2013-01-24

Mercedes Benz B200 CDI

I have driven cars by more than a dozen different car makers, and had very good impressions for Mercedes Benz cars. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and cost of the new B-class (cheaper than Lexus), so it was a no-brainer for me to get one.

I love the overall interior and exterior of the car. I like that there's nothing in the centre aisle, with the hand-brake shrunk to a button on the right-hand side panel, and the gear selector moved to the steering wheel -- though some car reviews pointed out that this may be hazardous if the driver mistakes it as the indicator. For me, the single control that combines indicator and front&back wiper is actually quite easy and simple after using it for a few days.

There are numerous features that I liked about the car.

  1. There's convenient built-in GPS with large LCD and easy-to-use turn dial + numeric keypad controls. Concise navigation information is also available in the dashboard so the driver doesn't need to move his/her head. Personal POI can be saved to memory card, which can also be used to play back my favorite MP3s on the nice 7.1 sound system.
  2. Mercedes Benz has very nice parking sensors with visual and audio indicators (I have yet to rent a compact car in the US that has even basic parking sensors). There's also a rear camera that dynamically indicates the trajectory as you turn the steering while reversing.
  3. Large and accessible trunk. Rear seats can fold down to carry large items.
  4. Numerous safety features (several "assistants" and the usual ABS/ESP/9-airbags/etc).

As I am a relatively lazy person (perhaps due to being a Software Engineer), I appreciate the many small convenience features such as:

  1. Parking hold (depress brake a second time after stopping to auto-hold the brake).
  2. Automatic opening/closing of all windows and sunroof+blind on deep depress (and there's obstacle detection too).
  3. Momentary turn indicator (indicates for just 3 times).
  4. Wiper with rain detection.
  5. Automatic headlight.
  6. Cruise and speed-limit controls.
  7. Easy to use star-like air vents.
  8. Auto-fold side mirrors on door lock.
  9. Many controls available on the steering wheel.

There's even a wow feature where the car would automatically detect parallel parking spots and turn the steering wheel fully automatically for you!

One thing to complain is that I am not able to achieve an average fuel consumption of less than 5.5l/100km. The "ECO" automatic-off is also sometimes annoying, when the engine would shut down even though you know you would start to drive in seconds. In addition, the AC would effectively be off when the engine is off.

Some drivers might also be a bit overwhelmed by all the features provided by the car. I have no such issues though, and enjoyed reading over the some 800 pages of manuals. I also got to realize that my model is still missing many advanced features such as the numerous safe-driving assistants and conveniences like "PARKTRONIC" that can follow the car in front and automatically accelerate/de-accelerate.

Anyhow, I am very pleased with the car. Look forward to even better cars in the future, such as Google's self-driving cars. (Yes, yes, I am lazy;)
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