I owned and drove a wide range of cars, some crap, some good, some very good, some I liked, some I hated, some I did not care and still somehow, in the last decade, over and over again, got stuck with one brand that I could not get away from it.
A decade ago, just decided to change my car, and wondering what is next. I was very undecided. By a coincidence, I went traveling to Austria where I got from Hertz a Mercedes B-class. That was around 2008 or so. Even that I like cars in general, I just not even knew that such a model existed. As it looked like an A-class but an exploded one, I never been able to really pay attention and notice the difference. Somehow it slipped away under my radar. Never heard off, never seen it coming. Then got surprised. Small car outside, very big car inside. I am kind of tall (190 cm), but no problem with that, still plenty of space in front and in the back for me, plenty of space in the trunk, looked like a very convenient small but actually big family car. Later realized that it was in a class of it's own with no rival at that time: Sport Tourer.
Since that moment, I got hooked. Wasn't my first Mercedes that I drove ether, still it is quite hard to give reasons why I would get only the Mercedes from that moment on and I would pretty much fail to give a clear reason as there is not one thing that I can put my finger on, but then I can find many reasons why I can't go away from the brand.
Let me explain it a little bit. In Mercedes, everything is where you expect to be. If it is not there, then it is somewhere else, more convenient and more logical than any other place that was used before. Anything that the car have, can be used straight away, very intuitive, no need to read any line of any manual whatsoever. Of course you don't even notice this. I mean all is so well done that you just don't notice anything until you sit in a different brand and you struggle to do basic things in it. That's the moment when you just start to realize how transparent everything is in a Mercedes and how upside down are many other brands.
Somehow I got hooked, not even today can figure out why, so as a next move I just purchased one for the family use. It was a B180 CDI with manual gear box and 104 HP with SportPack. Good enough. Then few years later, I liked it so much that could not go away from it, so I replaced with B200 CDI, but this time with CVT automatic gearbox and 140 HP. A little better.
After so much time with practically the same car (please, at least color was slightly different), went to look for a replacement, one more time. Checked the BMW X1, checked Mercedes E-class and GLK and some other brands and somehow not happy for various reasons, over and over again, came back to look to the same thing: B-class Mercedes.
Still there was a dilemma to solve as the B-class generation was replaced by a totally new redesigned car that would have nothing from the old one. Went to see it, not really eye catching, the older model was more "different", taller, muscular, unique, Mercedes look a like. In comparison the newer model looked more like a "normal" car, very normal one, with nothing unusual, then I just decided to give it a go and went for the B220 CDI, 170 HP, double clutch automatic gear box, floppy pedals.
How the car goes? Well, goes like a Mercedes. All things are in the right place and doing the right thing but, some things are not that right so are not doing the right thing anymore. Or is doing the right thing but for somebody from a different universe. I mean a very parallel universe where logic does not exist . Here I'm talking about the most annoying feature that a car can have: Stop-Start system. That is the most dangerous thing that can be placed on a car. I hate it from the bottom of my heart so first thing that I wanted to do to my car was to disable it. Guess what? Well, yes, you can disable it from the central console button but it will be reinitialized on the next start. It means that it will not memorize the latest state and then remember it on the next start. Unfortunately going over the car menus does not reveal any method to permanently disable it neither.
In practice means that each time when you start your car, you need to disable the "evil" by pressing the switch from the central console. Very, very not Mercedes stile and also it seems that even with zillion customer complaining about it, they still refuse to fix it. As a workaround, when pressing the break only a little bit, just before the car stops, it will not engage the Start-Stop but that means you can't use the "Hold" function. Also when using the "Hold" function and the engine stops, then the engine will start only when the gas pedal is pressed and not when the break pedal is released. That means you will have a very slow start all the time. Moreover, in intersections with no traffic lights, you might want to be agile but when you think that you have a slot to go in, then the engine stops, then slow starts then you missed the window or you ended up in a big crash. Huh, a lot of frustration went here on the "paper". I feel beter now that I said it. Still the evil is there. Not fixed. Grrrrr.
For those not familiar with the "Hold" function, in Mercedes, is a nice feature for automatic transmission cars, that will engage the break permanently if break is pressed firmly when stopping so that you don't need to hold your leg on the break pedal meanwhile waiting in traffic. Also if break pedal is firmly pressed when the ignition is turned off, it will engage the hand-break automatically.
Now you might think that this is the only "new" feature that comes along with the "all new" B-class. Well, there are some more.
Looking to the passenger seat carpet, meanwhile sitting on the passenger seat will reveal nothing, but once you put your head on the chair seat level, you will be surprised to see how small the carper is. I mean it just ends far before is able to cover the car guts revealing a lot of cabling and isolation under the glove compartment. Give me a break Mercedes. You are telling me that making that carpet 2 cm shorter is giving you a very well deserved extra buck per share? What could be the reason to finish the car in a such a poor way?
Then there is the gear box. I really like the dual clutch gearbox. It is very, very fast, not annoying at all at low speed or when cold. Sport mode very fair, very handy. Then comes the "manual" mode. It is called manual but I would call it idiotic-manual-to-automatic mode. Manual because is manual till the car is deciding that is not manual anymore. I'm not talking about "self-protection" when you try to kill the engine. That is ok. I'm talking about the moments when you are doing nothing. When you go in manual mode, it will stay in manual mode only if you change gears up or down. Only if you play with it. Once you stop doing that for about 5-6 seconds, it will switch to auto and then up-shift. Might look irrelevant, but imagine you are in the 4th gear, behind a long truck, waiting for a window to overtake, revs are up, then window comes, then you press the gas and then your car just decide to switch to automatic mode and shift up to 7th gear. Just visualize it. Do you feel it? Do you feel how you have been just screwed in that moment by some person that made the decision to implement such a stupid logic? Basically you have 170 HP that you can't use because somebody was thinking that automatic switching from manual to automatic mode, is a good thing. Not! It is not! Please Mercedes fix this one too!
Then the fuel-tank door refused to open (need replacement) , surrounding lights worked most of the time but sometimes not (some electronic module need replacement), light washer from the right light once out, refused to go in (need adjustment), front wheels break disks need replacement (after only 90.000 km driven), left mirror, when automatically unfolded in cold weather, is going over the edge basically goes belly up (need to wait to get the ice melted before will come in its right position) and list goes on and on. All of this where fixed under warranty but wondering once warranty is over how things will evolve and hom much gold would require.
After reading such a list, you might be thinking that I'm regretting the choice made with this one. Absolutely not. It is a very polished car. I mean a finalized car. Things that are working, are really working how they are supposed to, doing their job very well seamlessly.
Distronic Plus (radar sensor) for example. It is working at any speed from high speed to absolute stop, following the cars in front all the time or maintaining the set speed. Actually the system got me out of trouble few times by breaking for me to avoiding a rear collision so very well polished. Maybe the savings from the 2 cm carpet cut went in the budget for Distronic Plus and then it might make sense and I could live with it. Who knows?
Light sensor. Just works. Lights are always on in the right time at the right moment. Exactly when I would like to put them on (heavy rain or tunnel, or early morning or late evening) or the lights will go off exactly when I would like to turn them off. This is again compared with other cars that have a very arbitrary way to deal with it and you can see it on the road as many cars have no back lights on in some very heavy rain because the automatic light system is calibrated to engage only when is dark I guess.
Door locking. Just works. You don't even notice. Door locks automatically (configurable) and then also unlock themselves when you or any other need or want to go out from the car. No need to do anything. You don't even notice. All is happening seamless. I know, it is very logical but well, think about it how is working in your car, it might not be like that all the way.
Consumption as well is a decent one (average mixed roads 6.0l/100km) when I'm driving it and a very decent one (4.9l/100km) when my wife is driving it. Values are calculated and not the one reported by the computer. Computer, as always, is living in his own world that have nothing to do with the reality.
Overall, B220 is the top of the range diesel option but more comfortable to ride than the B250 AMG so if you can, go for it, you will be not disappointed. My 2 cents on this personal Mercedes saga.