Used Vehicle Review: Mercedes-Benz B-Class, 2013-2018

Vehicle Type

Good build quality, comfort, smooth performance, and overall flexibility.

Wagon / Minivan

History/Description

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class – with only the B250 on offer here – hit Canadian roads in 2012 (model year 2013), adding new looks, power, and features to the original model’s premise of compact spaciousness, versatility, and fuel efficiency. Uniquely, the B-Class largely comprised its own market segment as a compact minivan / wagon, though the Mazda5 is similar in some ways, and may be a worthy cross-shopping exercise for some shoppers.

The B-Class represents the German automaker’s approach to offering plenty of space, safety, and versatility to shoppers after a recreationally oriented hauler that’s practical, thrifty, and flexible.

Feature content included push-button start, Bluetooth, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, a driver computer, navigation, a back-up camera system, and more. Note that, according to numerous owners, the newer-generation B-Class should make a great upgrade from an earlier unit, with improvements on all fronts – including power, smoothness, interior build quality, and fuel efficiency.

Engines

Look for a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, running 208 horsepower. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission was included, and front-wheel drive was standard. Newer units from this generation were available with all-wheel drive (AWD), designated with the 4Matic badge.

What Owners Like

Good build quality, comfort, smooth performance, and overall flexibility were highly rated by B-Class owners. Maneuverability, outward visibility, and a good driving position were also commented upon positively, as was fuel mileage. And, despite that fuel mileage, the B-Class is almost universally loved for feeling frisky and quick when driven hard.

What Owners Dislike

Some owners wish for quicker reactions to their stereo system inputs, and a more consistent feel to the electronic throttle. Others take issue with the requirement to feed this B-Class premium fuel, too. Finally, some owners wish for a smoother ride, blaming the run-flat tires for higher-than-expected harshness on rougher roads.

Here are some owner reviews of the 2013–2018 B-Class

The Test Drive

Start off by scrutinizing the operation of the B-Class’s DCT transmission, driving the vehicle at light, moderate, and full throttle, and being on the lookout for signs of trouble which may include jerky shifting, slamming, or failure to respond via downshift to throttle inputs. Some owners have even experienced the transmission failing to engage reverse gear when selected. Note that the majority of B-Class owners have had no transmission-related issues, and that if detected, they’re typically the result of a fussy transmission control unit (TCU).

In many cases, transmission issues are electronic (and not mechanical) in nature, and require resetting the computer that controls the transmission or updating the software that controls it. Shoppers are advised to have a Mercedes technician confirm that that’s the case, if problems are noted, before purchase. Do not attempt to reset the TCU yourself by unplugging the vehicle battery.

During ownership, remember that the transmission in your used B-Class has regular servicing and maintenance requirements, outlined in the owner’s manual, which should be adhered to for maximum longevity. A full fluid change and tune-up at a Mercedes dealer is advised if the model in question has no service records available.

On the topic of ongoing maintenance, be sure to check the B250’s requirements for tune-ups, spark plug changes, and fluid / filter changes, and to have the prescribed work carried out not a moment later than outlined as per the intervals in the owner’s manual. Proper, on-time maintenance helps ensure long life from the vehicle, helps maintain performance and fuel economy, and helps maintain a high resale value. Note that models with 4Matic AWD may have specific servicing and maintenance requirements relating to AWD system components, which need to be followed as well.

Next up, assess the condition of the B-Class’s tires and brakes, as some owners have reported premature wear of these components. A squeaking noise from the braking system usually indicates that new pads and rotors are needed, or may be the result of an issue with the materials used in the brake pads. Ask a mechanic for help if you’re unsure. Many owners have had the brake system serviced, or new, revised pads installed to help stop unwanted sounds.

Sit with the vehicle in Park and turn the steering wheel fully, from one side to the other, quickly, a few times. Any “knocking” sound from beneath the vehicle during this exercise could be the result of a faulty or worn bushing in the steering or system.

For maximum peace of mind, avoid a model that’s been heavily modified by previous owners with engine management software “upgrades”, questionable suspension components, modified body parts and the like. Though some upgrades are safe and no cause for worry, others may cause issues.

Some owners have reported poor performance from the B250’s heater in extreme cold. This seems to be inherent to the vehicle design, and owners typically get used to bundling up a little and relying on the heated seats for supplemental warmth. Still, confirm that the used B250’s cooling system and all associated components are healthy before purchase, and triple-check that the cabin air filter isn’t overdue for replacement, to help maximize the effectiveness of the heater.

A few other notes and tips. First, if you’ll be pairing a Bluetooth phone to the B250, confirm that the vehicle and your handset are compatible, and then place a phone call, confirming good audio quality. If any issues arise, updated software (to the phone and/or the vehicle) may be the answer.

Next, assess all electronic equipment, paying close attention to the back-up camera, cruise control, the central screen, and all motorized seat adjustments. If any of the B250’s features aren’t working, now’s the time to find out. Triple-check the parking sensors, if equipped, as some owners have had corrosion-related problems with parking sensor wiring that can muck the system up. Other electronic issues may be caused by a weak battery, so start with a charging system and battery check if any problems are detected.

Finally, have the B250 treated to a diagnostic scan at a Mercedes dealer service centre before you buy. This scan can reveal a multitude of potential issues hiding away in the vehicle powertrain and other systems, whether or not a Check Engine light or warning is illuminated.

Here’s a list of recalls.

The Verdict

The majority of owners of this generation of B-Class report minor issues, if any at all. All in all, it appears to be a user-friendly, pleasant-to-drive, and highly flexible runabout, and a properly maintained unit that’s free of trouble signs should provide years of enjoyable motoring. A used B250 from a Certified Pre Owned (CPO) program is your best bet for maximum peace of mind.

Crash Test Ratings

N/A

Watch for unauthorized modifications. 2/22/2018 6:28:00 AM