The B-Class is built on the same mechanical underpinnings as the latest A-Class
, so it’s no surprise to find the interior is very similar to its hatchback cousin. It’s a stylish, classy environment with turbine-like vents and a widescreen digital display that houses both the infotainment features and the driving information, in place of traditional instruments.
The size of the screens will depend on which version of the B-Class you buy. All cars come as standard with the latest MBUX infotainment system, which includes an impressive voice control system. Simply say “Hey Mercedes” and you can control plenty of features without faffing around with buttons or the touchscreen. It’s one of the better systems on the market.
Build quality is largely good, but there are a few areas that feel a bit cheap, such as the stalks that operate the wipers and indicators on the left, and the gear selection on the right. The seats are positioned quite high, which apparently was the position favoured by customers of the previous B-Class.
Space is the B-Class’ strong suit, and a priority for the designers. There are plenty of cupholders, cubbies and door pockets dotted around the cabin to keep stuff in. The rear has plenty of room for three adults, although legroom will be slightly compromised for the person in the middle.
In terms of outright capacity, the boot is slightly smaller than that of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
. But, like in the BMW, each of the three rear seats can move forward and back independently, which makes for a more flexible load space. And when you fold them down, you get slightly more overall volume than you do in the BMW. The height of the boot floor can be changed to make a flat surface if you need it, too.
So far, we’ve only had a chance to try the optional adaptive suspension, which can vary its stiffness according to the driving mode you select via a dial on the centre console. In Comfort mode it absorbs all but the harshest bumps, although we found that on undulating sections of road, the body of the car will rise and fall as if it were a boat on a choppy ocean. That could have the kids feeling a little bit ill.
Although there’s a definite focus on comfort and practicality, Mercedes describes the B-Class as a 'sports tourer', which suggests a certain level of involvement behind the wheel. But while there’s an initial, taut feeling when cornering, the car leans over more than you’d hope through the corners should you try to push on a bit. It certainly doesn’t disgrace itself, mind you, and while the steering isn’t particularly engaging, it is well weighted.