The Car Connection Mercedes-Benz GLB Class Overview
The Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is the latest vehicle to join the German automaker's family of compact cars. The new crossover SUV makes its debut in 2019 as a 2020 model.
With the GLB, Mercedes bookends the other wagon-esque vehicle in the compact lineup, the GLA-Class. The two utility vehicles share a family tree with the new A-Class and CLA-Class sedans—though the GLA-Class will be revamped in 2020, the last of the new family to arrive.
The GLB 250 will be the first model to arrive. It draws power from a 2.0-liter turbo-4, pegged at 221 horsepower. It's coupled to an 8-speed automatic that splits power between all four wheels. Electric power steering and a conventional independent suspension are standard, though Mercedes will give buyers a choice to spend more for adaptive shocks, which should calm the GLB's ride. The GLB-Class will offer an off-road mode to make the most of its moderate ground clearance and street tires.
MORE: Read our 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class preview
At 182 inches long, the new GLB-Class is one of the larger vehicles in its family, about five inches longer in wheelbase than the current GLA-Class. That enables Mercedes to fit it with an available third-row seat—a small one, but one that can fold away to create more cargo space. In fact, the GLB-Class' dimensions—including a 72-inch width—put it at about the size of the original 1998 Mercedes M-Class, the Alabama-built SUV that launched Benz in the SUV world.
The GLB-Class has flexible interior space with seats for up to seven passengers as a result. In the second row, a sliding bench moves on a six-inch track to grant up to 38 inches of rear-seat leg room or to fold down with the third row to create a 62 cubic foot cargo space. With all the seats up, the cargo space behind the third row measures 26 cubic feet.
The GLB-Class sets itself apart from all its compact brethren with a shape that's clearly meant to share the glory of the big, brawny G-Class and even the GLS-Class. Its squared-off roofline matches a more rugged look overall, but inside, it's suave and sleek, with the higher grade of interior finishes that have marked the new generation of compact Benz cars from their less impressive first-generation counterparts.
In the GLB, Mercedes drops a wide touchscreen for its new MBUX infotainment system, which can be accessed by the screen, by a touchpad, by voice commands, or by hand gestures.
Mercedes also fits the GLB-Class with a high level of safety gear, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic emergency braking.
The GLB-Class doesn't have a price yet, or EPA fuel economy figures. Sales begin later in 2019.