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Mercedes-Benz B-Class 2020 review: B180


The new B-Class from Mercedes is being pitched as a family car, even though it’s a five seater hatchback. Because sometimes parents want small cars and they make really good second run-arounds too, if you have a larger one already.

To make doubly sure it was going to work for families, I tested it over a week with my family of four. 

I was in the B 180 - there is just one model in the range and you can spec it up with a number of packages on offer from Mercedes.

As a base model it costs $46,400, before on-road costs, and competes with cars like the Audi A3 and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. Here’s how it did over seven days. 

How does it look?

The car has a sophisticated exterior with rounded corners, but it looks very similar to the A3.

The Mercedes 'Iridium Silver' paint costs an extra $1190 and this particular silver is a standout on every Mercedes. The B 180 is no exception. It’s quite neat and compact and looks good on the road.

The Mercedes 'Iridium Silver' paint is an extra opt in cost. The Mercedes 'Iridium Silver' paint is an extra opt in cost.

The interior is much more special, with an extraordinarily wide screen and a completely digitalised dash.

Along with the circular air vents full of chrome spokes, it gives the feeling of being in a futuristic cockpit, and that feeling is amplified at night when the whole dash area lights up.

The interior features a completely digitalised dash.

The interior features a completely digitalised dash.

Cars are really starting to look more like we used to imagine the ‘cars of the future’ would. 

There are leather-look seats in this model, which I find a bit low-rent for Mercedes, but you can upgrade the seats if you choose to.

The steering wheel is leather and is nice under the hands and this model came with the 'Vision Package' for an extra $2490 which gives you a large panoramic sunroof which extends to the back among other things.

The whole centre console area is well designed with some high gloss accents and it all makes you feel good while driving. 

How spacious is it?

Well, my family of four fit. Granted, my children are aged five and seven so their little legs are always going to be fine, but even my taller husband didn’t have any complaints in the front seat, leg and head space was good and it didn’t feel too compact the way some small cars can. 

The backseat is spacious enough for taller adults. The backseat is spacious enough for taller adults.

I was comfortable in the back seat and there was so much room between my knees and the seat in front that taller adults and teenagers will also fit. 

The boot of the B 180 is quite big for a small car The boot of the B 180 is quite big for a small car

And the boot is quite big for a small car. On paper it’s 455 litres which is actually almost as big as a Mazda CX-5 (a mid-sized SUV) so it’s doing pretty well for a hatchback.

The CarsGuide pram easily fit into the boot. The CarsGuide pram easily fit into the boot.

I was able to fit the bulky <i>CarsGuide</i> pram in, and without it you’ll be able to fit groceries and school bags in. 

How does it drive?

The Mercedes B 180 has a 1.3-litre turbocharged engine, and when I say turbo I mean turbo.

But the issue for me is that it takes a few seconds to kick in, and when the turbo does get going the car suddenly lurches forward, so the driving experience is very lurchy.

Some people might like that - the power boost and the loud engine as it quickly zips forward - but for me it was too jerky and uneven, I prefer a smoother ride. 

The rest of the driving is quite good and uneventful, with enough power to get up hills quickly and coast along highways.

The B 108 is easy to park because of its size.

The B 108 is easy to park because of its size.

It’s easy enough to park because of the size and while the base model comes with a reverse and forward parking camera, the Vision Package on this model gives you a 360-degree camera, too.

They’re all very high definition so you can see clearly and know where you are while parking. It also comes with 'Active Park Assist' which can automatically park the car for you. 

How easy is it to use every day?

This model came equipped with a 'Seat Comfort' package which gives you heated and power adjustable front seats, operated with a seat shaped controller on the door handle so it’s very easy to see which bit does what. 

The 'Seat Comfort' package gives you heated and power adjustable front seats

The 'Seat Comfort' package gives you heated and power adjustable front seats

There are two cupholders in the front, a small spot for keys and phone and a large centre storage bin (especially so for a hatchback), plus bottle holders in each door.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest but miss out on their own air vents, although this is standard with hatchbacks. 

It comes with keyless entry and the boot opens and closes with a button on the boot which does make a difference if you find yourself constantly overloaded with things to carry. 

What’s the tech like?

It comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which means you plug in for instant connectivity with your phone’s main apps and can use voice control for navigation and to make calls/send texts. 

The Mercedes system also has voice control, which comes alive after you say 'Mercedes' and comes with Bluetooth connectivity, a digital radio and built-in sat nav.

The audio system in the base model comes with nine speakers and the sound is good. 

How safe is it?

The B 180 comes with a very comprehensive nine airbags, which means rear passengers get side airbags, not just side curtain airbags which is a great extra and I felt super comfortable driving my children around knowing this all week. 

Advanced safety features include auto emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist and blind spot assist among other things.

There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fit child car seats in safely.

What does it cost to own?

The Mercedes B 180 costs $46,400, before on road costs. The special paint is an extra $1190, black alloy wheels $1190, the Seat Comfort package $1290, and the Vision Package $2490.

The black alloy wheels are an added $1190. The black alloy wheels are an added $1190.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 5.7L/100km and it takes 95RON premium fuel. 

It’s covered by Mercedes-Benz's three-year warranty which falls short in the current marketplace. 


The Wrap

The Mercedes B 180 is a nifty car to drive the family around in and I didn’t mind the space at all, though there’s certainly no extra room on offer. It works really well as a second car and the boot was big enough for our needs, though if you want to go away it will be tight to pack everything in. The exterior looks good as does the interior, and it comes with extra airbags which is great for a family. 

I gave it a family rating of 7.5 out of 10 and my children also gave it a 7.5, they love the way the interior lights up at night. 

Would you buy a hatchback for your family? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Likes

Interior Design
Rear side airbags
Large boot for a hatch

Dislikes

'Lurchy' take-off

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.8

$46,400

Based on new car retail price