2013 Mercedes-Benz B 250
2013 Mercedes-Benz B 250
2013 Mercedes-Benz B 250. Click image to enlarge

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Mercedes-Benz Canada

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

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2013 Mercedes-Benz B 250

Miami Beach, Florida – We previewed the European version of the new B-Class in Austria more than a year ago, but at that time, the Canadian introduction date, pricing, and powertrain choices hadn’t been finalized. Now that the details have been released and we’ve had a chance to drive the Canadian model, we can confirm that the new B 250 is not only quicker, better handling, safer, and better equipped, it’s also a much better value. Starting at $29,900 (the same price as the previous B 200, which was discontinued in the Fall of 2011) the 2013 B 250 adds $7,000 worth of standard equipment (according to Mercedes) and offers considerably more horsepower and torque from its new standard turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, a new quick-shifting standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, improved fuel economy, a revised suspension with improved handling, a more luxurious interior, and more standard safety features.

The head of Mercedes-Benz Car Development, Dr. Thomas Weber, put it this way: “No model in the history of Mercedes-Benz has ever seen so many new developments in one fell swoop.” Considering Mercedes-Benz’ long history, that’s quite a statement.

The B’s all-new platform ditches the previous “sandwich” design, which incorporated a double floor that was intended for future fuel cell and electric versions of the B-Class. The previous B’s higher centre of gravity made the B-Class feel a little tippy when compared with other hatchbacks and many B-Class owners expressed dissatisfaction with its handling, according to Mercedes’ own customer surveys. That was a major impetus for the redesign.

Though it’s still a compact four-door hatchback, the new B 250 is 86 mm longer and 9 mm wider than the previous model, with a wheelbase that has shrunk by 79 mm – but apparently without affecting interior space. With a roof height that is 46 mm lower than the previous model and a corresponding drop in the floor height, the passengers sit lower to the ground and still have plenty of headroom in the front and back. However, the rear floor is slightly higher than the front floor, helping rear passengers to get a better view. As well, the rear seats are positioned further back, increasing rear legroom. The cargo area behind the rear seats is smaller though: 488 L vs 544 L. However, with both rear seatbacks folded down, the cargo area increases to 1,547 L from 1,530 L previously. Also worth noting is that the width between the wheelhouses is 40 mm wider and the loading height is slightly lower.

2013 Mercedes-Benz B 2502013 Mercedes-Benz B 2502013 Mercedes-Benz B 2502013 Mercedes-Benz B 250
2013 Mercedes-Benz B 250. Click image to enlarge

The quality of the interior materials has been given a major upgrade, more in keeping with what you’d expect of a Mercedes. All B 250s come with Artico (simulated) leather seats, high quality dash trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel with multi-function controls, and a new 5.8-inch centre screen propped up on the top of the centre dash with functions operated by the round COMAND controller on the centre console. Also standard is a 100-watt sound system with CD/USB/aux/Bluetooth audio functions, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone with text message display, single zone automatic climate control, power windows and locks, circular metal vents, split folding rear seatbacks, and heated mirrors. A major interior design change is the relocation of the shift lever from the floor to the steering column using Mercedes’ small wand shift lever, and the addition of an electronic parking brake activated by a button near the driver’s door. The new ergonomically designed front seats offer standard manual height and lumbar adjustments.

There are new safety features too: eleven standard airbags include a driver’s knee airbag and rear side airbags, standard Attention Assist, which warns the driver when the vehicle is drifting out of its lane, and new Collision Prevention Assist, which uses radar signals to determine when the car is approaching another car too quickly and emits visual and audible warning signals to the driver. When the driver brakes, additional braking pressure is automatically applied to slow the car more quickly.

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