The B-Class seems to have slipped below the radar for UK buyers.
Neither as small or easy to park as the A-Class nor as traditional as the C-Class, it’s an anonymous family member.
This is reflected in sales; last year, Mercedes-Benz sold just 5,339 in the UK, less than half the volume of the smaller model’s 11,081.
That it gets overshadowed by the A-Class is a shame.
The B-Class is better to drive, more stable and relaxed both at speed and around town, and more spacious.
For 2008, the range is reduced to two trim levels; the glass-roofed SE (expected to be the volume seller) and the Sport.
New models include hill start assist, adaptive brake lights, crash-responsive interior lighting and Bluetooth as standard. Blue Efficiency stop-start technology arrives in October.
It’s unlikely the 1.7% of buyers who opted for the Turbo last year will miss it from the new line-up.
However, the UK range is poorer for the absence of the natural gas-powered B170 NGT.
This pulls like the petrol-powered B170, but with lower emissions and a 50% improvement in fuel economy, according to the manufacturer.
Thanks to the sandwich floor in the B-Class, the gas tanks only cause a minimal loss of boot space.
With fuel now well above £5 per gallon and environmental issues rising up the agenda, it’s a shame the UK hasn’t caught on to the benefits of this technology.
Engines 1.5-litre petrol 94bhp; 1.7-litre petrol 114bhp; 1.9-litre diesel 109bhp; 1.9-litre diesel 138bhp;
Performance 0-62mph 9.6-14.2sec; top speed 108-124mph
Transmission 5sp/6sp man, 5sp auto
Efficiency 39.8-54.3mpg; 137-175g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k tbc
Rivals Ford C-Max, Volkswagen Touran