- Chunky styling
- Lots of tech
- Third row looks tight
- Too many Mercedes SUVs?
- Bound to be expensive
The 2020 GLB-Class is the smallest Mercedes that can be equipped with three rows of seats.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class hides a secret. As its name suggests, the 2020 GLB slots alphabetically in the Mercedes lineup between the GLA and the GLC. But, the GLB offers a third row of seats that opens it up to seven passengers—its bigger and smaller siblings have room for just five.
With the GLB250, Mercedes has its first small three-row crossover SUV. At about 182 inches long and 72 inches wide, however, the GLB is sized like the original Mercedes M-Class of the late 1990s, which could also be had with a third row.
That’s mostly where the similarities end. The GLB is based on the GLA, which means it shares its car-like underpinnings and suspension with the automaker’s smallest sedans. To squeeze more out of the GLA, Mercedes stretched the crossover’s wheelbase by about five inches, with most of that dedicated to second-row leg room and cargo space. Five-seaters can hold up to 62 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats folded. The second row can also be moved forward and rearward to open up as much as 38 inches of leg room or to expand cargo space from 20 to 26 cubic feet.
The optional third row consists of two individual seats split by a couple of cup holders. Third-row occupants have their own USB-C ports, which may help distract occupants taller than middle schoolers from the cramped quarters.
Up front, the GLB comes standard with a touchscreen that runs the automaker’s MBUX infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard, and the system can be controlled by a tap of the screen, a touchpad-like controller on the center console, hand gestures, or a Siri-like “Hey Mercedes, take me to Starbucks” command. The screen sits in a dashboard that looks a lot like that in the GLA, albeit with a chunk of aluminum-style trim that runs the width of the dash.
The 2020 GLB250 can be fitted with an adaptive cruise control system that can lower speeds ahead of curves or roundabouts automatically. The system can also automatically change lanes at the tap of the turn signal if it detects an opening.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class performance and styling
Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque shuttled to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. Mercedes has not yet released fuel-economy estimates for the 2020 GLB.
Mercedes promises a hint of off-road ability with the 2020 GLB’s standard off-road driving systems mode, though it’s hard to imagine the crossover intentionally hurtled down a dirt road. Optional adaptive dampers should help the small crossover SUV cope with rutted terrain.
The GLB will look a little more at home on a dirt road than its GLA and GLC siblings. Its styling shares a few lines with the big GLS-Class SUV, including an upright grille and headlights in place of the swept-back look of Mercedes’ other small SUVs. Its overhangs are relatively short, too, which gives it a pluckier, tougher look that the citified GLA.