Professionals: Large house and nice mpg for its phase; high-style inside; spunky AMG 35
Cons: Infotainment system can overwhelm
Most small luxurious SUVs are tough to suggest. They’re normally too small, too chintzy and too unrefined for the costs they command. We’d usually suggest getting a well-equipped and extra spacious non-luxury SUV as a substitute. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is an exception. It’s distinctive, versatile and classy in a means that its opponents aren’t. It could begin north of $40,000, but it surely seems to be, feels and performs prefer it ought to price that a lot. There’s precise worth past that fancy three-pointed emblem, and we completely suggest it in consequence.
A giant cause for the GLB’s transcendent enchantment is its extra-large dimension for the phase and extra-boxy form. Add within the versatility of a sliding again seat, and you’ve got a subcompact SUV with a midsize SUV’s inside house. We had been surprised by how much its cargo area could swallow. Nevertheless, apart from the cabin’s packaging, its hanging design stands out in a phase that always comes throughout as a bit low cost. The daring rotary air vents and fairly dual-screen infotainment system carry numerous the burden, however supplies high quality is healthier than common for the phase, too. And though the GLB is certainly constructed to a worth on much less refined bones than its pricier, extra refined GLC sibling, we expect it is a drop-off that is greater than truthful for the worth. Actually, we will simply see somebody fortunately selecting a GLB over a GLC simply because they prefer it higher, with saving cash as a bonus. We will not say the identical factor a couple of BMW X1, Audi Q3, Lexus UX and even the Mercedes-Benz GLA.
What’s new for 2023?
The GLB is unchanged for 2023, however its all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQB sibling does debut.
Mercedes-Benz put fairly a little bit of thought into the GLB’s inside packaging. It offers lots of clever storage in both the passenger cabin and cargo area, making it extra sensible than most luxurious choices on this phase (and certainly many others). The GLB’s driving place is superb, and its front- and second-row seats are comfy and supportive with loads of adjustment.
The GLB is on the cheap facet for a Mercedes-Benz, however the high quality of supplies and out there choices are on par or higher for expectations at this worth level. The fancier choices will drive up the worth, after all, however even the basic parts are high-quality and exact.
Each GLB consists of the final iteration of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment suite, which is managed by your alternative of a central touchscreen (7 inch commonplace, 10.25 inch out there), middle console touchpad, steering wheel controls and natural-language instructions. Whereas we like this “have it your means strategy” and admire this method’s fast responses and fairly graphics, it simply is not simple to make use of. Having solely three icons on the house display screen results in far an excessive amount of swiping and clicking, many icons are too small and the identical color because the background, and there is fairly frankly simply an amazing variety of features to manage and settings to alter.
The GLB’s wheelbase is nearer to that of many midsize choices, and its total size exceeds that of most opponents. You do not actually discover this behind the wheel – it nonetheless feels fairly small – and this additional size mixed with the boxy design ends in the GLB being a cargo-hauling rockstar. On paper, Mercedes says the GLB provides 24 cubic toes with the second-row seats up, however in actuality, there’s really way over that quantity would suggest. Its rear load flooring might be lowered to accommodate bigger gadgets, however even with the ground in its commonplace place, the GLB can swallow extra cargo than crossovers within the greater, pricier compact phase.
This additional size interprets into tons of second-row house, the place passengers will discover sliding and reclining seats for additional consolation (you aren’t getting these within the mechanically associated GLA). The mixture of fold-down seatbacks and sliding bases will also be exploited for added cargo house if the roomy hatch alone won’t suffice, making the GLB a versatility rockstar, too.
The GLB additionally has out there third-row seating, which its smaller opponents and even these within the bigger compact class lack. We suppose this feature does not damage, however these non-obligatory rearmost seats simply aren’t that liveable, even for teenagers. We might skip them or get a non-luxury three-row automobile for a similar worth.
The GLB 250 identify signifies that the GLB in query has the bottom engine: a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That is on-par for its phase. It has an eight-speed dual-clutch automated guide transmission. Entrance-wheel drive is commonplace and with it, the GLB is rated at 24 mpg metropolis, 32 mpg freeway and 27 mpg mixed. The non-obligatory 4Matic all-wheel-drive system knocks these rankings right down to 22/30/25 mpg, respectively. Mercedes-Benz says the GLB 250 will do 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. That is respectable for a CUV of this dimension.
The Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 additionally has a 2.0-liter turbo, but it surely’s been labored over by Mercedes’ AMG tuning division to supply 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It’ll hit 60 in 5.1 seconds. The eight-speed DCT and commonplace all-wheel drive are additionally particular AMG variations. Gasoline financial system estimates for 2023 weren’t out there on the time of this writing, however must be roughly the identical as these for 2022: 20 mpg metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 22 mpg mixed.
There may be technically an electrical GLB out there, though it’s formally often called the Mercedes-Benz EQB. You may learn our EQB first drive review here.
The GLB 250 is extra about luxurious and luxury than efficiency. Due to its lengthy wheelbase and supple suspension, it delivers in spades for this phase. The non-obligatory adaptive suspension will tighten up the dealing with on demand, however even with that possibility that we’re guessing will not often present up on dealer heaps, the GLB 250 by no means rises to the extent of “enjoyable to drive.” That is completely OK, although – it does not should be. As for what’s underneath the hood, the GLB 250’s commonplace four-cylinder gives loads of punch however does come off a little bit thrashy in comparison with what you will expertise in pricier Benz fashions. Certainly, total refinement is the place the GLB reveals its lower cost tag. The journey, steering, throttle and transmission response, and driving expertise typically are fairly merely much less refined, but it surely’s a discount that is not less than commensurate with that price ticket and really not as nice as what you will discover lacking within the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and others within the phase.
As for the AMG GLB 35, it’s legitimately enjoyable even when it doesn’t fairly attain the extent of “extra-tall hot hatch” as the smaller GLA 35 does. The bigger footprint and additional tallness lead to it being not almost as agile or darty. Nonetheless, just like the GLA and different AMG 35 fashions, the GLB 35 is simply “on” from the second you pop it into Drive. The snappy and fast eight-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission cracks off upshifts with a pop that accentuates and underlines each shift. Certainly, the extent of drama and added theater encourages a heavy proper foot. And due to its AMG-tuned chassis, you’ll be able to nonetheless fortunately hustle this little crossover round a winding street. With the Sport drive mode chosen, physique motions are properly managed with the stiffness and sharpness you’d count on from an AMG. Steering response is a bit numb, although, and its weighting isn’t as sharp as different AMG 35s.
What different Mercedes-Benz GLB critiques can I learn?
Take a better take a look at the 302-horsepower, AMG-tuned GLB that injects a spunky quantity of enjoyable into what’s in any other case a surprisingly smart small SUV.
Our preliminary drive of the GLB options extra particulars about its design and engineering. It actually hasn’t modified a lot since then.
Overlook the official numbers. The boxy and versatile GLB punches above its weight class. All of these items matches within the cargo space.
West Coast Editor James Riswick breaks out odds and ends to stuff inside Mercedes’ most utility-focused mannequin.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 begins at $40,850, together with the $1,050 vacation spot cost. The all-wheel-drive GLB 250 4Matic begins at $42,850. The AMG GLB 35 begins at $52,550.
The GLB provides way more customization than is typical at this worth level. There are the same old packages, together with the $1,750 Premium bundle that provides the pair of 10.25-inch inside shows, however many options like a panoramic sunroof and heated/ventilated entrance seats are stand-alone choices. This implies it may be tough to seek out precisely what you need in inventory at a dealer lot, but it surely additionally signifies that in case you have some persistence, you’ll be able to order precisely what you need and never pay for stuff you don’t.
One other key possibility to think about is the AMG Line bundle that provides distinctive styling parts to the GLB 250. You may see the distinction under with the AMG Line on the proper. The total-blown AMG GLB 35 is then under.
The GLB 250’s commonplace driver help tools consists of ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and a driver inattention monitor. The Driver Help bundle provides a mountain of programs, most of that are higher executed than many comparable programs. These embody lane-keeping help, automated evasive steering help for the blind-spot and ahead collision warning programs, computerized emergency braking for the rear cross-traffic warning system, a better pace threshold for the ahead computerized emergency braking system, automated pace discount based mostly on posted pace limits (you’ll be able to flip this one off like most of those programs), Mercedes’ Pre-Secure pre-crash preparation programs, and Mercedes glorious Distronic adaptive cruise management system with stop-and-go functionality and lane-centering steering help.
Ought to all of that also fail to stop a crash, the NHTSA gave the GLB 4 out of 5 stars for total frontal crash safety, and 5 stars for total facet crash safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn’t examined it.