Bromont, Quebec – Mercedes-Benz Canada invited us to try out its 2015 B-Class recently and while it’s not an all-new version it does offer some updates over the outgoing model.

Described as a “face lift” year by Mercedes, the latest B 250 – with a starting price of $31,300 – is “modernized,” according to Mercedes-Benz Canada, by “reinterpreting the [B 250’s] functional design in the direction of refined sportiness.

I guess that means they’re trying to make it look less like a tall wagon and more like a sporty hatch, which is fine by me. Frankly, I’ve always found the B-Class looks a bit too tall and too narrow for my taste and presumably somebody at Mercedes agrees. The dimensions of the 2015 model have changed accordingly, the length increasing from 4,359 millimetres to 4,393, the width from 1,786 mm to 1,836, although height is up slightly from 1,557 mm to 1,562. So… longer, wider and just a tad taller does create a more appealing profile and a sportier character from all angles.

Complementing the tweaked dimensions, the B 250 exterior features a new front-end design that has the effect of emphasizing the width, and character lines at the side that also visually add length and soften the edges. It still seems somewhat physically challenged in front of the windshield, though. Could use a little bulking up, although the low-slung fenders and hood are surely good for aerodynamics.

Inside, heated seats and a media interface are added as standard equipment and new upholstery is available. Collision Prevention Assist Plus also becomes standard on all models. It’s a combination of radar-based distance warning, assisted braking and autonomous partial braking that’s designed to intervene if a rear-end collision is imminent (that is, if you are in a situation where you may collide with the car in front). A new multifunction steering wheel, instrument cluster and trim enhancements further refine the interior.

Perhaps the most important change for 2015 is the availability of the new 4MATIC all-wheel drive variant for the B 250. Torque is distributed as required from front-wheel drive to a 50:50 split front/rear on snow and slippery surfaces and in dynamic driving manoeuvers. The 4MATIC system adds $2,000 to the price of the B 250, a no-brainer, I expect, for Canadian B-Class buyers.

Also new this model year, the aforementioned media interface features Mercedes-Benz’s New Telematics Generation 5 (NTG5) Audio 20 system with 7.0-inch full colour display, or optional COMAND Online Navigation system with its superb 8.0-inch display. I can’t emphasize how superior these displays are compared with most of the competition.

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