As the boxy brother to the brand’s fastback GLA-class SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLB-class brings a style all its own to go with its increased practicality. Like the GLA, the GLB250 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and is available in either front- or all-wheel drive guise. A third row of seats is optional—a segment exclusive—but don’t expect to fit full-size humans back there for any length of time; it’s a kid-friendly zone. The GLB benefits from Mercedes-Benz’s latest MBUX infotainment system, offers a digital instrument cluster that’s integrated with the infotainment screen, and can be optioned with all manner of comfort and convenience items. Still, it doesn’t project the same level of luxury as Mercedes’s larger models, such as the GLC-class and GLE-class SUVs.
What’s New for 2021?
Blind spot monitoring is now standard, but otherwise the GLB is unchanged for 2021. Mercedes is launching a high-performance, AMG-branded GLB35 model (reviewed separately) this year.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
There is just one trim level available for the GLB-class, but the 4Matic model adds all-wheel drive for $2000. From there, we’d add heated seats and the Premium package, which includes blind-spot monitoring, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-folding sideview mirrors, keyless entry with push-button start, and dual 10.3-inch digital displays for the infotainment and gauge cluster. There is an AMG Line body kit available, but we’d skip it since it only gives you the looks of a Mercedes-AMG without the performance of one.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Behind the GLB’s big, grille-mounted three-pointed star is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 221 horsepower. The engine is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. At our test track, an all-wheel drive example managed a fairly brisk 6.0-second zero-to-60-mph time. We didn’t find the GLB250 to be particularly sporty, but for an SUV its ride and handling is agreeable and competent.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Front-wheel-drive GLBs carry EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined; the all-wheel-drive version receives the same ratings except for the highway, where it’s estimated to receive 30 mpg. Those numbers are comparable but slightly lower than the EPA-estimated mileage of the BMW X1. On our 75-mile highway fuel economy test route, the GLB250 4Matic out-performed its EPA rating with a 32 mpg result, beating a comparable X1 by 1 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The GLB-class has a very spacious interior, with 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats and 62 cubic feet with those seats folded down, which is almost equal to that of the next-size up BMW X3. The entry-level GLB-class isn’t very well appointed, but it does come standard with power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Heated seats will cost you extra, as will ventilated ones, and a third row of seats is also optional. We expect most buyers will spend money outfitting their GLB250 with popular luxury features such as leather upholstery and interior ambient lighting.
Infotainment and Connectivity
While lacking a robust amount of standard interior equipment, the GLB-class makes up for some of that with its infotainment and technology offerings. A 7.0-inch digital gauge display and 7.0-inch touchscreen both come standard, but dual 10.3-inch screens are part of the Premium package, and a color head-up display is a standalone option. There are plenty of ways to link your phone to the GLB250, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB-C ports, and Bluetooth. If you want to wirelessly charge your phone, a wireless charging pad is a $200 option.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have tested the safety of the GLB250. It comes standard with cruise control, active brake assist, and adaptive braking, and the available safety features include adaptative cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and active blind-spot assist. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-Benz offers warranty coverage that is competitive with its rivals, but it doesn’t offer the same complimentary scheduled maintenance policy as the X1 or the Jaguar E-Pace.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs