2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 Review & Test Drive — One...Edmunds.com
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It's not often that Edmunds editors are caught off guard, but the all-new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 did exactly that. Senior Reviews Editor Mark Takahashi logged several hundred miles behind the wheel of the GLB and ended up as surprised as he was impressed by the new small SUV. With pleasant driving dynamics, smart packaging and loads of technology, it handily beats everything in the luxury subcompact crossover class and even challenges the top-ranked Mercedes GLC in the next largest segment.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Review
The new Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is an all-new crossover SUV that slots in between the subcompact GLA and the larger GLC. Initially, we questioned whether this sort of half-size between segments was really necessary. But after spending considerable time with the GLB, we're glad it exists on a number of levels.
The GLB sets itself apart from other SUVs in the Mercedes stable with its upright, boxy shape that faintly mimics the larger and pricier G-Class. The proportions and lower ride height make it seem smaller than it is. In reality, it's closer in size to the GLC.
The 2020 GLB 250 finds a seemingly perfect middle ground between the too-small subcompact crossover class and SUVs such as the GLC. Taking into account that the GLB costs $5,900 less than the GLC, we consider it a best-in-class contender. With an available third row of seats — a rarity — the GLB is one of the most versatile vehicles in any class.
Around town, the Mercedes GLB gathers speed smoothly and predictably. It hesitates just a bit if you mash the gas from a stop, but that's quickly followed by pleasing acceleration. Mercedes estimates the GLB 250 will accelerate to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which means it gets up to speed confidently without feeling as though you're putting undue stress on the drive components.
Handling isn't what we'd consider sporty or fun, but it's capable and it instills driver confidence. Based on our initial testing, our main takeaway is that the GLB is impressively easy to drive. For the expected GLB buyer, we contend that's more important.
The GLB's boxy shape does wonders for interior volume compared to the more fluidly styled vehicles in the Mercedes lineup. There's a sense of vertical space in the front seats that reminds us of the cavernous G-wagen. The tall windows add to the airy sensation.
The rear seats are curiously less accommodating. The seat cushions are mounted lower to the floor, reducing thigh support for adult-size passengers. Rear headroom is also noticeably lower, though it's still suitable for taller occupants. Unfortunately, we did not get any exposure to the available third-row seats, but it's a fair assumption that they're only suitable for small children.
The GLB 250 garners high praise for driver and front passenger comfort. In our initial testing, we drove the GLB for about eight hours on the highway, and fatigue never set in. Notably, the optional multicontour seats with heating and ventilation are some of the most comfortable we've experienced over long distances. A rudimentary massage function frequently alters the angle of the seatback and cushion to shift your contact points. The moves are subtle but effective.
The cockpit's general layout and design are very similar to the A-Class', upon which the GLB is based. A wide pane of glass houses two displays that are placed right in the driver's field of view to reduce distraction. Mercedes' industry-leading MBUX infotainment system remains our favorite for its numerous features and ease of use. Lending some industrial heft to the interior styling are some chunky trim elements with brushed metal-like finishes.
Despite GLB's impression of a small footprint, its cargo capacity is huge. At its maximum with the rear seats stowed, there are 62 cubic feet to fill. That drops to a still impressive 56.7 cubic feet if you add the third-row seats, still larger than the GLC. A low liftover height and standard power liftgate make loading big bulky objects easy. The second-row seatbacks have no remote releases, so you have to open the rear doors and tug on a nylon strap near the seat-belt buckles to fold the seats down flat.
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