The Mercedes Benz B-Class has been around since the late 90s, but the earlier models are now relatively irrelevant as hardly anyone is interested in buying a 20-year old European family car. Most family car buyers want a car that is as comfortable and as safe as it can be, and if you are that type of guy, you should focus your attention on the W246 and the W247 B-Class models.
The B180 is the entry-level Mercedes B-Class model that uses a 4-cylinder engine with relatively low power output. The B180 is also mated to either a standard automatic 7-speed box in the W246 or a dual-clutch 7-speed unit in the latest W247 B180.
Design-wise, the B-Class is in line with all the other entry-level Mercedes models which means that it looks stately and unmistakably Mercedes-like. The interior is vast and equipped with many family-friendly features, lots of storage spaces, and easy to get child mounting latches.
The W246 B-Class is not nearly as reliable as the W247 and the most common issues are associated with the transmission, the engine, the electricals, leaks, and suspension. The B-Class is a practical car that can be had for a relatively attainable price, especially for the W246 model.
Mercedes B180 – The powerplant
The W246 B180 is powered by a 1.6L inline 4-cylinder turbo engine with 122hp and 147lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox that is relatively smooth and seamless. The B180 comes in a FWD configuration while the 4MATIC AWD system is available as part of the options list.
The W247 B180 is powered by a 1.4L inline 4-cylinder turbo engine with 136hp and 147lb-ft of torque. It also comes with a 7-speed gearbox, but the one in the W247 is a dual-clutch gearbox. This means that it shifts gears even more seamlessly. FWD is also the standard while the 4MATIC option is available.
The W246 B180 is able to return up to 44MPG combined which is more or less the same as the W247. These power figures are not all that impressive, especially for a car as large as the B-Class. However, the B-Class is a family car which means that most people interested in buying one are not all that hard struck about power anyway.
Mercedes B180 – Design and chassis
The W246 B180 looks and feels like a Mercedes, but it has nothing on the W247 which looks and feels a lot more sophisticated. The B-Class has always followed a classic minivan exterior design which means that it offers a relatively high center of gravity which makes the car easy to get in and out of.
This design also ensures decent all-round visibility which is something you want from a family car. The chassis and suspension are tuned for comfort which means that even the AMG models are not all that dynamic. The W247 B-Class rides a lot smoother than the W246 even though the W246 is also comfortable.
Mercedes B180 – Reliability and common issues
The W246 B180 is not the most reliable Mercedes model out there. The earlier W246 models are the most troublesome ones while the later W246 models have many of these issues rectified directly from the factory. The W247 is a lot more reliable because it offers above-average reliability for a Mercedes.
The most common issues that tend to plague B-Class models are engine-related such as the injector seals, suspension-related such as worn out bushing that emit knocking sounds, leaks, and electrical issues that tend to plague many in-car accessories and comfort features.
Mercedes B180 – Value and practicality
The W246 B180 can now be had for a relatively low price, but it is better to spend a bit more for a later, lower mileage example if want to retain as much resale value as you can while also spending less money on maintenance and repairs. The W247 B-Class is the newest B-Class out there which means that it is available both from new and used, and both of these cost a lot.
Practicality-wise, you can not go wrong with a car like the B-Class because it offers acres of seating space and cargo space. These are designed with family use in mind which means that they are easily accessible with really good all-around visibility.
Is the Mercedes B180 safe?
The Mercedes Benz B-Class is indeed a safe car as both the Euro NCAP and the IIHS have rated the B-Class to be a superiorly safe car. If you want the safest experience possible, you will have to either buy a used, fully equipped W246 B-Class or go for a lightly used or new W247 B-Class as most safety features are part of the additional equipment lists.
These tend to include blind spot assist, lane keep assist, Mercedes Distronic Plus, automatic emergency braking, 360-degree cameras, collision avoidance, cross-traffic assist, and so on. You should be able to benefit from these for free if you plan on using the B-Class as a family hauler, but Mercedes being Mercedes is not going to just give that away for free.
How desirable is the Mercedes B-Class?
The Mercedes B-Class is one of the least desirable Mercedes models because it is essentially a family minivan. Minivans have never been bought by people who are dying to own them, but rather people who are forced to buy them by their wives. All jokes aside, they are not the most reliable Mercedes cars, but they do make a lot of sense.
Minivans are rational purchases, not emotional ones. If you want your family to have enough space in a comfortable and safe car, the B-Class is the one for you.
How long can a Mercedes B180 last?
The Mercedes B180 is able to last a long time, but only if maintained correctly. This means that these are indeed one of those Mercedes cars that can last for ages. It’s worth mentioning that the W247 is a relatively recent model which means that hardly anyone has accumulated all that many miles with the W247.
No matter the model you go for, if you maintain it, you are likely going to be able to use it for a long time.