Mercedes GLB Review
The Mercedes GLB is a family-size SUV that prioritises space and practicality over style
Strengths & weaknesses
- Interior space
- Optional third row of seats
- Economical engine options
- Boxy styling an acquired taste
- Limited boot space in seven-seat mode
- Large-screen dials and media system likely to be pricey
Mercedes GLB prices from £29,999 Finance from £428.06 per month
Where most rivals are sleeker and curvier - making them look like hatchbacks on stilts - the Mercedes-Benz GLB is resolutely tall and boxy. Decked out with rugged wheelarch mouldings and aluminium skid plates, it looks much more like a heavy-duty off-roader than what is currently available on this busy SUV market.
The GLB slots between the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUVs but actually looks more like a scaled-down GLS, Mercedes’ largest and most luxurious SUV. Direct competition will come in the form of the Mazda CX-5, BMW X3, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40, but the Volkswagen Tiguan runs it closest of all in terms of styling - it too is rather sqaure. Like the Tuguan, it's possible to get the GLB equipped with seven seats, although you have to buy the extended Tiguan Allspace to get them, while they are an option in the GLB.
Mercedes says the GLB is intended to give customers a much more practicality-focused offering alongside the more stylish lifestyle choices currently provided by the GLA or 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 genuine comfort levels remain to be seen. Crucially, these extra seats, plus the two outer ones in the middle row, have Isofix mountings for safely fitting child seats which should appeal to families with three or four young children. Smartphone storage areas in the boot wall that become USB charging points on seven-seat models are another very handy feature.
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. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both supported, too.
|Boot size||560 litres|
|Tax||£210 in the first year, £145 thereafter|
Best Mercedes-Benz GLB for...
Best for Economy – 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.
Best for Families – Mercedes GLB 220 d 4MATIC (seven seats)
This version may be expensive but offers a great blend of performance, economy, on and off-road capability, with optional seven-seat versatility.
Best for Performance – 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.
2019 (July) First orders taken with deliveries expected from the end of the year.
Understanding Mercedes-Benz GLB names
Engine 200 d
The first number alludes to the amount of power the car has - in this case it also refers to the engine size, as this has a 2.0-litre unit (thought the GLB 200 petrol has a 1.3-litre engine) and ‘d’ refers to the fact it's a diesel. The petrol engines have no identifying letter.
This is Mercedes’ term for its four-wheel drive system that is offered on more expensive versions of the GLB.
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).
Mercedes-Benz GLB Engines
Petrol: 200, 250 DieselL 200d, 220d
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 in reality.
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 220d 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 200d 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 at the expense of fuel economy.
Mercedes-Benz GLB Trims
AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, AMG Line Premium Plus
As it stands, the Mercedes GLB is only available in AMG Line trim, however additional Premium and Premium Plus tech packs are also optional extras for an extra cost.
In terms of styling, there are 19-inch alloy wheels and sporty bodywork as you would expect from an AMG Line model. Inside, standard equipment includes the MBUX media system, air conditioning, height adjustable sports seats, and a pair of seven-inch displays - one touchscreen for the central media system, and one digital instrument display.
The headline upgrades from the AMG Line Premium pack are ambient interior lighting, an augmented reality sat-nav system and a larger 10.3-inch central media display.
Upgrade further to AMG Line Premium Plus and you'll get a panoramic sunroof, and a driving assistance package.
Mercedes-Benz GLB 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 Mercedes-Benz GLB
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 over 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 expect 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.