2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250: Pint-sized Practicality

2020 mercedes benz glb 250 pint sized practicality

There’s a new occupant in Mercedes-Benz’s cavernous utility vehicle stable, and, like so many vehicles debuting in 2019, it’s a tweener. As the name implies, the 2020 GLB fits between the subcompact GLA and compact GLC, offering tidy proportions and the versatility that comes with optional third-row seats.

Three-row seating is not something you’re likely to find in this small class of vehicle, and it’s a feature Mercedes-Benz is counting on to drive interest and sales.

A global model, the GLB unsurprisingly bears a remarkable resemblance to the Concept GLB that appeared in Shanghai earlier this year. Beneath the vehicle is the front-drive platform found under the new A-Class and CLA sedans.

While the “B” in the model’s name signifies its position in the brand’s SUV lineup, it may as well stand for “boxy.” An upright stance and blunt front end greets customers, with M-B clearly attempting to avoid a cute ute label while maximizing interior volume. The GLB’s 111.4-inch wheelbase falls much closer to that of the GLC, with only a 1.7-inch difference between the two. The GLA’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches shorter.

Overall, the GLB is only an inch shorter than its larger stablemate.

Until AMG’s tuners get their hands on the thing, your only engine choice is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder borrowed from the CLA 250, mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. Power is unchanged at 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. 4Matic all-wheel drive is an option, and buyers who spring for that can expect to tailor their torque delivery via three drive modes. As the company’s Off-Road Engineering package comes standard on AWD models, hill-descent control will be there to tempt owners away from the beaten path.

Of course, off-roading will not be high on most buyers’ to-do lists. Space is what M-B wants to talk about. In five-passenger guise, the GLB’s reclining rear seats can move forward and aft by six inches, with the rear cargo hold measured at 20 cubic feet. Move the seats forward, and cargo volume expands to 26 cubes.

In the absence of cargo figures for the seven-seater, we can safely assume buyers will be able to fit a pizza back there if they stand it on its edge.

Elsewhere, the GLB’s cabin continued the upright theme seen on the exterior. The dash is mainly flat, adorned by a trio of vents in the center stack, a thick slice of aluminum over the glove box, and a dual-screen setup. Not over-and-under screens, mind you — side by side, replacing the traditional gauge cluster. Twin 7-inch screens come standard, with 10.3-inch units optional, each running M-B’s MBUX operating system.

Pricing remains a mystery, but the model’s tweener status demands a comfortable gap between it and the GLC’s $40,700 entry price. The 2020 GLC 250 heads to dealers by the end of the year.

[Images: Daimler AG]

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  • Newenthusiast Newenthusiast on Jun 12, 2019

    If you're going to spend 45k+ and don't want a van, and NEED 3 rows even occasionally, why not an Acura MDX? Buick Enclave? Highlander? Lincoln Aviator? All are choices with more room. I'm pretty sure long term operating costs will be lower to boot in all cases. If you are tied to this footprint however...I guess short of a low mileage used Mazda 5 or a Dodge Journey (actually, Wikipedia says the Dodge is longer), there isn't much else with 3 rows...so badge snob appeal?

  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Jun 12, 2019

    For those who need/want a third row but cannot afford the GLS!

  • EBFlex "I'd add to that right now, demand is higher than supply, so basic business rules say to raise the price."Demand is very low. Supply is even lower. Saying that demand is outstripping supply without providing context is dishonest at best.
  • IBx1 Took them long enough to make the dashboard look halfway decent in one of their small trucks.
  • Mcs You're right. I'd add to that right now, demand is higher than supply, so basic business rules say to raise the price. The battery tech is rapidly changing too. A battery tech in production today probably won't be what you're using in 2 years. In 4 years, something different. Lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Now cobalt and in some cases nickel isn't needed. New materials like prussian blue might need to be sourced. New sources might mean investing in mines. LMFP batteries from CATL are entering production this year and are a 15% to 20% improvement in density over current LFP closing the density gap with NCA and NCM batteries. So, more cars should be able to use LMFP than were able to use LFP. That will lower costs to automakers, but I doubt they'll pass it on. I think when the order backlogs are gone we'll stop seeing the increases. Especially once Tesla's backlog goes away. They have room to cut prices on the Model Y and once they start accumulating unsold vehicles at the factory lot, that price will come tumbling down.
  • Acd Fifteen hundred bucks for OnStar makes some of the crap Southeast Toyota Distributors and Gulf States Toyota forces their customers to buy seem like a deal.
  • EBFlex Remember when Ford was all self pleasuring about the fake lightning starting under $40k? We all knew it was BS then and that Ford was taking a massive loss just to make that happen. This solidifies that.