2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Styling

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Styling
To Americans, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive probably won't fit into a clear vehicle class. It's a little taller than most hatchbacks and somewhat lower and more softly styled than many small utility vehicles—all with an extended roofline that hints of some van influence as well.

In terms of styling, the 'B' in B-Class might as well be for bland—at least from the outside. The B-Class has a shape that plots function over form, and looks a bit like a 4/5ths-scale last-generation M-Class from some angles on the outside. What it most closely compares to is the Ford C-Max, and it has a nice stance provided you’re not up close (when it looks a bit more egg-shaped). Side sheetmetal is sculpted in subtle but meaningful ways, while running lamps are a stylish bar-shaped LED array, and the headlamps are nicely detailed. In back, there’s a thin chrome bar at each taillamp, slanted slightly, while a stronger chrome bar running across the middle provides a more garish detail that we’d probably choose to do without.

The B-Class is built on essentially the same vehicle architecture as the CLA sedan and upcoming GLA utility vehicle. While the GLA is more low-slung and fashionable, the B-Class is more of a conventional people-mover—a non-outdoorsy crossover wagon, ideally laid-out for those who dwell mostly in the city and suburbs. Seating heights for the B-Class are a little higher, and the B-Class' 'semi-sandwich' floor layout allows a safe space for a large battery pack while only giving up a flat-folding cargo floor.

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive fits right in with the rest of the Mercedes-Benz lineup—but it’s definitely a bit blander on the outside than the new CLA, GLA, or C-Class.

Inside, the B-Class doesn't look out of place one bit in the Mercedes-Benz lineup; it has the same familiar layout, with a low instrument panel, elegantly trimmed with rounded vents and a 'floating' infotainment screen with the COMAND interface. It’s tasteful to a delightful level, with trims, materials, and surfaces that really live up to the luxury badge—and outshine those used in the Nissan Leaf, or the Chevrolet Volt for that matter.

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