Monday, August 19, 2013

Used Car Review - Mercedes Benz B Class (2006-2012)

Myk Belmonte invites you to check out this German wonder that can be yours for less.

2006-2012 Mercedes Benz B Class

As everyone knows it, the A Class is the entry level Benz that your money can buy. Those who find the A small for their needs and the C big for the garage and expensive for the wallet, well the B Class slots in the middle.

While the A Class entered its second iteration, the B Class was just launched in 2005 as an enlarged A but with the same engines (although some powerful ones are also available). Rather than marketing it as a plain hatchback, Mercedes calls the B Class as a "Compact Sports Tourer". The W245 B Class was first made available in March 2005 and production and sales ended in 2011, with some having it a little longer.

CATS Motors introduced the B Class in early 2006 together with the redesigned M and S Class models. Trim models brought in include the B150, B160 (introduced in 2010 to replace the B150), B170, and B200. Until 2010, the three models can be purchased except for the B160, which was introduced in that year.

Value and Costs
A compact sized vehicle with a Benz logo (genuine one) can be yours for between P900,000-P1,150,000. For peace of mind (this line gets overused when it comes to Mercedes Benz reviews), get a unit from the pre-owned selection of CATS which are backed up with a warranty and inspected prior to sale.

Compared with its compatriots, cost of maintenance is similar to them. Before driving off, check out the electronics function properly which includes the panoramic sunroof, traction control, and for the B160, the Active Park Assist.

Exterior and Interior
This is basically an A Class which drank Cherifer syrup and the result is an extended body while remaining compact in size. It still looks elegant, despite the ovoid figure.

Flexibility is tops, since the B Class has a rear bench that can fold 60/40 and the front seat has the capacity of folding forward to accommodate any long objects. As with most Benzes, interior quality is topnotch, you really get what you pay for - except that's in a second hand package. The silver and black interior houses the controls that are within drivers reach. All occupants get a reasonable amount of room and won't complain about getting claustrophobic.

There are three engines made available in local units and the most common one is the M266.920 1,498cc which has 95hp at 5,500rpm and 140Nm at 3,500-4,000rpm that motivates the B150 and B160. Next is the M266.940 1,699cc that carries 114hp at 5,500rpm and 155Nm at 3,500-4,000rpm moving the B170. Lastly is the M266.960 2,034cc which belches 135hp at 5,750rpm and 185Nm at 3,500-4,000rpm available in the B200 model. Both the 1.5 and 1.7 engines are much better in the city than the expressways due to their low displacement nature and the standard CVT robs power. The 2.0, on the other hand, is much better in both city and highway, thanks to the large displacement that can carry the heft.

Driving Impressions
No thanks to the heft (it has a 1,300kg curb weight), it wants to accelerate as if there's no tomorrow but it gives you a comfortable ride. While it shows its best on the open, changing lanes are best avoided and you get an SUV like oversteer. Small hatches of the less price, or even the diesel BMW 1 Series or Audi A3, would even out sprint this one. Parking would mean practice since it is a bit confusing to know the front ends.

You pay for the Benz badge and to flaunt that you are driving a three-pointed star car inside the city. The alluring points end there; with the B Class suffering a Porky Pig weight, quivers like an SUV, and the tendency of the engines to overwork. You want this because of the badge, but the Audi A3 is the great hatch for all around duties while the BMW 1 Series for the sporty minded.

The Good:
  • Easy to park
  • Has room in a small package
  • Stylish than the 1 Series
The Bad:
  • Mediocre engines
  • Heavy
  • Power sapping CVT
The Pick: B200

Engines: 1,498cc M266.920, 1,699cc M266.940, and 2,034cc M266.960
Power: 95hp @ 5,500rpm (1.5), 114hp @ 5,500rpm (1.7), 135hp @ 5,750rpm (2.0)
Torque: 140Nm @ 3,500-4,000rpm (1.5), 155Nm @ 3,500-4,000rpm (1.7), 185Nm @ 3,500-4,000rpm (2.0)
Fuel Consumption: 7-10km/L (city), 8-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 7-speed continuously variable transmission
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear rigid axle trailing arms with coil spring

Price (New): P1,900,000-P2,500,000
Price (Now): P900,000-P1,150,000
Rivals: BMW 1 Series, Audi A3, Volvo C30
On Sale: 2006-2012

CATS Pre-Owned - (02) 723-5808

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