All-new in 2006, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class receives some standard equipment upgrades. The B200 receives 16-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels, leather-covered steering wheel and shifter knob, exterior chrome package, telescopic steering column adjustment, removable ashtray/storage cup, and heated windshield washers, while the B200 Turbo receives telescopic steering column adjustment, rearview and driver’s side auto-dimming mirrors, exterior “light and sight” package, rain-sensing wipers, removable ashtray/storage cup, heated washers and interior lighting package.

There are also three new option packages: the B200 can be optioned with a $1,500 Premium Package of heated front seats, rearview and driver’s side auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, front seatback storage net, interior lighting package, exterior “light and sight” package, and seat comfort package with manual lumbar and angle adjustment for both front seats, and height adjustment for the passenger seat. The B200 Turbo can be optioned with a $2,200 Premium Package of panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, electronic compass, and the seat comfort package. Both models can be optioned with a $1,500 Sport Package of sport front seats, sport suspension, man-made leather and fabric upholstery, 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels and performance tires.

The B-Class is available as the B200, with 2.0-litre four-cylinder, or as the B200 Turbo, which adds a turbocharger. The B200 uses a five-speed manual, the B200 Turbo a six-speed manual; both can be optioned to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Features on the B200 include 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats, tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped wheel, CD player with six speakers, eight airbags, four-way manually-adjustable front seats, air conditioning, power windows, heated mirrors, fog lamps and SmartKey system.

The B200 Turbo adds a cargo net, and the new-for-2007 options including auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, heated washers and interior lighting package.

The B-Class features an innovative “sandwich” double floor, which places the running gear below the cabin and provides a tall seating position, both for better visibility and improved side-impact collision protection. The hood is designed to meet European standards for pedestrian safety, while the engine is tilted, and moves under the passenger compartment in a frontal impact, providing the crashworthiness of a larger vehicle.

The B200 proved popular in its first year and should continue to do so; it features a two-stage cargo floor, relatively roomy rear seats, a nicely-finished interior and now has more interior features. The optional CVT acts and sounds much like a conventional transmission, but has improved fuel economy over a conventional unit. The B200 is expensive when compared to other “tall wagon” compacts, but it’s a relatively low buy-in for the three-pointed star, and is attracting a lot of people who might otherwise never get into a Benz.

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