A big part of what we try to do at AutoClique when we road test a car, is that we try to target that driver’s own car history. This way we can give you the consumer the right info from the right people. However, every now and then, if the team are all booked up, we have to shift some things around to make it work. The Mercedes-Benz B250 is not a car I would ever look at buying, and main reason is that it’s not in the market segment I normally look at or buy from. But that sort of info is not going to be of any use to you, so what we also aim to do in these scenarios is to put ourselves in your shoes, and look past our typical preferences. After all this car is not just bought by one or two people, and we need to make sure we cover all the details you want to know about.
The B250 was a surprisingly pleasant looking car, for what is practically a small van, or what the market is calling a Compact Crossover SUV. That to me just shows that no one knows what market it fits in. The model we road tested was the B250 sport which retails at $71,900 and was sporting 18-inch AMG 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels and an AMG body kit. And you know what, it works. I am standing on front of an MPV/SUV thing and I think it looks quite nice. And the more surprising fact is that I was pretty sure that this was not something I would have ever thought during this review.
So what do you get for all that cash, cash, cash. My god the B250 is a Tardis, I am 6’7” tall and I have never had so much head room in a car in my entire life. It was enormous in there. After getting in I quickly noticed that the seating position felt quite upright, like sitting in a wooden chair upright. It was not uncomfortable at all, but it was very different, and somewhat similar to a van, due to the seat height and position. I didn’t mind it at all, as it worked with the overall position, design and feel of the interior, which was typical Mercedes-Benz. Nice chrome and plastic finishes, mixed around a piano black inlay that swept across the dash. All in all, a pleasant place to be. Being one of the new line of Mercs, I generally bang on about the silly screen that they licked the back of and slapped on the dash in a last ditch attempt to add a media display, however I did like how they went about it here. It’s not the best integration ever, but it’s far better than the A and CLA class versions.
There were just three things that really bugged me about this car, and one of these I noticed immediately after getting into the car: the foot pedals. It took me a while to figure out exactly why; some adjusting of the car and how I was sitting in it didn’t seem to make a difference. The pedals were just very oddly placed and didn’t seem to lend themselves to a tall driver. I had to uncomfortably bend my foot back as far as it would go just to ease off the accelerator. Over the course of the week I found myself using the DISTRONIC PLUS, radar cruise control a lot just give the muscles in my foot a break. I reckon that if I was a foot shorter the pedals would have been perfect. It was a very odd design, and one I have never experienced before.
The interior as mentioned was very roomy, and as it was an automatic with the stick shift on the steering column, the cabin had quite a lot of storage space. The second thing that bugged me was a big ill timed surprise, the B pillar, which is the main pillar between the front doors and rear doors. IT WAS MASSIVE !!, and I don’t mean massive like your standard big B pillar, I mean massive like Ancient Greece, something you would find holding up the roof of the parthenon. What made this surprise ill timed, was that I found this out at an intersection, and due to my height, with the seat back a bit, this colossal structure blocked out the entire road I was trying to look down on. Another odd factor that resulted from the driver being almost too tall. I was however quite impressed by the sculpted steering wheel, something I did not expect to see. It was nothing to write home about, but it made the overall experience a little more sporty.
The third and final point is not like the other two, but more of a missed opportunity in my opinion. The dash had a large, crisp quality LCD display between the two dials, leaving access to quite a bit of real estate for information. However Mercedes seems to think that you would prefer to have more menus, only showing one bit of info at a time, rather then combine some into one screen. I could have the speed or I could have another with fuel range and consumptions. I could not have both the speed and range displayed at the same time. As I said, not a major issues, just a strange setup. Hopefully very soon all of the manufacturers will allow you to have some level of customisation in your displays, just like we do with our phones.
Apart from the above issues, the car was a doddle to drive, good amount of power for the size and weight of the car. The 2.0L turbo with 350Nm of torque left you plenty for power in reserve for overtaking maneuvers without having the engine ringing in your ears. For the entire week I had the B250 I found it quite easy to live with. Good boot space, good visibility bar that B pillar. One thing that I had noticed early on in the week was that the car cornered quite well, infact it cornered very well considering its shape and height. And this was not just at slow speeds, this was all the time. What I found ironic is that you don’t always get such good handling from cars that are targeted as sports or performance cars. Ever little thing just made this car a touch more enjoyable to drive.
But the reality clanging slap across my face hit me on the second to last day of the test, when I remembered that I had not really tested out top end performance. I had just been pottering around all week thinking that this car is made to do just that. So as I jumped on a motorway onramp, I went into manual and gave it the beans. Let’s step back for a minute here, to remind everyone that it’s no SLS AMG I am driving, if you drive one of those you expect speed, power and great sound which brings that silly grin to your face. The other face, the one I am now making is the one you pull when a car you expected nothing from, delivers on some of those things too. So you could imagine the look on my face as the B250 shot down the onramp, sounded somewhat like a highly tuned 4 pot rally car. I am almost angry at myself for not doing this earlier in the week, as I had suddenly awoken the other side of this car. The car’s overall performance, 6.7 seconds to 100km was not eye opening in the sense that this is the fastest I had ever been, but more like the feeling that you just found out your granny is a superhero by night; it was unexpected. This car now feel into the bracket of small, light, and the right amount of power to have some fun without breaking any limits. Just another feather in the B250’s cap, and even though I only got two days to test out its fun side, I reckon you could have quite a bit of fun with this car on the twisty roads.
What it’s up against.
This market segment is small, and does not have many competitors. This could be due to the fact that no one really knows what the market segment is called. Audi used to have the A2, which kinda fits in it, and Mercedes had their previous B class, but they have never appeared to become super popular, mainly due to their odd looks. Right now, the B class really has only one competitor, the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer. I have recently driven the BMW, and even though there is a big price gap, my money would be on the Merc, as it had a bit more of an enjoyment factor when driving it over the BMW.
|Brand / Model||Engine||Power||Fuel L/100km||Luggage Capacity||Price High to Low|
|Mercedes-Benz B 250||2.0 L Turbo I4||155 kw / 350 Nm||6.8L / 100km||501 Litres||$71,900|
|BMW 218d Active Tourer||2.0 L Turbo I4||110kw /330 Nm||4.3L / 100km||468 Litres||$62,900|
The good and the bad.
What do we think ?
It was a strange car for me to test, but I can see a lot of people liking it. Easy and comfy to live with, as long as you’re not over 6”5” as those pedals won’t do you any favours. The B250 has a lot going for itself, but there are still a few chinks in its armour. The price is quite high, which leaves you a lot of alternative options out there. But if you’re after a euro compact MPV/SUV thing, this one is definitely worth checking out.
Rating – Chevron rating 4.5 out of 5
2015 Mercedes-Benz B 250
|Vehicle Type||Front Engine, AWD Compact SUV Crossover|
|Starting Price||$ 71,900 NZD|
|Tested Price||$ N/A|
|Engine||Turbo I4 2.0L, 155 Kw , 350 Nm|
|Transmission||7G-DCT 7 Speed Automatic|
|0 – 100 kph||6.7 seconds|
|Kerb Weight||1465 kg|
|Length x Width x Height||4393 x 2010 x 1562 mm|
|Cargo Capacity||488 Litres|
|Fuel Tank||56 litres|
|Fuel Efficiency||Combined – 6.8 L/100km, 158 g/km CO2|
|ANCAP Safety Ratings||5 Star|