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
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.
The design of both the interior and exterior of Mercedes' latest cars are winning the brand new fans, and the GLB is not only desirable, it's ideally suited to the sort of tasks most families carry out on a daily basis. Judged on its overall price, the GLB looks expensive, but its monthly PCP payments closely match the Discovery Sport. For now the GLB 200 Sport seven-seater is our pick of the range but that could change when the plug-in hybrid version arrives.