit, lowered suspension, self parking, parking sensors, satnav and full-LED headlights. Warranty is three-years/ unlimited km and service intervals are 12 months/25,000km.
With its tall roof to maximise space efficiency, it is never going to be a style icon. This one looks a bit goofy, even with the bigger wheels. The ample interior space makes it a pretty handy hauler for young families. The updated interior design is contemporary Mercedes, with a well-designed layout and eight-inch infotainment screen. The man-made leather feels just as good as hide.
The B250 4Matic gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo (155kW/350Nm), enabling 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds. Fuel economy is 6.8L/100km . Mercedes has thankfully ditched the awful continuously variable automatic, moving to a regular seven-speed automatic.
The B-Class gets five stars from ANCAP and has no less than nine airbags. A reversing camera is standard on all B-Class models, as are parking sensors, semi-automated braking and blind-spot warning. Good to see features standard on all models, not restricted to topspec car. Outward vision is excellent.
Despite the rally car attributes (turbo four-cylinder and permanent AWD). it is more at home doing the school run. The B-Class is at its best in a straight line and moves along surprisingly quickly, even in slippery conditions. There is even a nice sporty exhaust note. The transmission shifts smoothly and quickly and is so much better than the old CVT. Cornering is nothing to write home about, but that is no surprise. The ride is on the firm side, but not uncomfortable.