What does an automaker do once they've built a crossover for every established market segment? Create more segments, and fill those segments with more crossovers. Introducing the all-new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class, a crossover designed to straddle the brand's compact and subcompact GLC-Class and GLA-Class.
With a squared-off look and a more rugged persona, the GLB-Class intends to channel its inner G-wagen for those buyers who love that look but can't stomach that model's six-figure price.
Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class
At launch, the GLB-Class is only available in a single trim: GLB 250. Pricing starts at $37,595 including destination.
The Mercedes GLB-Class features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is available for another $2,000.
The new model earns an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 26 combined with FWD. Selecting AWD actually increases highway efficiency to 31 mpg.
While there's only the one engine for now, we're doubtful this will be the case for long. AMG, the in-house tuning arm of Mercedes, has a propensity for hot-rodding nearly everything put out by the Three-Pointed Star, and it wouldn't be surprising if they turned their talents to the GLB as well. Keep an eye out for an AMG GLB in the next year or two.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
Despite its diminutive size – it's only 182 inches long – the GLB can seat up to seven people, though a five-passenger layout is standard. Adding a third row is an $850 option, and it's relatively workable thanks to the upright proportions, 111-inch wheelbase, and the fact that the second-row seats have 6 inches of fore and aft adjustment. There's up to 38 inches of legroom in the second row and 29 inches in the third row.
If you stick with the two-row model, cargo capacity sits at 20 cubic feet with the second row in place and in the most rearward position; pulling them fully forward brings an additional six cubes of space. Fold down the second row entirely, and there's 62 cubic feet of total cargo capacity.
Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and a driver attention monitor, but any other driver-assist features are only available as one of two option packages.
The Driver Assistance Package ($2,250) adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, active and evasive steering assist, and more. The Parking Assistance Package ($1,090) is also an option, which brings a surround-view camera system and an automated parking system. Blind-spot monitoring is a $550 standalone option.
Standard on the GLB-Class is the brand's MBUX infotainment system that's controlled through the 7-inch touchscreen. It can also be operated with a touchpad controller on the steering wheel or via voice activation. Four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and HD radio are also standard.
The driver instrument cluster is an-all digital, 7-inch affair dominated by an analog-style speedometer but with multiple menus available for more specialized information.
If you want all the latest tech, the Premium Package ($2,200) is a must. It swaps out the 7-inch screens for 10.25-inch units, and also includes blind-spot monitoring, auto-dimming side and rearview mirrors, and keyless entry and start.
Navigation is bundled with a speed limit assist system in the Multimedia Package ($1,150). Other optional technology includes a $1,100 head-up display and $200 wireless charging.
The only model at present is the GLB 250, available with or without 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Standard features include power front seats with three-position memory, dual-zone climate control, a power liftgate, and remote start. The brand's famous MB-Tex upholstery is also standard, as is a drive mode selector with three different pre-set driving modes.
If you want a sportier look, the AMG Line appearance group is $2,600. It includes a unique grille, 19-inch AMG wheels, different fascias, sport seats and steering wheel, and leather upholstery.
Besides the aforementioned options and packages, there's still plenty that Mercedes will charge you for. A panorama roof is $1,500, heated front seats are $580, a heated steering wheel is $250, a 12-speaker Burmester audio system is $850, and adaptive dampers are $990.
Leather upholstery is also available, but most color combos come only with the AMG Line. The two leathers that are available with the standard look require upgrading to the heated seats.
With all the options, it's easy to push the price of the 2020 Mercedes GLB-Class deep into GLC-Class territory. To keep the cost in check, we'd stick limit our extras to the Premium Package, heated seats, and the Burmester audio system. It'll make for a tech-laden car with a bumping sound system that doesn't break the bank.