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The Mercedes GLB 250 and BMW X1 xDrive 28i are similar. They both start at about $40,000. They both have a small, powerful, and efficient turbocharged engine. Both hold lots of stuff, are super popular, and have badges on the grill that impress the neighbors. But, the GLB has one big advantage over the X1.

The Mercedes-Benz GLB has a third row

GLB SUV third row
The GLB has an optional third row | Mercedes-Benz

SUVs are great at hauling people and stuff, that’s their purpose, really. But when you’re really looking to haul people, take a look at the 2023 Mercedes GLB250. For an additional $850 bucks you can add two fold-flat seats to the way back of the GLB 250. Sure, they’re not huge, but in a pinch, they’re the perfect accessory for when the whole team needs to go for ice cream.

The BMW X1 is larger, both longer and wider, after a 2023 update. But, it still seats just five. To get a third row, you need to step up the X3, which is a larger vehicle with a price to match. The X3 costs about $7,000 more than the X1, and about $5,000 more than a GLB.

Is the Mercedes GLB a luxury car?

The least satisfying luxury SUVs of 2023 include this 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB
A 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB | Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes GLB packs in a lot of the luxury features that buyers want. It is Mercedes’ second-smallest SUV, and it’s noticeably but not appreciably smaller than the GLC, but has more room than the GLA. It still has the good looks of Mercedes’ other SUVs, especially inside. The cabin of the 2023 GLB 250 has five turbine-like vents, a cool gray aluminum dash with carbon-like trim, and one giant screen that spans from the driver’s cluster to the center stack.

The 2023 GLB 250 starts at $39,800 in a two-wheel drive version. For about $3,000 more you can add Mercedes’ all-wheel drive to it, and that’s the only trim option. It has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 221 horsepower, and that’s tied to a quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. While it’s not quick or sporty, this SUV leans more towards coddling passengers in lots of leather, stylish trim, with lots of new MB tech.

The 2023 BMW X1 is larger inside and out

Front angle view of orange 2023 BMW X1
2023 BMW X1 | BMW

For 2023, the cheapest BMW SUV, the BMW X1 xDrive28i, got a complete redesign. In that redesign, the X1 gained a couple inches in length and width. That extra size doesn’t just mean more room inside, though it does mean that, it also means that the smallest BMW SUV also gains a bit more handling prowess.

For 2023, the updated X1 now only has one engine option and it starts at less than $40,000. That may sound like a bummer, but the 241-horsepower four-cylinder makes 241 horsepower and can take this little SUV to 60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds, according to Car and Driver. It’s also rated at 28 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, which are fairly impressive numbers considering this is an all-wheel drive SUV.

The X1 does have one advantage over the GLB, however: every X1 comes with xDrive, which means all-wheel drive is standard.