The death of the minivan? Not so fast. Yes, crossovers and SUVs may be all the rage these days to the detriment of minivans, but these are still important for some folks. Case in point, even though BMW was criticized for coming out with the front-wheel-drive 2 Series Active Tourer – which was recently updated - sales numbers have shown it was a wise business decision to launch the premium minivan and its seven-seat Gran Tourer sibling.

Officially revealed:

Here we have its direct competitor, the B-Class, preparing for its third generation. An official reveal is likely to take place later this year considering the prototype spotted in the snow appeared to have all of the final production bits in place. In fact, the family-friendly compact model has already been caught on camera without any camouflage (and bumpers), revealing a somewhat sharper exterior design making it a wee bit more appealing than the outgoing model.

Although we don’t have spy shots in this set with the interior cabin, logic tells us the cabin will largely be carried over from the new A-Class pictured below. Mercedes has revealed in full the dashboard design of its five-door hatchback, including its new MBUX infotainment system set to be implemented as standard in the compact car lineup. By the way, the family will expand with the addition of the A-Class Sedan and the boxy GLB crossover.

Gallery: 2018 Mercedes A-Class preview

With the A-Class rumored to get five gasoline and diesel engine options, expect the roomier B-Class to feature roughly the same powertrains – one of which could be a new 1.3-liter gasoline unit developed with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Needless to say, the hotter “35” and “45” flavors of the hatch are not in the offing for the minivan. Like all of the other compact Mercedes models, the new B will ride on an evolution of the MFA platform set to bring better packaging among a slew of other improvements.

We will get an idea about the changes made under the B-Class’ skin in a short while as rumor has it Mercedes will introduce the A-Class in full on February 2, prior to a public debut in Geneva a month later. As for the minivan, it might premiere in the second half of 2018.

Photos: Automedia

Gallery: 2019 Mercedes B-Class spy photos

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