July 1, 2008

Je Me Souviens: Mercedes B200 Turbo visiting from up north

It's the Canadian Fourth of July today! Let me buy your car, Mercedes of Canada! This was parked down the street from our place in DC. It has Quebec plates and a temporary visitor parking permit.

Someone on benzworld.org's forums has successfully imported a B200 to California as a used car. Though the price of a new B-Class in Canada was pretty uncompetitive with, say, an Audi A3 or a 3-series--like $45,000 loaded, last time I checked--low mileage 2006 and 2007 models are up to 30-40% below that at MBCA dealers. I confess, I'm very tempted.


As awesome as I think Merc B classes are, every time I look at the prices and think about it, I figure you can buy a Honda Fit that is pretty much the same size and has lots of similar features (but is plasticy and tinny compared to the merc) for less than 1/2 the cost with every option imaginable added.

[great minds. by the time I figure out how to import a B-Class, the newer, bigger, hopefully nicer Fit will hit the US. -ed.]

Looks like a cross between a Taurus and a Prius. That's not a compliment.

[comparisons to the Taurus rarely are. -ed.]

I tried importing a Canadian car once, but something was wrong with it. I kept my speed at 65 according to the spedometer, and people were just totally blowing by me on the highways...

The B200 must be bigger than a Fit, right?

Anyways, for 45 big ones, I'll buy a Mazda 5 and a Mazdaspeed 3, switch the powertrains, then keep my new "Mazdaspeed" 5 and sell the 3.

The B200 is a bit bigger than a Fit, yeah, and even slightly larger than a Nissan Versa, which is probably the biggest of the low end econo-cars from Japan, I think. (Is the Suzuki SX-4 a little larger?)

Seems like Canadians love hatchbacks more than our neighbours (spelled with a "u", yes) to the south... every second car on the streets here is a Mazda 3 hatch, we got the Yaris 5-door a few years before the US (it just finally got announced for US sale), and Hyundai's bringing over their kinda-awesome-but-kinda-looks-like-an-old-Camry-wagon Elantra 5-door Touring version over from Europe quite soon.

[we loved driving the five-door Yaris in Iceland a couple of summers ago. Almost as nice as the 5-dr BMW 1-series diesel. What a blast that one was. -ed.]

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