2014 Mercedes-Benz B 250. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
I’m going to start with a little sob story. My comrades in areas like Toronto and Vancouver have access to monumental press fleets, and when something isn’t on the fleet, they can probably get it. Here in Edmonton, I don’t get access to fleets even half the size, and often availability of a manufacturer’s vehicles is limited or completely restricted. Enter some kind and generous dealerships in town, and occasionally private citizens, who come through for me when it comes to arranging for seat time in certain vehicles.
And so it was with the Mercedes-Benz B 250. My editor assigned the car to me, yet I had no way of getting into one. Luckily a local dealership came to the table and we were able to arrange for time in one.
Our visit to the dealership that day was two-fold. We wanted to grab the B 250 for an extended test drive, and we were going to buy a GLK 250 Bluetec diesel for our family. And so it is that I ended up in a B 250.
The mini-minivan look of the former B-Class is gone, and has been replaced with a slightly bigger, sleeker, more sculpted shape. The front end is unmistakably Mercedes, sporting an enormous three-pointed star in the grille, and another badge for good measure. The headlight pods look sophisticated, and the angry LED light bar eyebrows over the projectors are fantastic – they got a ton of appreciative comments.
The side of the vehicle gets a strong character crease which boldly angles up toward the back of the car – you can’t miss it. The rear end gets some slick LED taillights that remind me of Kia’s current look (in a good way), as well as a couple of meaty oval exhaust tips.
The B 250’s 17-inch rims look fine, wearing 225/45-sized rubber, but the optional Sport package that rides slightly lower on its wicked 18-inch rims really takes the styling up a notch. I don’t always like white cars, but I thought this car’s Calcite White looked very nice. While the styling won’t be for everyone, I happen to be a wagon/van/hatchback kind of guy and I thought the car looks great.
2014 Mercedes-Benz B 250 headlight & dashboard. Click image to enlarge
The B 250’s tall stance makes it easy to get in (and out). A surprisingly spacious cockpit greets you once you plop yourself into the comfortable, manually adjustable heated seats. I had plenty of headroom for my 5’10” frame even though the seating position is nice and high. Even my wife’s big hair found room to spare. The upper dash is sculpted out of one giant piece of soft-touch plastic and there’s a nice “Matrix” trim piece on the face of the dash, though it does little to break up the sea of black. As in many German cars, it’s all business in the B 250. The door panels are very nicely finished – every single surface is soft-touch, whether it’s plastic or upholstered with contrasting stitching. The fit and finish was exceptional. My wife agreed that it’s dark, but felt that it still comes across as luxurious and nicely appointed.
Ahead of you is one of the finest steering wheels in the industry. I love the size, the grippy feel of the Nappa leather and how the sculpting was perfect for any kind of driving. It has controls for the sound system, the phone and the driver information screen, which you’ll find between the two large gauges. I found the speedometer cramped and tough to read, and I usually relied on the digital speedo instead. The column-mounted gear selector (a la Oldsmobile circa 1970s) took me a few drives to get used to, but once I did, I appreciated the amount of centre-console real estate it freed up.
2014 Mercedes-Benz B 250 driver’s view, gear selector, centre stack. Click image to enlarge
Smack dab in the centre of the dash is a floating screen – as a matter of fact, it looks like it could be detached, but that’s not the case. It’s controlled by Mercedes’ intuitive COMAND user interface, using a rotary joystick button on the console. The screen handles the car’s media (playing from radio, CD, Bluetooth streaming, USB and auxiliary sources), phone functions, vehicle settings and the rear-view camera (which has handy moving trajectory lines to make your parking easier). The base sound system is excellent, though there’s a Harman/Kardon system you can upgrade to.
Below the screen is that mess of buttons that Mercedes has stuck with for a while. They allow for quick access to major stereo functions and there’s also a full numeric keypad. Thankfully the most-used stereo functions (power, volume and skip/back) are centered and easy to find. Below that is an automatic dual-zone climate control system.
I loved the ambient lighting hidden throughout the interior – it got a lot of positive comments from passengers and it was a hit with my wife and kids too. The dual panoramic sunroof is nice – the front panel tilts and slides and there are powered sunshades for both panels and I thought the circular air vents added a touch of fun to the interior.