2006 Mercedes Benz B-Class. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
By Chris Chase
In Europe, little cars reign large, and so most car companies, even those specializing in luxury vehicles, sell something small, in order to snag some of the market share. Over here, small vehicles with big-name prestige names are rare, but they exist. There’s the BMW 1 Series, and the Mini Cooper (Mini didn’t start as a premium brand, but being owned by BMW has essentially turned it into one), Audi sells its A3, and from Mercedes-Benz, we get the Smart Fortwo and the B-Class.
If you take the smart out of the picture, the B-Class is the smallest vehicle to wear a Benz badge in Canada. The B-Class is also one of very few vehicles sold in Canada that is unavailable to U.S. buyers, for reasons I’d assume have to do with our southern neighbours’ comparative apathy toward small cars.
Aside from the Smart Fortwo, the B-Series has the simplest spec sheet of any Benz product, with just two models, the B200 and B200 Turbo. Both use a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine that, obviously, is turbocharged in the Turbo version. Power ratings are 134 horsepower/136 lb.-ft. of torque in the B200, while the Turbo boasts 193 hp/206 lb.-ft. Five- and six-speed manual transmissions were standard in the base and turbo models, respectively, and a continuously variable (automatic) transmission (CVT) was optional in both.
2006 Mercedes Benz B-Class; bottom photo by Bob McHugh. Click image to enlarge
Running changes for most years were limited to trim and option changes, but the 2009 model got a facelift inside and out.
Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption ratings for the B-Series are 9.2/6.7 L/100 km (city/highway) for B200 with manual transmission, or 9.2/7.2 with the CVT, while the B200 Turbo’s numbers are 10.2/6.9 (manual) and 9.5/7.4 (CVT).
Consumer Reports ignorance of any of Canada’s specific models means they have no reliability data to offer on the B-Series, but there is some useful information to be found on the web.
This thread at BenzWorld.org lists a few threads about common B-Series problems. Among things worth knowing about, this thread notes that in early B-Series, there are holes under the leading edge of the hood that can allow water in, but don’t readily let it drain back out, creating the potential for a rust problem. Mercedes revised the hood design for mid-2007 models, so water infiltration is only a problem for 2006 and early 2007 cars.
This thread talks about B-Class corrosion, which appears to be widespread enough to warrant caution before buying a used version.