- A distinctive combination of size and cargo space in the segment
- Spacious legroom and headroom for first and second-row passengers
- Good array of standard technology features fitting a premium brand
- Reviewers have some complaints about the ride quality
- Standard safety features are not as plentiful as they could be
- Third-row seating is very tight
The 2020 Mercedes GLB is an all-new compact crossover SUV slated to go on sale in the United States in late 2019.
Even though the SUV market is flooded with choices, the new Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is relatively unique in that it offers third-row seating for up to seven passengers. It is larger than the small GLA-Class but smaller than the compact GLC-Class. Neither the GLA nor the GLC has a third-row option, nor do many other SUVs that aren't midsize or larger.
Its small size and third-row seating option give the GLB the packaging edge over larger rivals such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Jaguar F-Pace. It is also larger its direct rivals like the Volvo XC40, BMW X1 and the Audi Q3. Its combination of size and practicality limits its competition, but the Volkswagen Tiguan and Land Rover Discovery are the closest overall.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is related to the compact A-Class sedan and CLA four-door. Reviewers note that many A-Class niceties are carried over throughout the GLB, especially in the interior setup and new MBUX infotainment system that can be controlled the way a voice assistant can.
Another piece of the GLB that further sets it apart from many other small luxury SUVs is its off-road ability. It is not as capable as the best Land Rover models and does not feature Jeep Wrangler ruggedness, but a small suite of off-road drive settings make it more usable in the great outdoors than many of its closest competition.
With so many options in the SUV marketplace, it is hard to imagine that a better one may be out there, but it appears that Mercedes-Benz has come up with one in the GLB that extends boundaries that have previously been set by so many others.
TLDR: It's handsome styling, large wheels, and upright canopy make it look larger than it is.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is boxier and more upright than the GLA, GLC and GLE siblings. Its wheelbase is five inches longer than the GLA, and its overall length is only about an inch and a half shorter than the GLC.
All of these factors combine to give the GLB a more substantial overall appearance than its dimensions might suggest. Yet there are typical Mercedes-Benz SUV styling cues at the front and rear.
Its side profile strays significantly from the GLA and GLC by featuring an upright canopy, designed to maximize interior space. Large wheels fill out the fenders well, and black trim around the fenders and bottom of the SUV give it the slightly rugged look that hints at its off-road capability.
Interior Quality and Comfort:
TLDR: Interior quality and comfort are good with spacious legroom and headroom for first and second-row passengers. The optional third-row seat is cramped.
As expected by most reviewers, interior quality and comfort fall in line with where the GLB sits amongst its siblings. Most agree that it is nicer and more comfortable than the GLA-Class but lacks a little when compared to the larger GLC.
Several reviewers note that the front seats offer more legroom than its overall size would suggest and that the second row is quite comfortable due to its sliding seats. Despite its optional third row, reviewers agree that space is minimal and mostly suited for small children. It should be noted that the second-row seat's sliding ability does provide additional legroom for third-row passengers.
Headroom, front-row legroom, and second-row legroom are all noted to be excellent.
The interior quality is typical of Mercedes and is reminiscent of the A-Class sedan, as noted by reviewers. Most have no qualms with the layout and note that the materials used are more durable than they are purely luxurious. At its projected price point, reviewers have no issues with this.
Ride quality is better than the smaller GLA due to its longer wheelbase but is still noted to be a bit unruly on rough surfaces, especially given the large wheel option. Optional adaptive suspension should help even out the ride quality, according to reviewers.
Utility & Practicality
TLDR: Utility and practicality are good with the third-row seat being both a positive and a negative. Some mild off-roading is even possible.
Utility and practicality are relatively high due to the GLB's added off-road capability, its boxy dimensions, and optional third row.
The GLB is very easy to get in and out of for reviewers of almost any size. Cargo room is ample, with the rear seats folded at 62 cubic feet of space. With the third-row, this drops and back seat practicality decreases significantly.
Still, having a third-row does add the option of more passenger capability, even if space is limited. Additionally, the third-row can be folded to accommodate additional cargo when necessary.
Overall, reviewers note that the interior is spacious and open. The MBUX infotainment system is easy to use, according to reviewers, and dual infotainment displays make information easy to see. Touchpads on the steering wheel and center console are noted to make functions and information easy to access within the system.
The GLB's optional all-wheel-drive system, hill descent control, and hill start assist add a good bit of poor weather driving capability as well as some light off-roading ability. Reviewers note that most GLB buyers will not be cruising the safari or scaling the mountains, but those who seek adventure away from the urban streets can undoubtedly find it quite easily.
Technology & Infotainment
TLDR: Technology features and an updated MBUX infotainment system make a strong showing.
Technology and infotainment features are on par with what reviewers have come to expect from Mercedes.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and intelligent voice assistant all come standard with the Mercedes User Experience infotainment software. It is displayed through two 7-inch screens with optional larger 10.25-inch displays and is controlled by touchpads on the steering wheel and center console.
Other reported standard technology includes power front seats, a power liftgate, LED headlights, a rearview camera, USB-C ports, selectable drive modes, and crosswind assist.
Optional technology features include 4Matic all-wheel-drive, hill-descent control, adaptive suspension, a head-up display, and radar-based semi-autonomous driving features.
Safety & Driving Assistance
TLDR: Standard safety features are few, but optional ones are plentiful.
As with many other luxury vehicles, standard safety and driver aids are fewer than expected, but optional equipment is plentiful.
Standard safety features include forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert with automatic emergency braking, forward cross-traffic alert, and lane-keeping assist.
At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have crash-tested and rated the GLB-Class.
TLDR: The driving experience is adequate, with a rough ride over rough roads and decent performance from the engine and transmission.
Most reviewers have not had the chance to drive the new Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class, but many have been allowed to experience the compact SUV from the passenger seat. Many have not been blown away by the performance or ride quality the GLB has to offer, but most agree that the GLB is an agreeable all-around SUV, and the total package delivers what it needs to to make the GLB a success.
The 2020 GLB-Class offers only one engine option. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be the first and only engine option available. It produces 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The single transmission available comes in the form of an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Despite being offered with only one engine and transmission option, the GLB comes standard with front-wheel-drive. The 4Matic all-wheel-drive drivetrain is optional and is anticipated to be around $2,000 extra if other Mercedes Benz vehicles are indicative of price forecasting.
From the passenger seats, reviewers note that the GLB's powertrain is smooth, consistent, and does not have to work that hard to get going. Most agree that the dual-clutch automatic works well and that it does not search for gears like some larger SUVs that lack power.
Official 0-60 mph times have not yet been released, but Mercedes-Benz claims a time of just under seven seconds for all-wheel-drive models. If it holds, this is a quick time compared to its closest competitors.
Reviewers note that the ride quality leaves a little to be desired. Without the adaptive suspension, many note the ride to be slightly fidgety and rough, even on the highway. Many attribute this to the large wheels and run-flat tires, but most anticipate a slightly better experience with adaptive suspension equipped. Cabin noise is kept to a minimum, according to testers, and the comfortable seats help with the overall ride quality.
Overall, reviewers are pleased, though not blown away by the GLB's powertrain, comfort levels, and all-around driving experience. Most agree that "adequate" is a good way to describe their first riding impressions of the newest Mercedes model.
TLDR: Fuel economy numbers have not yet been released, but based on similar models, it should be par for the class.
Fuel economy numbers have not yet been released for the new GLB, but both the GLA and GLC use the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and figures should hover around what is currently on the market.
The 2019 GLA 250 returns a combined EPA estimate of 27 mpg when equipped with front-wheel-drive and 26 miles per gallon with all-wheel-drive, with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The 2019 GLC 300 returns a combined EPA estimate of 24 mpg whether or not it is equipped with all-wheel-drive.
The GLB is closer in size to the GLC than it is to the GLA, but EPA estimates should still fall between the two models.
The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport falls well short of both the current GLA and GLC fuel economy estimates at 21 mpg combined. The 2020 BMW X1 models carry EPA estimates nearly identical to the GLA while the Audi Q3 returns numbers much closer to the Land Rover.
Trim Levels & Pricing
TLDR: A front-wheel-drive and 4Matic all-wheel-drive system differentiates the two trim levels with ample package options for all the customization you might want at a reasonable price.
All GLB models come with a single engine option: A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Front-wheel drive is standard on GLB 250 models while adding all-wheel-drive takes buyers to the GLB 250 4Matic trim. Both drivetrains are mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class will be offered in two trim levels.
Mercedes Benz GLB250:
The GLB 250 will start at a $36,600 MSRP with a $995 destination fee.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, leatherette upholstery, MBUX infotainment system with dual 7-inch displays, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, HD radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel, front memory seats, remote start, power front seats, and a power liftgate.
Standard safety features include a backup camera, brake assist, automatic emergency braking, traction control, and forward-collision warning.
Optional equipment includes leather upholstery, sunroof, a hands-free liftgate, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a navigation system, satellite radio, 10.25-inch infotainment screens, a head-up display, adaptive suspension, and third-row seating.
Mercedes Benz GLB 250 4Matic:
The GLB 250 4Matic starts at $38,600 with a $995 destination fee. The only real difference between the two trims is the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and the Off-Road Engineering package that comes with it. It adds additional drive modes with hill-descent and start control, along with off-road driving assists, which appear in the information screens.
All other standard and optional features from the GLB 250 remain the same.
In addition to the optional features from both trims, a variety of package options are available for GLB models.
The Driver Assistance Package includes safety technologies such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, steering assist, and rear cross-traffic alert with emergency braking.
The Parking Assist Package includes a 360-degree top-down camera and an advanced parking assist system. Adding the Exterior Lighting package adds active LED headlights and adaptive high beams.
The Multimedia Package includes navigation and several add-ons such as road sign assistance and over-the-air map updating.
The Night Package is essentially an appearance package and includes blacked-out trim pieces such as the front splitter, mirror housings, and roof rails.
The Premium Package includes power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, upgraded 10.25-inch digital display, and upgraded 10.25-inch touchscreen media display.
TLDR: The GLB offers a good combination of size, practicality, and capability starting at the price of an average new vehicle.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is another compact luxury SUV on the market. Yet, it is different than the rest because of its unique combination of size, seating capacity, and capability. Mercedes has carved a niche in the segment that has not existed until now.
Its base price of just under $37,000 should be appealing to consumers because it is about the average cost of a new car in the current market. For a premium brand and an SUV that can do just about everything at its size is quite remarkable.
Despite being quite small, the third-row seating option offers the ability to squeeze in some extra passengers in a pinch. Additionally, the GLB 250 4Matic provides a good amount of off-road capability for a small luxury SUV.
Its host of standard technology features and infotainment offerings is good at its price point though some of the more common standard safety features are lacking compared to other vehicles. A long list of optional features and additional safety features add to the base price, but more than make up for anything that may be lacking.
Fuel economy numbers have not been released yet, but based on current models, they should be among the top contenders in the class.
Comfort, interior space, and cargo capacity are all good thanks to the GLB's upright canopy and sliding second-row seats, even though ride comfort takes a hit. Many reviewers note that it can get choppy on rough and uneven surfaces without the adaptive suspension option.
Overall, the new GLB-Class offers reasonable value at its price point, but reviewers note that it won't give you the most premium experience Mercedes-Benz has to offer.
See more 2020 Mercedes GLB Photos.