Monday, October 12, 2020




Introduced a little over a year ago, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 is one of the more practical and stylish SUVs in the luxury class.

It is functional, comfortable, a joy to drive, and offers all the technology expected in today’s top-end vehicles, though you do need to add optional packages to get features like blind-spot assist, larger displays, hands-free liftgate, keyless entry, and adaptive cruise control.

While the interiors of some top-end Mercedes vehicles can be rather intimidating, there’s a “homey” feeling about the GLB250, which makes it ideal for first-time luxury buyers.

The GLB sits between the entry-level GLA and midsize GLC SUV and comes in just two trim levels for 2020, the front-wheel-drive GLB250 and the GLB 4MATIC that features the Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. At 111.4 inches, the wheelbase for the GLB is 5.1 inches longer than that for the GLA and only 1.4 inches shorter than the GLC.

The 182.4-inch GLB is less than an inch shorter than the GLC SUV and offers the option of a third-row for seven-passenger seating, unlike the shorter GLA that checks in with a length of 173.9 inches. Cargo space for the GLB is a generous 20.1cubic feet behind the second row and 62 cubic feet behind the front seats with the second row folded.

This review is based on the front-wheel-drive GLB250.

Whether FWD or AWD, the GLB250 gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that provides enough punch for creditable performance and can be shifted from Eco-Comfort to Sport mode for a bit more lively driving experience. Mercedes reports the zero-to-60 clocking as 6.9 seconds.

With 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the engine is mated to an 8-speed double-clutch automatic transmission and delivers very good EPA ratings for its class of 23 miles-per-gallon city, 30 highway, and 26 combined using premium fuel.

Again, if you want more power, the 2021 AMG GLB35 ups the horsepower and torque numbers to 302 ad 295, respectively, and shaves the zero-to-60 time down to 5.1 seconds. 

The GLB250’s cabin is impeccable with comfortable seats done in simulated leather and adjustable 12 ways with lumbar support. Dual-zone climate control is standard, and standard technology features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The standard 7.7-inch display screen can be expanded to 10.25 inches when the Premium Package is included.

The ride is smooth and quiet as the GLB250 glides down the expressway.  It’s not a particularly sporty ride, but I don’t think you’re going to have many complaints.

The GLB250 FWD starts at $37,495 with the $995 destination charge included with AWD models adding another $2,000. A downside is that a lot of the features that really add to its appeal run that bottom line up considerably.

My well-equipped test GLB250 had a bottom line of $45,010.

What I liked about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250: It’s not overly fun to drive, but it is very comfortable to drive, which isn’t always the case with the more powerful Mercedes-Benz products that demand your full attention. An AMG trimmed-out version is added for 2021 and that ups the performance. The paint scheme is beautiful.

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250
: The operation of the infotainment system is extremely frustrating. Touchpads work well on laptop computers (though I was wary of them at first), but not so much on cars. They are too sensitive and require too much attention to perform the simplest of functions. Options — and you’re going to want the safety features offered in the Premium and Driver Assistance packages — quickly get the cost up from the mid-$30,000 range to mid-$40,000. You can add more and get to the mid-$50,000 if that suits you, too!

Would I buy the the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250? Definitely. It is the right size — spacious and with a nice cargo area— but not too big to be a problem maneuvering in mall parking lots or squiring through city streets. A third-row is available for those with growing families or big car-pooling tasks. Nice looking, too!

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