Professionals: Enormous house and nice mpg for its phase; high-style inside; spunky AMG 35
Cons: Infotainment system can overwhelm
Most small luxurious SUVs are tough to suggest. They’re often too small, too chintzy and too unrefined for the costs they command. We’d usually suggest getting a well-equipped and extra spacious non-luxury SUV as a substitute. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is an exception. It’s distinctive, versatile and trendy in a approach that its rivals usually are not. It could begin north of $40,000, but it surely appears, feels and performs prefer it ought to price that a lot. There’s precise worth past that fancy three-pointed emblem, and we totally suggest it in consequence.
A giant motive for the GLB’s transcendent attraction is its extra-large measurement for the phase and extra-boxy form. Add within the versatility of a sliding again seat, and you’ve got a subcompact SUV with a midsize SUV’s inside house. We had been shocked by how much its cargo area could swallow. Nevertheless, moreover the cabin’s packaging, its placing design stands out in a phase that always comes throughout as a bit low cost. The daring rotary air vents and fairly dual-screen infotainment system carry quite a lot of the load, however supplies high quality is healthier than common for the phase, too. And though the GLB is certainly constructed to a worth on much less refined bones than its pricier, extra refined GLC sibling, we predict it is a drop-off that is greater than honest for the value. In reality, we will simply see somebody fortunately selecting a GLB over a GLC simply because they prefer it higher, with saving cash as a bonus. We won’t say the identical factor a few BMW X1, Audi Q3, Lexus UX and even the Mercedes-Benz GLA.
What’s new for 2023?
The GLB is unchanged for 2023, however its all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQB sibling does debut.
Mercedes-Benz put fairly a little bit of thought into the GLB’s inside packaging. It offers lots of clever storage in both the passenger cabin and cargo area, making it extra sensible than most luxurious choices on this phase (and certainly many others). The GLB’s driving place is great, and its front- and second-row seats are snug and supportive with loads of adjustment.
The GLB is on the cheap facet for a Mercedes-Benz, however the high quality of supplies and out there choices are on par or higher for expectations at this worth level. The fancier choices will drive up the value, in fact, however even the elemental parts are high-quality and exact.
Each GLB consists of the final iteration of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment suite, which is managed by your alternative of a central touchscreen (7 inch normal, 10.25 inch out there), heart console touchpad, steering wheel controls and natural-language instructions. Whereas we like this “have it your approach strategy” and respect this method’s speedy responses and fairly graphics, it simply is not straightforward to make use of. Having solely three icons on the house display results in far an excessive amount of swiping and clicking, many icons are too small and the identical color because the background, and there is fairly frankly simply an awesome variety of capabilities to manage and settings to vary.
The GLB’s wheelbase is nearer to that of many midsize choices, and its total size exceeds that of most rivals. You do not actually discover this behind the wheel – it nonetheless feels fairly small – and this further size mixed with the boxy design ends in the GLB being a cargo-hauling rockstar. On paper, Mercedes says the GLB provides 24 cubic ft with the second-row seats up, however in actuality, there’s really way over that quantity would indicate. Its rear load flooring might be lowered to accommodate bigger gadgets, however even with the ground in its normal place, the GLB can swallow extra cargo than crossovers within the greater, pricier compact phase.
This further size interprets into tons of second-row house, the place passengers will discover sliding and reclining seats for further consolation (you aren’t getting these within the mechanically associated GLA). The mix of fold-down seatbacks and sliding bases can be exploited for added cargo house if the roomy hatch alone is not going to suffice, making the GLB a versatility rockstar, too.
The GLB additionally has out there third-row seating, which its smaller rivals and even these within the bigger compact class lack. We suppose this feature would not damage, however these optionally available rearmost seats simply aren’t that liveable, even for teenagers. We would skip them or get a non-luxury three-row car for a similar worth.
The GLB 250 title signifies that the GLB in query has the bottom engine: a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That is on-par for its phase. It has an eight-speed dual-clutch automated handbook transmission. Entrance-wheel drive is normal and with it, the GLB is rated at 24 mpg metropolis, 32 mpg freeway and 27 mpg mixed. The optionally available 4Matic all-wheel-drive system knocks these scores right down to 22/30/25 mpg, respectively. Mercedes-Benz says the GLB 250 will do 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. That is respectable for a CUV of this measurement.
The Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 additionally has a 2.0-liter turbo, but it surely’s been labored over by Mercedes’ AMG tuning division to supply 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It’ll hit 60 in 5.1 seconds. The eight-speed DCT and normal all-wheel drive are additionally particular AMG variations. Gas financial system estimates for 2023 weren’t out there on the time of this writing, however needs to be roughly the identical as these for 2022: 20 mpg metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 22 mpg mixed.
There’s technically an electrical GLB out there, though it’s formally referred to as the Mercedes-Benz EQB. You may learn our EQB first drive review here.
The GLB 250 is extra about luxurious and luxury than efficiency. Due to its lengthy wheelbase and supple suspension, it delivers in spades for this phase. The optionally available adaptive suspension will tighten up the dealing with on demand, however even with that choice that we’re guessing will hardly ever present up on dealer tons, the GLB 250 by no means rises to the extent of “enjoyable to drive.” That is completely OK, although – it would not must be. As for what’s underneath the hood, the GLB 250’s normal four-cylinder supplies loads of punch however does come off slightly thrashy in comparison with what you will expertise in pricier Benz fashions. Certainly, total refinement is the place the GLB reveals its lower cost tag. The experience, steering, throttle and transmission response, and driving expertise usually are fairly merely much less refined, but it surely’s a discount that is a minimum of commensurate with that price ticket and truly not as nice as what you will discover lacking within the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and others within the phase.
As for the AMG GLB 35, it’s legitimately enjoyable even when it doesn’t fairly attain the extent of “extra-tall hot hatch” as the smaller GLA 35 does. The bigger footprint and additional tallness lead to it being not almost as agile or darty. Nonetheless, just like the GLA and different AMG 35 fashions, the GLB 35 is simply “on” from the second you pop it into Drive. The snappy and fast eight-speed dual-clutch automated transmission cracks off upshifts with a pop that accentuates and underlines each shift. Certainly, the extent of drama and added theater encourages a heavy proper foot. And because of its AMG-tuned chassis, you possibly can nonetheless fortunately hustle this little crossover round a winding highway. With the Sport drive mode chosen, physique motions are properly managed with the stiffness and sharpness you’d anticipate from an AMG. Steering response is a bit numb, although, and its weighting isn’t as sharp as different AMG 35s.
What different Mercedes-Benz GLB evaluations can I learn?
Take a more in-depth have a look at the 302-horsepower, AMG-tuned GLB that injects a spunky quantity of enjoyable into what’s in any other case a surprisingly smart small SUV.
Our preliminary drive of the GLB options extra particulars about its design and engineering. It actually hasn’t modified a lot since then.
Neglect the official numbers. The boxy and versatile GLB punches above its weight class. All of these things matches within the cargo space.
West Coast Editor James Riswick breaks out odds and ends to stuff inside Mercedes’ most utility-focused mannequin.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 begins at $40,850, together with the $1,050 vacation spot cost. The all-wheel-drive GLB 250 4Matic begins at $42,850. The AMG GLB 35 begins at $52,550.
The GLB provides way more customization than is typical at this worth level. There are the standard packages, together with the $1,750 Premium package deal that provides the pair of 10.25-inch inside shows, however many options like a panoramic sunroof and heated/ventilated entrance seats are stand-alone choices. This implies it may be tough to search out precisely what you need in inventory at a dealer lot, but it surely additionally signifies that in case you have some endurance, you possibly can order precisely what you need and never pay for stuff you don’t.
One other key choice to think about is the AMG Line package deal that provides distinctive styling components to the GLB 250. You may see the distinction under with the AMG Line on the proper. The total-blown AMG GLB 35 is then under.
The GLB 250’s normal driver help gear consists of ahead collision warning with automated emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and a driver inattention monitor. The Driver Help package deal provides a mountain of methods, most of that are higher executed than many comparable methods. These embody lane-keeping help, automated evasive steering help for the blind-spot and ahead collision warning methods, automated emergency braking for the rear cross-traffic warning system, the next pace threshold for the ahead automated emergency braking system, automated pace discount based mostly on posted pace limits (you possibly can flip this one off like most of those methods), Mercedes’ Pre-Secure pre-crash preparation methods, and Mercedes wonderful Distronic adaptive cruise management system with stop-and-go functionality and lane-centering steering help.
Ought to all of that also fail to forestall a crash, the NHTSA gave the GLB 4 out of 5 stars for total frontal crash safety, and 5 stars for total facet crash safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn’t examined it.