The GLB is the new subcompact crossover from Mercedes-Benz, joining the line-up between the GLA-class and GLC-class and having the boxy shape of the much larger and more expensive GLC. The GLB is roomy, luxurious and even has an optional third row, which you can’t get on its GLA- and GLC- cousins.
The GLB comes in just one trim, GLB250 with a starting price of $37,595. Front-wheel-drive is standard. You can add the Mercedes-Benz all-wheel-drive system 4Matic for an additional $2,000. Starting prices escalate in a hurry with packages and options. My tester tops out at more than $50,000.
The GLB is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The GLB isn’t the sportiest performer in the class but it does fine in most driving situations. You’ll notice some turbo lag off the line but then it accelerates quickly. The eight-speed shifts smoothly and quickly finds the right gear. The GLB stays planted when cornering with little body lean. Bumps and rough roads are barely noticeable; the ride is very smooth and comfortable. Visibility is good all the way around.
Fuel efficiency is great for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway with a combined rating of 26. I got 22 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The GLB can accommodate five passengers with its standard two rows of seating, or seven passengers with the optional third row.
The interior is surprisingly roomy for a subcompact crossover. Adults in the first two rows have plenty of leg- and headroom. The second row slides forward and back so you can adjust space as needed. As is usually the case, the optional third row is tight and best for children.
The interior is nice, as you’d expect in a Mercedes-Benz, but it’s not super luxurious. The base trim doesn’t come with many features; you’ll have to pay more for things like heated seats that are usually standard on higher-end brands. It does come standard with some tech features including an infotainment system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Standard features include remote start, keyless start, rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, MB-Tex synthetic leather seats, 12-way power-adjustments for the front seats, seven-inch digital gauge display, seven-inch touchscreen with touchpad controller, Bluetooth, HD radio, four USB ports, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and crosswind assist.
Available features include, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, front sport seats, heated, ventilated, and multi-contour front seats, heated steering wheel, 10.25-inch digital gauge display, 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, 12-speaker Burmester audio system, satellite radio, wireless device charging and a panoramic roof.
Available driver assistance features include surround-view parking camera system, head-up display, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, front and rear cross traffic alert, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and Mercedes’ Pre-SAFE Plus passenger pre-collision mitigation system.
The MBUX infotainment system takes getting used to. It’s controlled through the touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted controls and a touchpad controller located between the two front seats. The touchscreen is straight forward, but you’ll need time to become familiar with the touchpad controller. It can be distracting to use while driving. The system doesn’t always respond well to voice commands; I often had to repeat commands until the system got them right.
The GLB has a ton of space for the class thanks to its boxy shapes. There are 62 cubic feet in GLBs with two rows and 56.7 cubes in three-row models. It’s a little inconvenient to fold down the rear seats: you have to open the rear doors and hunt for the pull strap located near the seat belt buckles. A power liftgate is standard.
Very smooth ride
Super comfortable seats
Excellent fuel economy for the class
Surprisingly spacious for a subcompact SUV
Available third row
Low starting price for the class
Lots of standard and available tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Handling isn’t the sportiest
Interior not particularly luxurious
Price escalates quickly with options and packages
My tester starts at $38,600. Mountain Grey metallic paint is $720. Natural grain black Linden wood trim is $325.19-inch multi-spoke wheels are $700. Panorama sunroof is $1,500. Heated steering wheel is $250. Suspension with adjustable damping is $990. Sirius XM radio is $460. Heated front seats are $580. 64-color interior ambient lighting is $310. DA2 Driver Assistance Package is $2,250 and includes active brake assist with cross-traffic function, active distance assist DISTRONIC, active steering assist, active blind sot assist, active lane keeping assist, active lane change assist, active speed limit assist, active emergency stop assist, evasive steering assist, PRE-SAFE PLUS, route-based speed adaptation, and extended restart in stop and go traffic. DA% Multimedia Package is $1,150 and includes navigation, navigation services including map updates for three years, MBUX augmented reality for navigation, and speed limit assist. DP1 Premium Package is $1,650 and includes a 10.25-inch center display, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, KEYLESS-GO package, auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors, and side mirrors with power fold-in. Delivery fee is $995 bringing the grand total to $50,480.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB is all-new for 2020. It’s cavernous interior, super smooth ride, great fuel efficiency, optional third row, and low starting price make it worth a look if you’re shopping for a luxury subcompact SUV. The only real drawbacks are the clunky infotainment system, and handling that’s not as sporty as some rivals.