Car Review: Mercedes-Benz GLB
Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert.
Mercedes-Benz are not slowing up for anyone at the moment and the onslaught of new vehicles continues. The new GLB furthers the choice to the brands compact SUV model offering at a price point that might surprise you. The new GLB comes to Irish roads as the first Mercedes-Benz in its class to offer a 7-seat option with a third row of seats concealed beneath the luggage floor that can be raised to expand capacity to that all important seven seat configuration. Unlike some manufacturers who claim to have seating for 7 adults, Mercedes have done the decent thing and stated the third row offers ‘comfortable seating for passengers up to a height of 1.68m’. With that said they are perfectly comfortable for children and even have charge points for tablet devices perfectly located each side. The seat layout allows a second row split of 40.20.40 making it a little easier to access the third row of seats. Looks can be deceiving but at 2,829mm, it has the longest wheelbase of Mercedes-Benz’s current compact generation and front headroom is a generous 1,069mm with ample rear legroom, regardless of the 5 or 7-seat option.
It has a strong and purposeful look with striking headlamps, sloped roofline, short front and back overhangs, and it kept reminding me of a car I’d tested in years past. Mercedes Benz might not thank me for this but it was actually the proportions of the Skoda Yeti that the shape alluded to and that’s no bad thing. The Yeti was a fantastic all-rounder for Skoda and the GLB can only be described as a slightly bigger more luxurious version of same. Buyers can choose entry-level two-wheel drive or 4MATIC all-wheel drive with a special off-road light, which helps the driver to detect obstacles at low speeds. Like most new Mercedes models the equipment line choices include progressive or AMG which we have on test. Our test car also had the ‘Night Package’ option, which essentially de-chromes the trim in favour of piano black.
In the driver seat you get the expected high-quality in seating, spiral-look dashboard, instrumentation and controls elements. The now familiar MBUX control centre and ‘Hey Mercedes’ command system, (which can be temperamental) are operated via two 7-inch instrument cluster and media displays with touch screen facility. The AMG Line sports steering wheel also has touch controls to make shifting between the various menus easy. Like the E-Class we recently tested you also get comfort elements such as mood lighting, musical chimes and seat massage features.
The GLB gets the latest updated 4-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, all now with increased power, better efficiency and lower emissions. Buyers have a choice of the GLB 200 (1332cc/Nm 250 torque), GLB 250 (1991cc/Nm 350) and GLB35 4MATIC AMG (1991cc/Nm 400) with petrol power whilst diesel fans can opt for the GLB 180d (Nm 280 torque), GLB 200d and GLB 200d 4MATIC (both Nm 320) and GLB 220d 4MATIC (Nm 400), each certified to Euro 6d. All cars come with either 7G/8G automatic transmission. On a personal note our test vehicle was fitted with the 2.0 litre diesel (GLB 200d) and we found it a pleasure to drive. We have since tested the 1332cc petrol variant and found it a little racy and rev happy through the gears.
Independent crash-test experts Euro NCAP awarded the Mercedes GLB the full five stars giving it strong scores across the board. It received 92% and 88% for adult and child occupant protection respectively, along with an impressive 78% in the Vulnerable Road Users category. Standard safety kit includes a driver fatigue monitor, autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and active lane keeping assist to help keep the GLB from wandering out of its lane on the motorway. Also included in the mix of optional driver assistance systems is a camera and radar system that can scan the road up to 500 metres ahead and, in semi-automated mode, can adjust speed when coming to bends, crossroads or roundabouts. Off road drivers will be happy to know optional lighting and adaptive main beam features can be introduced to enhance the off road driving experience and safety.
When launched in Ireland it had the most competitive package possible tagging affordable prices to high-level specifications with the focus on the GLB Progressive 180 Automatic from €47,340 and the GLB Progressive 180d Automatic from €45,210. Our test car was the GLB 200d Automatic with the AMG Styling pack and Night package amongst others bringing the price up to €52,231. PCP options are available from your local dealer also.
It’s hard not to like the GLB really because there isn’t a lot of competition at this price point wearing a premium badge. The 2.0 litre diesel engine mated to the smooth automatic gearbox makes it a really nice drive with 150hp and 320Nm of torque. It doesn’t feel to tall or slab sided on B roads and soaks up potholes and uneven surfaces with ease. The third row of seats although priced at an additional €1451 is a must for us. Yes you loose the majority of the boot space when in use but with a roof box, family holidays are still very much do-able and it will be in sheer comfort. Good residual values are expected on this vehicle also so it’s well worth taking a test-drive in your local Mercedes-Benz dealership as soon as possible. The GLB is yet another strong offering from Mercedes-Benz.
Lane assist a little intrusive
‘Hey Mercedes’ function
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