Mercedes-Benz took a unique approach when the company introduced its most recent model into the South African market. The Mercedes-Benz B200 and its diesel counterpart were presented to the media in a virtual launch format. We didn’t get to sample the car at the time, but recently spent a few days behind the wheel of the B200 and share some of our findings with you here.

Click here to read our review of the Mercedes-Benz A250.

1) It is a far better looking than its predecessor.

It’s interesting how many examples one sees of the car you happen to be driving. Since we were in the very latest B-Class, we noted quite a few of the previous generation car on the roads. When compared side-by-side, the latest iteration is far sleeker and stylish, as opposed to the squared off nature of the predecessor The new (W247) car has many of the styling hallmarks seen on the A-Class, itself a stylish prospect.

2) There is loads of space inside.

For some reason Mercedes designers have given the B-Class an abundance of headroom. I didn’t try, but I am pretty sure that I could wear a top hat in the cabin, if I owned such a thing. The extensive volume continues into the boot that seems to continually swallow anything and everything thrown in. A square luggage area and low loading lip make it more accessible than many SUVs we’ve experienced. If you plan to move house the rear seats fold flat to increase volume to van-like 1 540 litres.

3) It boasts Mercedes latest man-machine infotainment interface.

The system referred to as Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) consists of a trio of interaction points for front occupants. These are a touchscreen, touchpad on the centre console (optional) and touch controls on the steering wheel. Voice control is another option, and if you happen to be discussing the most recent F1 Grand Prix simply using the word “Mercedes” activates the system. MBUX is also customisable and adapts to the user.

4) It has a small, but punchy engine.

Under the hood of the Mercedes-Benz B200, a B200d is the other option on sale at the moment, is 1,33-litre turbocharged engine. This lightweight unit produces 120 kW and is mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Peak torque of 250 N.m is available from as low as 1 620 r/min. The transmission is alert and responds snappily to throttle inputs. As a result the car feels peppy and quick. An unfortunate side-effect of the small capacity engine is that it can feel a little coarse at times, such as under hard acceleration when overtaking.

5) The ride quality could be better.

While the A-Class is aimed at young professionals and couples, the B-Class is meant to be a family car, as seen by its generous interior space. With that in mind, I can’t fathom why this car has such a firm ride. It also has the option to set up the car for a myriad of sporty driving options, which I feel is unnecessary for a vehicle that is supposed to be an alternative to an SUV or MPV. Though some may prefer the firm ride and handling prowess it brings, I think the B-Class should have a more pliant ride.

Model: Mercedes-Benz B200

Price: R 526 900

Engine: 1,33-litre, inline-four, turbocharged

Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch, FWD

Max power: 120 kW

Max torque: 250 N.m

Top speed: 223 km/h

0-100 km/h: 8,2 sec

Fuel consumption:  5,7 L/100 km