Mercedes GLB SUV review
"The Mercedes GLB looks great, has a big boot and is available with seven seats, making it desirable and practical"
- Chunky looks
- Versatile interior
- Affordable running costs
- Average to drive
- Limited engine choice
- Top trims are expensive
Verdict - Is the Mercedes GLB a good car?
The interior and exterior design of Mercedes' latest cars has won the manufacturer new fans, and the GLB is not only desirable, but it's also ideally suited to family life. Judged on price alone, the GLB looks expensive, but its monthly PCP payments closely match upmarket seven-seat SUVs including the Land Rover Discovery Sport. For the best value, the GLB 200 AMG Line seven-seater is our pick of the range but, those looking to haul seven passengers and tow a trailer should also consider the 200 d for its extra pulling power.
Mercedes GLB models, specs and alternatives
It might not grab headlines like hugely powerful AMG models but the Mercedes GLB could be the best SUV yet from the German brand, as far as families are concerned anyway. Practicality has taken priority over performance, and the resulting squared-off appearance looks more like a traditional SUV as a result – and gives the Land Rover Discovery Sport its stiffest competition yet. It’s 22mm shorter but 24mm taller than the Mercedes GLC and almost looks like a modern interpretation of the iconic Mercedes G-Class from some angles.
The GLB is impressive inside too, where its design is modern and ideally suited to anyone who spends their day tapping on a smartphone or tablet. Two widescreen displays seamlessly flow from behind the steering wheel towards the middle of the dash, serving up information and entertainment for the driver and passengers.
Those chunky looks also result in excellent headroom and legroom for passengers, although we're still waiting for a go in a seven-seat version to see how much space is offered in the sixth and seventh seats. If it's similar to rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, we expect they'll be suitable for kids and small adults. Incidentally, almost all models now offer seven seats as standard, and with the third row folded it has a big 500-litre boot - and the GLB can tow between 1,800 to 2,000kg.
Driving the GLB isn't exciting but then it doesn't need to be. This is an SUV for getting from A to B easily, safely and comfortably. The supple suspension and standard automatic gearbox work well to achieve this, while the light steering makes up for its lack of communication by being easy to twirl in car parks and on city streets. The GLB 200's 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine is just about economical enough, returning up to 40mpg. Diesel 200 d and 220 d engines are also offered, achieving almost 50mpg and giving the option of 4MATIC four-wheel drive. For those that need fast family transport, there’s a 302bhp Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 - although 31mpg fuel economy is the compromise.
2023 Mercedes GLB facelift coming soon
The Mercedes GLB is being updated this year, and while this review is on the current model, below you can read about the updated version that's due in showrooms in the second half of 2023
A refreshed version of the Mercedes GLB has been revealed. It features a subtle makeover, mild-hybrid powertrains and an updated interior. Prices are expected to rise by a small amount compared to the current car. The updates will include a new nose, punctuated by new LED headlights and tail-lights. Its wheel arches will now be painted to match the bodywork, instead of a black finish, while new designs of alloy wheels are also set to make their debut. Buyers can choose a new shade of paint called Spectral Blue.
Inside, the latest MBUX operating system software will be installed and the central touchscreen will be a 10.25-inch item as standard. The driver’s display will measure seven inches as standard, with the option to upgrade to match the main panel for a widescreen look. The steering wheel will also gain touch-sensitive controls and buyers can expect wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
While not yet confirmed by Mercedes, the engine lineup is likely to remain virtually unchanged with two petrol and two diesel offerings. The high-performance AMG GLB 35 will still sit at the top of the lineup, with four-wheel drive and a powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine with 301bhp. Mild-hybrid technology will also be ushered in, recuperating energy and providing a boost of up to 10bhp under acceleration.