Mercedes GLB review
The Mercedes-Benz GLB is a stylish family SUV with an upmarket interior and seating for seven
Does the world need another SUV? Probably not, but at least the Mercedes GLB offers something a little different. It’s similar in size to the GLC, but unlike its more expensive sibling, the GLB can be equipped with seven seats. This means it’s likely to appeal to family buyers in search of a little extra versatility.
There’s a hint of the G-Class about the styling, which is no bad thing, while the boxy looks serve to create a practical and spacious interior, albeit with seats in the third row that are suitable only for occasional use.
The GLB is a little dull to drive, but the ride comfort is excellent, even on the standard-fit AMG Line alloy wheels. Economy is good, with the diesel engine capable of returning up to 50mpg.
About the Mercedes GLB
What is the Mercedes GLB? As its name suggests, the GLB slots in between the GLA and GLC in the German company’s burgeoning range of SUVs. There’s a good reason for its introduction: SUVs account for a third of Mercedes sales and compact models for another 25 per cent.
The GLB is marginally shorter and narrower than the more expensive GLC, but it’s actually taller, which, when combined with the boxy styling, creates a family-friendly interior that’s spacious enough for five adults. You also have the option of seven seats, which is another reason why families might shun the GLC in favour of the GLB.
Squint a little, and there’s a whiff of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class about the GLB. It’s certainly a welcome tonic to the raft of me-too SUVs on sale in 2021. It can’t offer the space and off-road ability of the Land Rover Discovery Sport or the value and practicality of a Skoda Kodiaq, but for its all-round competence, the GLB is likely to be a hit with family buyers.
The interior is arguably its strongest selling point. Although the quality can’t quite reach the heights of the GLC, it feels reassuringly upmarket inside, thanks to a good selection of premium materials and plush finishes. There’s no base model, with the AMG Line trim slotting in as the most affordable model in the range. There are also AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus models, plus a Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic version that’s likely to be a niche prospect in the UK.
Even the entry-level AMG Line features 19-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels, AMG styling, an electric tailgate, LED headlights, privacy glass, reversing camera, heated seats, keyless start, automatic climate control and a pair of seven-inch displays.
You don’t necessarily need to upgrade from the £37,000 AMG Line, but it’s the only model that goes without the impressive 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system and 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. They are worth the additional expense, even if you’ll need to spend at least £40,000 for the privilege.
Most of the engines deliver low running costs, especially if you opt for the frugal 2.0-litre diesel in the G 200 d. There’s also a more powerful G 220 d, an efficient 1.3-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit in the G 200, plus a 306bhp 2.0-litre petrol in the AMG 35. All versions come with an automatic transmission, with four-wheel drive available on the GLB 35, 200 d and 220d.
It might be one of the most affordable Mercedes-Benz SUVs you can buy, but the GLB is also one of the most convincing. It prioritises practicality above all else, which means it can hold its own against rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Mercedes-Benz GLB is a stylish family SUV with an upmarket interior and seating for seven
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe GLB is smooth and comfortable, but not in the least bit exciting to drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsExcellent fuel economy from the diesel engines, while a GLB electrified version is set to offer even greater efficiency and savings
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe GLB offers hints of the G-Class, with an interior that’s modern and upmarket
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceMore practical than the more expensive GLC, the GLB has the option of a third row of seats
- 6Reliability and safetyThe GLB has a five-star safety rating, but some driver assistance systems are only fitted to the most expensive models