2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB: 6 Things We Like (and 5 Not So Much)
The Mercedes-Benz GLB is all-new for 2020, joining Mercedes’ packed SUV lineup and adding to the deluge of luxury SUVs on the market right now.
Related: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Review: Good, But Why?
As the alphabet soup suggests, the Mercedes-Benz GLB slots between the GLA and the GLC in size and price, though it is boxier in shape and has an optional two-seat third row. It competes with small SUVs like the Volvo XC60, but with the third row, you could also put it up against something larger and more expensive, like the Lexus RX. While there really is a lot to like about the GLB, nothing about it is extraordinary — not a good look when you’re trying to stand out in a crowded class.
Jennifer Geiger gets into all the details in her review of the GLB. To read her full take, check the related link above; but this one might come down to a rather close list of pros and cons for you. If that’s the case, here’s what we like (and don’t) about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB:
Things We Like
The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 221 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque — enough to really get you going from a stop. It also performs well at highway speeds, giving a good dose of power when passing. In Sport mode, you get an added boost out of the gate.
2. Semi-Autonomous Features
The semi-autonomous driver assistance system includes radar adaptive cruise control and lane-centering steering. The lane-centering steering system in the GLB is quite gentle when compared with other automakers’ systems, which often self-correct by bouncing you around your lane.
3. Spacious Interior
Up front, the seats are comfortable and highly adjustable. In back, the seats are a little firmer, but there’s still plenty of head and legroom. The second row slides 6 inches to accommodate passengers, cargo and access to the third row if you have one.
4. Color, if You Want It
Upgrade to the optional red and black leather package for some interior contrast. If you’re looking for something more subtle, the 64-color ambient lighting package can also add some color.
5. Augmented Reality GPS Navigation
The native navigation system comes with an optional augmented reality element. The system works with a front-facing camera to display street names and turn-by-turn directions on top of the video feed.
6. Rare Third Row
What gives the GLB a little leg up over its competition is an optional two-seat third row — a feature most small luxury SUVs don’t offer.
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Things We Don’t
1. Too Many Controls
While the Mercedes-Benz User Experience works well, there are just too many ways to control it. There’s a trackpad, central touchscreen, steering wheel controls and voice activation triggered by saying “Hey, Mercedes!” The touchscreen doesn’t have every function you might want, so sometimes you have to use the trackpad and buttons to get to the right MBUX menu.
2. Clunky Shifts
The eight-speed dual-clutch automatic is best at highway speeds. At slower, city-driving speeds, the transmission behaves oddly — shifts feel awkward and the timing seems off.
3. Feels Unathletic
Handling feels unsporty, too. The GLB’s large turning radius and persistent body lean make it feel cumbersome, especially when taking corners. You’ll probably want the optional adaptive suspension (a $990 add-on) for a tighter, more fun drive.
4. Lots of Options
The 2020 GLB starts at $37,595 (including destination charge), and we really do mean starts: The options you’d expect in a luxury vehicle are extra. Heated and ventilated seats will run you $1,030, while the head-up display is an extra $1,100. Many safety features are optional, like adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go or the park assist system. They’re bundled into the Driver Assistance Package ($2,250) or Parking Assistance Package ($1,090) and are not offered as a la carte options.
5. Not a Standout
The GLB has a lot going for it — it’s styled well, has great acceleration and a third row if you want it. But, it’s hard for any one luxury SUV to shine in such a crowded category these days. If you’re looking for a small SUV with a third row, the GLB’s for you. If you’re not, there are plenty of other similarly priced options to consider.
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