Why buy a frumpy-looking people carrier when a taller, more handsome-looking SUV can offer a similar level of practicality? In recent years, it’s a question that a number of premium manufacturers have struggled to answer, with both BMW’s ‘sporty’ 2 Series Active Tourer and Volkswagen’s highly practical Golf SV selling poorly in the UK.
And yet, this hasn’t put off Mercedes from trying to crack the MPV puzzle – the premium German marque prioritising luxury, technology and practicality with its third-generation B-Class. The idea was to create the ultimate family vehicle, uncompromised by the limitations that a regular SUV or hatchback body can bring.
On paper at least, it all looks pretty convincing. There’s safety technology from the S-Class luxury saloon that should prove popular with safety-conscious families, a visually striking interior from the A-Class that should keep mum and dad entertained up front, and a raised-up and pumped-out body that offers better accessibility to the cabin than you’d get in a low-set hatchback – ideal for fitting child seats.
From launch, there’s a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, although there is currently no option of four-wheel drive, unlike the 2 Series Active Tourer. The B-Class is strictly a five-seater, too, putting it at a disadvantage against similar-priced seven-seat SUVs such as the Peugeot 5008 and Seat Tarraco.
Over the next few pages, we’ll examine how the B-Class drives, what it’s like inside and out and whether it’s worth buying over an SUV. And if you do decide to buy one, make sure to head over to our New Car Buying page to check out the great deals we have on all premium MPVs.