Mercedes GLB (2019-present)

The Mercedes GLB is a family-size SUV that prioritises space and practicality over style

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Interior space
Optional third row of seats
Economical engine options

Weaknesses 

Boxy styling may offend some
Limited boot space in seven-seat mode
Large-screen dials and media system likely to be pricey

The Mercedes GLB is a distinctly different offering in the competitive family SUV market. Where most rivals are sleeker and curvier, the GLB is resolutely tall and boxy. With its wheelarch mouldings and aluminium underbody guards it looks very off-roader-like, too.

It slots between the car maker’s GLA and GLC SUVs but actually looks like a scaled-down GLS, Mercedes’ large and luxurious SUV. Rivals include the Mazda CX-5, BMW X3, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. However, the VW Tiguan runs it closest of all with its similarly boxy look. Like the GLB it’s also available with seven seats, although you have to buy the extended Tiguan Allspace to get them, while they are an option in the GLB.

Mercedes reckons it’s onto something with the GLB, claiming that customers have expressed a desire for a more practical SUV in the range that’s not as lifestyle-focused as the GLC. To that end, it’s taller than the GLC and only 22mm shorter. The result is good headroom for all (it’s claimed to be class-leading in the front) and a large boot, though it’s smaller than the one you’d get in the shorter VW Golf Estate unless you drop the seats and load to the roof.

It also means the optional third row of seats is not as cramped as might be feared with Mercedes claiming that occupants up to 5ft 5in can fit in them, although how comfortably remains to be seen. Crucially, these extra seats, plus the two outer ones in the middle row, have secure Isofix mountings for safely fitting child seats making this an appealing car for families with three or four young children. In another nod to practicality, there are smartphone storage areas in the boot wall that become USB charging points on seven-seat models.

There’s a choice of 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines but no hybrid. All but the cheapest model, the 200 petrol, have eight-speed automatic gearboxes (the 200 has seven gears, though you’re unlikely to notice the difference in reality).

Most versions of the GLB are two-wheel drive but the 200d can be ordered with 4MATIC four-wheel drive, while on the 220d it comes as standard. It certainly gives the GLB an extra string to its bow, especially since it has an off-road mode that changes the throttle and steering to suit rough terrain and also adds hill descent control.

It’s the 200 d in two-wheel drive form that looks to be the best balanced in terms of economy, performance and likely price, although the entry-level 200 petrol could be a wise choice, as it should be the best value.

The GLB’s dashboard features the same ‘MBUX’ media system as you’ll find in the Mercedes A-Class with the option of twin displays, including a central touchscreen, and effective voice controls that let you set the sat-nav destination or change the radio to name a few functions with simple voice instructions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported, too.

Last Updated 

Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 12:45

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years
Boot size : 
560 litres
Width: 
1834mm
Length: 
4634mm
Height: 
1658mm
Tax: 
£210 in the first year, £145 thereafter

Best 

Mercedes GLB 200 d
With up to 57.6mpg possible from its 2.0-litre diesel engine, the two-wheel-drive 200 d is the most economical GLB.
Mercedes GLB 220 d 4MATIC (seven seats)
Expensive but offers a great blend of performance, economy, on and off-road capability, with optional seven-seat versatility.
Mercedes GLB 250
The 220 d is likely to be stronger through the gears thanks to its superior low-engine-speed muscle, but the 250 petrol is the quickest from 0-62mph.

History 

2019 (July) First orders taken with deliveries expected from the end of the year.

Understanding names 

  • Engine
    200d
  • Drive
    4MATIC
  • Gearbox
    8G-DCT
  • Engine
    The first number tells you that it’s a 2.0-litre engine (the GLB 200 petrol has a 1.3-litre engine) and ‘d’, that it is a diesel. The petrol engines have no identifying letter.
  • Drive
    This is Mercedes’ term for its four-wheel drive system that is offered on more expensive versions of the GLB.
  • Gearbox
    All versions of the GLB have a dual-clutch (DCT) automatic transmission. Most have eight gears (8G) but the entry-level 200 petrol has seven (7G).

Engines 

200, 250, 200 d & 220 d

The GLB’s size and weight plus the availability of 4MATIC four-wheel-drive editions means that most engines are 2.0-litre units, apart from the entry-level 200 petrol. The entry-level 200 petrol has a 1.3-litre engine, meanwhile. It’s two-wheel drive and the only version to be paired with a seven-gear dual-clutch (DCT) automatic gearbox. The other models have eight-gear gearboxes, though you’re unlikely to notice the difference.

DCT automatic gearboxes like the GLB’s are typically very fuel efficient and this, coupled with the car’s lighter, two-wheel drive set-up means that the 200’s economy figures are impressive. Performance isn't bad either.

The 250 petrol, also a 2.0-litre and in two-wheel drive, is noticeably more powerful but much thirstier, too. It’s likely buyers would be more tempted by the 220 d which, although it’s only offered only in four-wheel drive form, is not only more economical but likely to be quicker through the gears when overtaking.

In between them is the 200 d diesel. Available with two or four-wheel drive, it appears to be the most rounded GLB in terms of performance and economy and, no doubt, price.
Meanwhile, there are rumours that a more powerful Mercedes-AMG 35 version or even an AMG 45 will follow in due course, offering very strong acceleration.

Trims 

At the time of writing, there is no word on trims but we expect the GLB to follow existing Mercedes models in having SE, Urban Edition, Sport and AMG Line trims.

Reliability and warranty 

In common with all new Mercedes cars, the GLB has a three-year warranty. Save for a few notable exceptions including Kia, whose warranty is seven years, that’s standard across the industry.

Perhaps because owners expect nothing but the best from their Mercedes, the brand doesn't perform that well in the annual Auto Express Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. That said, its highest ranked model in the 2019 survey is the GLB’s sister car, the GLC.

The GLB shares many tried and tested components with other Mercedes models, so we don't expect there to be any serious reliability issues.

Used 

Being a Mercedes and a compact SUV that’s reasonably priced, the GLB should hold its value at least well as any premium rival - meaning high used prices, but potentially strong value finance rates.

It’s roomy and practical, too, where rivals balance style with practicality, often at the expense of interior space and functionality. On that point, a GLB with the optional third row of seats promises to be quite rare in the sector and should be a desirable used car.

The best used value is likely to lie with the thirsty 250 petrol model, as we’d this to drop in value comparatively fast, making it a more affordable used buy. A used 200 petrol will be an affordable entry point for buyers on a budget. Of the diesels, a two-wheel-drive 200d should be plentiful and available at a wide range of prices.