If we were to look at the three major German luxury brands on a spectrum with “comfort” on one end and “sporty” on the other, we would put BMW on the sporty end, Audi in the middle, and Mercedes-Benz on the comfort end.
With the exception of the AMG models, Mercedes cars and SUVs have always been known for having a comfortable ride and elegant accouterments and the new GLB crossover is no exception. It exudes what the brand has always represented, but is it worth buying over its more sporty competitors?
It fills a void
The Mercedes GLB is a newcomer in the luxury subcompact crossover segment and competes with the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and the Volvo XC40. In the Mercedes line, it slots in between the wagon-like GLA and the bigger GLC SUV, and while it’s in an inch shorter than the latter, it’s available with an optional third row.
Mercedes built the GLB with the intention of creating a compact SUV that’s versatile, has exceptional safety, and an intuitive infotainment system. As we said before, luxury and comfort are what this brand capitalizes on and this entry-level SUV is indicative of that.
The exterior styling on the GLB is taken mostly from its GLE stablemate. The boxier dimensions and design elements were possibly utilized to give more in-cabin space, unlike its smaller, more curvaceous GLA little brother. Either way, we think that the GLB’s aesthetics fit the car perfectly and even fits right in with others in the segment.
A la carte options
In true Mercedes fashion, the GLB comes well-equipped with what you need as standard equipment, however, if you want simple features like heated seats or sunroof, then you’ll have to check some boxes on the options list. However, you do get power front seats, LED headlights, Apple Carplay, the voice-activated MBUX system, a 7-inch digital instrument panel, and center touchscreen, and a power tailgate as standard equipment.
While some options, like a sunroof, can be optioned out separately, opting for the Premium package will include a lot of coveted features like a larger 10.25-inch instrument panel and touchscreen, blind-spot assist, and power-folding mirrors.
If you want driver-assist features like adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, and automatic braking, then you’ll need to select the Driver Assist package. The GLB takes driver assistance a step further in that its cameras can monitor the road ahead up to 1,641 feet and drive semi-autonomously during certain situations.
And lastly, for those looking to spice up their GLB with a more aggressive look, then choosing the AMG package will add an AMG grille, aluminum shift paddles, a sportier steering wheel, vented front brakes, and AMG 19-inch wheels. For a sportier look, check the box for the AMG Night package which blacks out the exterior trim.
There is only one engine choice for the Mercedes GLB and it’s a lot like those found in its class rivals. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is nearly identical to the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. As for fuel economy, the GLB achieves 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
Is it worth buying?
According to Kelley Blue Book, the GLB provides a quiet ride with “natural-effort steering and powerful brakes.” U.S News echoed their statements, noting that the GLB provides a comfortable ride that’s not sporty, but does soak up road imperfections well. That doesn’t surprise us, after all, we did say that Mercedes tends to capitalize on comfort.
As far as pricing, the GLB starts at around $36,000, but optioned up with all-wheel drive and all those packages can actually get the price up into the $50,000 range. That is much higher than its Audi and BMW competitors, and considering you can get the same type of features that they offer, we would say that’s a hefty price to pay.
However, we will say that Mercedes has always done right when it comes to comfort, supreme fit and finish, and utterly elegant designs, so in that case, if you have the mean, we would say that the new GLB is definitely worth the look and most likely worth buying.