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.
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.