SUVs continue to dominate the new car market, with luxury brands now cashing in on the craze by developing models to slot into any segment you could possible imagine.
Until now, Mercedes-Benz hasn’t really has a car in Australia offering true 5+2 capability – that’s five seats, plus two occasional use seats – that didn’t force buyers to spend big on a GLE or a GLS.
Meet the solution. The new Mercedes-Benz GLB sits on the MFA2 platform, shared with the A-, B-, CLA- and GLA-Class vehicles.
It measures 4634mm long, 1658mm tall and 1834mm wide, which makes it 20mm shorter and 14mm taller than the GLC – which is funny because the GLC isn’t available with seven seats.
With a new range that kicks off with the entry-level GLB 200 and includes a warmed up AMG version, is the GLB the ultimate seven-seat luxury SUV for families on an entry-level luxury budget?
How much does the Mercedes-Benz GLB250 cost?
The Mexican-built GLB range kicks off with the GLB200, which is priced from $59,900 before on-road costs.
Next up is the car tested here, the GLB250, which costs $73,900 before on-roads. Finally there’s the Mercedes-AMG GLB35, which costs $88,900 before on-roads.
There are eight colours to choose from, including one unique to the GLB for the moment called Galaxy Blue. All colours aside from solid white and black are an additional $1490.
We’ve gone through pricing in detail with our 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB pricing and specifications story.
In terms of options, you can pick from the Driver Assistance Package ($1990, semi-autonomous driving with lane-change assistant), Vision Package ($1190, 360-degree camera, matrix LED headlights) and Communications Package ($2490, head-up display, 12-speaker premium sound system).
There’s also the Exclusive Package ($2990, leather seats with cooling, open-pore wood trim), AMG Exclusive Package ($2490, like the Exclusive Package with more AMG), Night Package ($990, privacy glass and black highlights) and the Sports Package ($1990, AMG wheels, night package, AMG highlights).
What do you get?
Mercedes-Benz has equipped the GLB range and specifically the GLB250 with a high level of standard equipment.
Outside it features 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive dampers, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, and automatic headlights.
Inside you’ll find Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment system, which consists of two 10.25-inch screens, fake leather seats, electric seat adjustment with memory, seat heating for the first row, radar cruise control, LED ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear vision mirror, wireless phone charging, and a nine-speaker sound system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In terms of options, we’d recommend checking out the Sports Package and Communications Package. The head-up display is sorely missed, and can’t be added without ticking one of the options packages.
Is the Mercedes-Benz GLB250 safe?
The Mercedes-Benz GLB was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 and scored five stars, with its rating matched by ANCAP at the same time.
The GLB picked up a 92 per cent adult occupant rating, an 88 per cent child occupant rating, a 78 per cent vulnerable road user safety rating, and a 76 per cent safety assist score.
Read more details about the crash test and the results on the ANCAP website.
Standard safety features include low- and high-speed autonomous emergency braking with vulnerable road user detection, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and curtain airbags covering all three rows of occupants.
What is the Mercedes-Benz GLB250 like on the inside?
We love it when a car makes a big first impression. The GLB does that when you open the door, immediately presenting you with a nicely laid-out interior with two 10.25-inch screens highlighting the level of technology strewn throughout the cabin.
The two screens feature MBUX, which is the latest Mercedes-Benz infotainment system. It’s controlled using steering wheel controls, as a touchscreen, or using a touchpad on the centre tunnel.
It’s fast, looks good, and is easy to use. It’s not quite as sharp as BMW iDrive, but it’s a huge step forward from COMAND, which was the outgoing Mercedes-Benz infotainment system.
While there’s wireless phone charging, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto require a wired connection through USB-C. Speaking of which, there are seven USB-C ports throughout the cabin with three up front, two in the second row, and two in the third row.
The voice recognition system built into the infotainment is excellent and capable of taking commands to call phone contacts, accept full navigation addresses, and interacting with the Mercedes-Benz connectivity service Mercedes Me.
In addition to the car’s infotainment system, the voice recognition can send commands directly through to your phone’s cloud-based voice recognition system with a long hold.
A second display in front of the driver is controlled by the steering wheel and offers a number of different configurations, with endless choices for the information on show and its layout. It’s impressive how much customisation there is for these displays.
Up front there’s plenty of storage with a generous centre console, door bins, and a decent-sized glove box.
In the second row there’s enough room for an adult to sit behind a first-row seat pushed almost all the way back.
The only hitch is a slight lack of toe room, but it’s not the end of the world. The second row slides and reclines, and includes two ISOFIX points on the outboard seats, plus three top tether points. You’ll also find rear air vents.
Impressively, the second row doors open almost 90 degrees, which makes loading child seats and kids into the third row much easier.
Speaking of the third row, getting in requires the second row to be folded flat and slid all the way forward. The third row is clearly a space for kids only, with limited toe and knee room for adults.