by Seán Creedon
Naturally I can access all my old car reviews on my computer. Often when I drive a revamped car I tend to look back and see what I said about the previous version.
So roll back the years then to 2012 and this is a sentence from my review of the Mercedes B-Class seven years ago.
“The B-Class car is aimed at the compact MPV market and Mercedes will be hoping to get ‘conquest sales’ from owners of cars like the Ford C-Max, Opel Zafira or Renault Scenic.”
Well there have been huge changes in the motoring trade over the past seven years and I am not sure where Mercedes hope to get ‘conquest’ sales from this time round. But the third generation of the B-Class is much improved from the previous versions and may appeal to families and younger fans of the Mercedes brand.
The B-Class has been a good seller since it was launched in 2005. Now the third iteration boasts much sharper exterior styling, a high quality and technologically advanced interior, excellent cabin and cargo space, along with new engine options also.
At every launch we attend in Mercedes’ Irish headquarters on the Naas Road, sales manager Ciaran Allen, keeps reminding us that Mercedes are constantly trying to attract more younger drivers to their brand.
My automatic test car came in an Iridium Silver metallic. Inside the controls were very familiar and at this stage I no longer make the mistake of using the stalk for the gear lever which is located the right of the steering wheel, thinking it’s the indicator lever.
The controls on the dash are very familiar, but at times there was a bit of a glare off a silver panel located just in front of the front seat passenger above the glove compartment.
The same type of silver was also used on the doors to brighten up the decor. The AMG sports pedal in brushed stainless steel certainly looked class.
Overall, black is the dominant colour in the cabin, but my test car had a sun-roof which naturally brightened up the interior decor. In the back there is room for three adults and it’s probably even more comfortable when you have just two back-seat passengers. The back seat passengers can then rest their arm on the divider and also use the cup-holders.
The boot is a decent size and you can very easily get more luggage space by leaving down the rear seats. Sadly no spare wheel, just the dreaded repair kit.
Prices for the B180 automatic version start at €34,395. The price of the AMG line 1.3 litre petrol version I drove with a few optional extras came to €42,646. With 136 brake horse power under the bonnet, I was never left behind at the traffic lights.
Standard specification across the entire range includes Active Lane Keep Assist and it was very useful as the car automatically brakes if you veer off your lane. There are plenty of expensive extras available.
The B-Class is a strange one, probably not as classy as other cars in the Mercedes range, but it’s still a Merc. When I was young, Mercedes cars were associated with Managing Directors of companies. But now you don’t have to be the boss of a company to own a Merc.
I think the B-Class will probably be driven by younger executives than MD’s and may also attract some ‘empty-nesters.’