2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB
This week we are reviewing the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB. Our vehicle was assembled at the Compas plant in Mexico and has an MSRP of $52280 CAD.
Fun Factor: 6
Can it Family: 8
Karaoke Friendly: 9
City Cruising: 7
The GLB got noticed quite quickly, and people would come up to us asking if that was the new GLB and would also compliment its looks, something which rarely occurs when we test SUVs. Most of those currently on the market resemble each other. We took the wheel of the GLB and to be honest, we weren't expecting anything out of the ordinary, nor did we think that the base 2L turbo would suffice to move a vehicle that's almost as big as it's bigger brother the GLC. In both cases, Mercedes-Benz surprised us, handling is precise and becomes quite light at low speed, this made it super easy to maneuver in tight spaces such as an underground parking lot. The 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder under the hood produces 221hp and a respectable 258 lb-ft of torque. The power is transferred to all 4 wheels using an 8-speed dual-clutch that will accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 6.9 seconds. Our real-life test in the snow took 7.9 seconds to 100km/h from a standstill. Finally, we had to drive the GLB in the snow and in the mud, yes, as everyone seems to call it the "baby G-Wagon" we had no choice to drive it in the dirt. It sure didn't disappoint even if our car wore performance-oriented winter tires, definitely not off-road oriented.
On paper, the GLB is a 7-seater; in real-life, we'd say it's more of a 5+2, suitable for those times when you need to give a lift to your children's teammates, or you're taking grandma along on an outing. If using as a 5-seater, you will have room to comfortably seat 4 adults and squeeze a child in the middle seat. With the 7-seats in use, those in the 2nd row become more suitable for kids as the 3rd row eats up some of that space from the 2nd row. The 2nd row can slide forward and backward, giving passengers some extra comfort when needed, those seats can also recline; however, these features will be limited if any passengers take place in the 3row. The seating bolstering is good; even passengers in the third row will not complain when it comes to the support. In the variant we tested we had heated seats for the driver and co-pilot only, those in the 2nd row do not have the privilege to get these at this time. Another aspect we found unfortunate is that the heated steering wheel is a separate option from the heated seats, in a climate such as ours; these features should at least be bundled together. The trunk is quite big when used as a 5-seater. Stroller, hockey gear and grocery will have ample space. Now, as a 7-seater, the trunk space is quite limited, it will fit an umbrella stroller, and that's about it.
We were quite impressed with the fuel consumption of the GLB, especially on the HWY. We were able to achieve an average fuel economy of 7.5L per 100km. In the city, we were able to achieve 11.1L per 100km and averaged 9.5L per 100km over 725km with a mixture of 50% HWY and 50% city driving that included driving in traffic. Mercedes-Benz hasn't yet announced any official fuel economy at this time. Outside temperatures oscillated between -8c and +8c during our test, and we used 91 octane fuels as this is the minimum recommend octane for the GLB.
On the HWY, the GLB feels planted and is relaxing to drive. Around corners, you do get a bit of body roll, something we would expect given the height of the vehicle. The suspension is tuned to be on the softer side and will absorb potholes quite well. As mentioned above, the fuel economy of the GLB is quite impressive on the HWY; even at higher speeds, the engine stays efficient. The "Active Lane Keeping Assist" feature in our test vehicle was not overly aggressive or invasive. It made it more useable and less of an annoyance compared to other vehicles we've tested were we had to turn it off. Another feature we enjoyed was the route-based speed adaptation system that slowed down the vehicle based on your GPS trajectory. As an example, our exit was coming up, and the GLB would slowly reduce its speed. It would then show us an augmented virtual view of our exit and show us the path to take; this was especially useful in our case where the exit splits into multiple exits.
Another point we found truly impressive was the sound system. Even though we didn't have the optional sound system in our GLB, the base sound system was nearly the best we've heard so far, and we would tell people that they don't need to upgrade to the premium system to have great sound quality. Our GLB's most expensive option was the "Premium Package" this option, on the other hand, is a must as it gives you all the tech that makes the GLB great. It gives you access to the massive 10.25-inch dual MBUX infotainment screens, one is for the digital instrument cluster and can be customized depending on the driving mode you've selected. The second one gives you access to all of your multimedia. This screen is a touchscreen, giving you access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Underneath the system, you'll also find a tray that can wirelessly charge your phone and pair your phone wirelessly using NFC if compatible.
It's rare to see a compact SUV with 7-seats, and what is even more infrequent is to have an SUV in this class that has ISOFIX ports in the 3rd row, making it possible to install car seats in a variety of spots inside depending on your everyday use. Yes, it's quite easy to get those seats inside the GLB as the doors open quite wide. Once inside, you'll be able to attach to the uncovered ISOFIX ports, which are easy to access. Latching a car seat does come with a small hiccup when attached with longer latches as they will need to be put in an angle to latch correctly with the ISOFIX port. The same issue arises when removing the car seat; you'll need to play around with the latch before you detach the car seat. If you do install a car seat in the second-row, access to the 3rd is not possible on the same side because even if you fold the seat slightly and slide it forward, the opening created is too narrow. Accessing that 3rd row even without a car seat does require some acrobatics. Yes, it's possible to install car seats in the back, and it may be the smartest thing to do if you wish to use your 2nd row. Finally, smaller kids shouldn't have trouble getting inside the GLB without any help. The doorstep is positioned higher and is designed to make entry into the vehicle easy. The same goes for the seat belts; they've been placed in a way that kids can easily grab them and buckle themselves without too much help. The only thing is if you have 3 passengers in the 2nd row, the belt clips are close to each other, and one is under the middle passenger.
When we first drove away with the GLB, we weren't sure how it would hold up in the city. Especially in a market where every other manufacturer makes an SUV or even 2 to fill a spot in a segment that has been growing and growing. Mercedes-Benz could have been lazy and make a modified variant of their GLA or GLC with a higher clearance. No, they didn't, and you've got to give it to Mercedes for launching a compact SUV that can haul seven passengers; not everyone will require a big 7-seater SUV nor a massive MINIVAN. The GLB is especially useful to those living in the city where parking space is limited. The GLB is quite versatile, especially if you only need the additional seating capacity occasionally. In our case, it was useful when we had to bring our kids friends back from scouts. Longer vehicles such as the GLB always require a little more time to find a spot in the city; however, thanks to the parking assistant, you'll fit in the smallest spot possible, and all the work will be done for you by the car. The system works quite well, and when we tested it at night, it remained as good as during the day. The rear cross-traffic alert reacted quickly and stopped our vehicle abruptly, the moment it sensed a moving object. Mercedes-Benz seems to have a plug-in hybrid in the works for the GLB; however, like with the A250e, it may never come to our shores. This variant would ideally be suited for the city as it could drive you to work without using any fuel.
Why would we buy the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB or what we liked about it: Roomy interior for a compact SUV, good fuel economy on the HWY, 7-passengers, ISOFIX ports in the 3rd row, comfortable driving experience.
Why we wouldn't buy the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB or what we didn't like about it: The trunk space is limited when the 7-seats are in use, the doors do not "soft close" and require more energy to close, access to the 3rd row isn't easy and is only meant or kids.
Mercedes-Benz has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle, we have no affiliation with Mercedes-Benz Canada, and the above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the vehicle referred above.