Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The previous B-Class was criticised for not being up to Mercedes-Benz’s standards, with a bland, uninviting interior and a range of uninspiring materials. This has evidently been taken on board, as the new model gets a completely redesigned interior which features a host of neat touches and high-quality materials. Both front and rear seats are comfortable, with masses of legroom.

The controls are laid out in a sensible fashion, and the instrument panel is clear and easy to read, while the steering column adjusts for both rise and reach. Adding to the upmarket feel are elements like intricate air vents, but they do feel quite frail. There are a few details, however, which spoil the overall ambience. The dash top material, while presentable, feels hard and thinner than you’d expect, while there are a few cheap-feeling plastics dotted around the cabin.

Visibility is generally good, but large front and rear pillars do obstruct your view somewhat. The bonnet also drops off sharply, making it hard to judge where the front of the car ends. Parking sensors, an optional blind-spot warning system and reversing camera go some way to alleviating this issue, however.

Given that it's aimed at the premium end of the market, it is not surprising then that the B-Class offers a comfortable interior and a surprising amount of space. There's lots of leg and headroom, even for rear passengers. The rear seats can accommodate three adults at a stretch but they’ll find the B-Class too narrow to endure long trips - something unchanged from the original model.

The situation isn't helped by an intrusive chassis structure, similar to a transmission tunnel, which cuts legroom for the person sitting in the middle. The driving position is quite low so it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a people carrier – rather just a tall hatchback – but the high door cards and roof do make you feel a little lost in the cabin.

At speed, on the motorway, there’s some wind noise from the front pillars and on certain surfaces a little road noise works its way into the cabin, particularly from the rear end. This is even more noticeable with the larger 18-inch wheels and run-flat tyres. Overall, however, it's quiet enough that you don’t have to raise your voice to be heard by passengers.