The all-new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is an unusual small luxury SUV crossover. Size-wise, it’s one step up from the company’s smallest GLA-Class but one step below the generally compact GLC-Class. Only to be expected, we guess, with a name like GLB-Class. However, that’s not what’s responsible for the vehicle’s atypical approach.
It’s the optional third seating row that makes the GLB stand out. In a crossover of this size, it’s a rarity. And crossovers of this size are a rarity. But it all works.
Although legroom in the third row is best suited to tweens or younger persons, Mercedes-Benz does make the effort with headroom. Take a look at the profile and you’ll see that the roofline remains virtually horizontal, right up to the lift gate’s hinges. No coupe influence here.
Cargo space is also useful because of this shape. The GLB can swallow some substantial pieces of furniture or several flat packs. It’s undoubtedly practical. It’s also luxurious.
In addition to fine materials (which haven’t always been a strong suit in smaller, less expensive offerings from Mercedes-Benz), the GLB comes with many standard features while offering some great optional technology. For example, a new generation of infotainment system known as MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) recognizes voice commands given in natural speech. Say, “Hey, Mercedes, I’m cold,” and the system will raise the temperature in the cabin. This is included in the basic price.
Another cool feature is the optional augmented video with the navigation system. Using images from a front-facing camera, it then adds arrows and other relevant information.
The GLB-Class is affordable for what it is while continuing the tradition of excellent SUV crossovers from Mercedes-Benz.
What’s New for 2020?
The GLB-Class is a completely new model. See the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class models for sale near you
What We Like
- High-quality, well-considered cabin
- Fuel efficient
- Luxurious ride
- Plenty of tech available
What We Don’t
- Infotainment system needs more time than usual for familiarization
- Options can be costly
$37,595 to $39,595
A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine propels the GLB-Class with 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is the default arrangement, while the GLB 250 4Matic has all-wheel drive. The transmission is an 8-speed dual-clutch automated unit (to the driver, it looks like a regular automatic). A stop/start function helps save fuel while idling.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption for the FWD model at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving. With AWD, the figures are 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.
Standard Features and Options
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class comes in GLB 250 and GLB 250 4Matic versions.
The GLB 250 ($37,595) has 18-in alloy wheels, fog lights, LED headlights/daytime running lights/taillights, aluminum roof rails, rain-sensing wipers with an automatic sweep of the rear wiper in reverse gear, forward-collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, push-button start, remote start, selectable driving modes, 7-in digital driver information display, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, 8-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, slide and recline second-row seats with 40/20/40 split fold action, powered lift gate, Adaptive Braking Technology (with hill-start assist and automatic brake drying), MBUX infotainment system with a touchpad and a 7-in touchscreen, natural speed voice control, Bluetooth phone and audio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, HD radio and four USB-C ports.
The GLB 250 4Matic ($39,595) adds AWD with an off-road engineering package that includes a dedicated driving mode, off-road display and downhill speed regulation.
Third-row seating is optional, making the GLB-Class a 7-seater.
It’s worth selecting the Premium package ($2,200) to add keyless entry and ignition, hands-free lift gate operation, blind spot monitoring, self-dimming rearview and driver’s-side mirrors and dual 10.25-in screens for the driver and infotainment system.
The Driver Assistance package brings many of the highly regarded and sometimes innovative driver aids and safety features, such as evasive steering assistance, cross-traffic braking, active lane-keeping assist, route-based speed adaption and adaptive cruise control with stop/go. The Parking Assistance package has a self-parking function for parallel and perpendicular spaces, 360-degree camera system and front and rear parking sensors.
The Multimedia package includes navigation with augmented video.
Other extras include 19-in/20-in alloy wheels, AMG cosmetic details, sport front seats, panoramic sunroof, adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, Wi-Fi, wireless charging, heated and ventilated multi-contour front seats, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, multi-color ambient LED cabin lighting, head-up display and a 12-speaker/590-watt Burmester surround-sound system.
Maximum cargo capacity is 62 cu ft. in a 2-row version of the GLB-Class with the rear seats folded. Behind that row is 20 cu ft. of luggage area.
The 2020 GLB-Class has nine airbags (including side airbags for the second row), crosswind assist, driver attention monitoring and the Mercedes-Benz emergency call service as standard.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have yet to crash-test the new GLB-Class, but it took a top 5-star overall score from the Euro NCAP process.
Behind the Wheel
From rough city roads to those nasty stretches of concrete freeway, the GLB glides over them all. The optional adaptive suspension offers more in the way of sporty handling, but the excellent standard setup makes comfort its priority.
Engine output is sturdy and able to motivate this machine smoothly and decisively. If Mercedes-Benz eventually makes an AMG variant, great, but the GLB 250 works well enough for what’s required in everyday driving.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Land Rover Discovery — The Discovery has an optional third row available, and it has excellent off-road abilities.
Used Acura MDX — Some people prefer Japanese luxury vehicles. The 3-row MDX is definitely that, with many standard features at a reasonable price — and with a 290-hp V6. Take a look at Acura’s certified pre-owned program.
It will depend on locality whether or not AWD is a must-have. We recommend the Driver Assistance and Premium packages, plus the Burmester surround-sound system. Find a Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class for sale