2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 4Matic
Class: Premium Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 185
Fuel used: 7.8 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 23.7 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/31/26 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas required
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||A-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||221-hp 2.0-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbo 4-cyl|
|Transmission||8-speed automated manual|
Base price: $38,600 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Black/red-leather upholstery ($1450), natural-grain black linden wood trim ($325), AMG Line sport steering wheel ($360), black 20-inch AMG multi-spoke wheels ($1050), heated and ventilated front seats ($1030), panorama sunroof ($1500), suspension with adjustable damping ($990), SiriusXM satellite radio with free trial period ($460), Burmester surround-sound system ($850), 64-color ambient interior lighting ($310), wireless charging ($200), Driver Assistance Package ($2250), Parking Assistance Package ($1090), Exterior Lighting Package ($900), Multimedia Package ($1150), Night Package ($400), AMG Line Package ($2240), Premium Package ($1650)
Price as tested: $57,800
The great: Fine passenger space within tidy exterior dimensions; luxurious cabin
The good: Crisp acceleration; high-tech dashboard layout and infotainment system
The not so good: Level of standard equipment is rather stingy, and options really drive up the bottom-line price
So, you’re looking for a crossover SUV, small—but not too small—maybe with three rows of seats. It should have all the conveniences you can imagine . . . and pay for. Oh, and it’s got to be a Mercedes-Benz.
This is your lucky year.
The fine folks in Stuttgart have launched a brand-new premium compact crossover for 2020, the GLB, that you can order with 3-row seating and so much tech and comfort stuff that you might need another SUV to help cart it all home. There’s a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, but only one fairly frugal powerteam—at least for now.
Consumer Guide got its first taste of the GLB250 as a 5-passenger 2-row model with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Base price with delivery of such a vehicle is $39,595 (subtract $2000 for front drive but add $850 for two third-row seats). However, the test truck was festooned with enough extras to reach a total retail price of $57,800.
The GLB delivers good interior room within its tidy overall dimensions—it’s 182.4 inches long on a 111.4-inch wheelbase. There was comfortable clearance for passengers’ heads and legs in both rows of the model that CG tested, though there’s only enough room across the rear for two adults. Seats are comfortable and supportive, with leg-supporting cushion extenders in front. Rear seat backs are manually adjustable for optimal comfort.
In back, the cargo area doesn’t look all that big at first glance, but the 22-cubic-foot space is fairly squared off, maximizing its usefulness. (We’ll guess that the need to accommodate three seating rows ruled out any notions of rakish roof and tailgate designs that would reduce load space.) The second-row 40/20/40 rear seats fold flat with the cargo floor, adding another 40 cubic feet of capacity, but with a small gap between the surfaces. The cargo bay has tie-down hooks, with straps and net pouches to contain small items. There’s a 12-volt power point for added convenience.
The GLB250 powertrain is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed automated-manual transmission. Rated at 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the powerplant is more than good enough for alert around-town driving and safe, swift highway operation while in default “Comfort” mode. “Sport” makes it perceptibly quicker answering accelerator inputs, while the automated manual really stands its ground against upshifts—so much so that it’s almost annoying at low speeds, where it can keep the engine revving a little shy of the shift point as you’re trying to be a responsible citizen on the streets of your neighborhood. The EPA expects the GLB250 4MATIC to make 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 26 in combined operation; we averaged 23.7 mpg over 185 miles of driving, 60 percent of which was in city-type conditions.
Summoning Sport mode conjures up a ride firm enough to let in some jolts you might not feel in Comfort, but it is better controlled. (Note that the test vehicle was equipped with extra-cost 20-inch wheels and adjustable-damping suspension.) The CLB250 handles smoothly with good response to steering inputs, and braking action is good too.
Among the standard-equipment features not replaced by options on CG’s tester were:
- LED headlamps and taillamps
- power liftgate
- aluminum roof rails
- power driver’s seat with 3-position memory
- dual-zone automatic climate control
- 4-way manually adjustable steering column
- heated power side mirrors
- illuminated entry system
- 3 years of Mercedes me connect services
- remote starting (via Mercedes me mobile app)
- SmartKey with push-button starting
- Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment with voice control and touchpad controller
- five USB-C ports
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility
- hands-free Bluetooth interface and audio streaming
- HD radio
Heated and ventilated leather seats (in place of MB-Tex upholstery), satellite radio, and wireless charging are among extra-cost items that might be built in to some luxury-nameplate vehicles. Also available (as part of a $2250 Driver Assistance Package) are features such as Active Steering Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Lane Change and Active Lane Keeping assists, Active Blind Spot Assist, and Active Emergency Stop Assist.
As equipped, there was a premium look and feel to the cabin with the aforementioned red-and-black leather and optional natural-grain lindenwood trim. There’s no skimping on soft-to-the-touch surfaces in the cabin, including the entire upper half of the dash and all four doors. Cabin storage alternatives are a decently-sized glove box, modest console box with split-top armrest lid, net pouches on the front-passenger side of the floor tunnel and on the backs of the front seats, and four door pockets with bottle holders. Exposed cup holders are set in the console and the pull-down rear armrest.
The Premium Package that was installed in CG’s tester brought in a massive screen with a digital instrument cluster and center display for infotainment that are 10.25 inches apiece. Thumb buttons on the steering-wheel spokes control the driver-information functions, but the touchpad on the console and surrounding buttons reign over a complex audio/nav/app display. This reviewer set up audio presets without much fuss, but using the pad to move around the screen requires more attention than a driver should be devoting to it. Separate climate controls have lots of buttons, including repetitive flipper switches for temperature selection.
If you are in fact looking for a well-turned-out and useful SUV like the one described at the start, bring your dreams—and a bit of cash—to the Mercedes store. You’ll find what you want.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 Gallery
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250
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