The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is an impressive new entry in the rapidly growing subcompact luxury SUV segment. A big part of its appeal, literally, is how much interior space Mercedes was able to squeeze out of its exterior dimensions. A lot of that has to do with it being a box, but there's some clever packaging at work as well. Now, the real magic there will be revealed in Friday's luggage test, but for now, let's take a deep dive into the GLB's small-item storage solutions that are impressive in their own right. In short, the GLB has the sort of interior storage rarely seen in luxury models.
Since the GLB is based on front-wheel-drive architecture and like most Mercedes models relies on an electronic shifter mounted on the steering column, there is a relatively huge amount of space available in the center console. The under-armrest bin is deep enough to store my small camera bag, or for a different scale, my Yeti water bottle and super-Canadian Tim Hortons travel mug stacked atop each other. My wife's purse wouldn't fit.
Forward of the cupholders is a deep bin adjacent to a single USB-C port. There is another USB-C in the under-armrest bin and two more at the back of the center console for rear passengers. Note that there are no standard USB ports in the GLB, requiring the use of the black adapter you see in the photo below left for those with older devices.
I placed my Panasonic camcorder inside to demonstrate this bin's depth, which is significant.
Here's the glove box. Typical, nothing special.
OK, cupholders! The two in the center console are of average depth and height. They also have little wings that pop out at the push of a button to tighten the fit for smaller cups, cans and bottles. (The cupholder on the right also seems to be where you place the key to start the car if the fob is low on battery).
The Yeti just barely fits inside, which means that it's ultimately held in place despite the modest-if-average depth. By contrast, the tall, conic doughnut bottle is prone to wobbling around a bit. I'm not sure how much the fold-out wings actually do.
On the other hand, the travel mug was held in place quite well. It tilted very little, which is what you want from something filled with coffee.
The cupholders in the back seat center armrest, however, are not so good. Actually, they pretty much suck.
Though they harken back to the old days of comically complicated pop-up Mercedes cupholders, they don't actually seem to do their primary task well. You know, holding cups. If you tried using it with a travel coffee mug, you would quickly be wearing coffee. My hand is preventing it from falling out as much as it is demonstrating the angle it'll get to before falling out.
Maybe a paper coffee cup would do better, but I sure wouldn't risk it. Better stick with single use plastic bottles with these.
Now, there are thankfully bottle holders in the doors. They are angled to allow even big bottles like the Yeti to fit. They work well.
Those in the front doors are at a sharper angle, which was fine for the Yeti but something narrower like the doughnut one isn't well supported. Also, since both of these are angled, they are no good for travel mugs or vessels that aren't 100% sealed. Nevertheless, this design is common throughout the industry.
And finally, there is some extra storage space in the cargo area. Besides the small bins behind the wheel wells with mesh nets, there is a sizable amount of space under the floor that's otherwise needed for the optional third-row seat (something Mercedes has never shown in person, which seems safe to mean "it's virtually useless"). Though you can technically store items below the floor for concealed storage, it isn't finished in carpeting or plastic. Instead, it lets you increase cargo capacity by moving the floor to a lower position. But I'll leave that demonstration to the luggage test. Stay tuned.