The previous-generation Mercedes CLA may have been a flawed car, but it was a success for its brand. At its sales peak, about 70% of buyers were new to Mercedes and of those, 65% traded their CLA in for another car with a three-pointed star. A similar trend is currently being seen with the new A-Class. Mercedes calls this growing collection of less-expensive compact vehicles "gateway" cars, and the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is poised to throw the gates open even further. The GLB rides on the same front-drive platform as the new A- and CLA classes as well as the next-generation GLA that arrives next year. But the GLB, with its 111.4-inch wheelbase and 182.4-inch overall length, stretches further than its stablemates as well as the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. Its back seat and cargo space are comparatively excellent as a result, benefitting from the GLB's boxy shape. That boxiness is certainly on trend at the moment, as can be seen in vehicles like the XC40, Kia Telluride and Mercedes' own G-Class. There's something charming about the little Benz box, although from certain angles (higher ones) and in certain configurations (the AMG Sport package), it can look a bit slammed, like a Kia Soul donning a fancy suit. The all-wheel-drive Mercedes GLB 250 4Matic includes an Off-Road Engineering package and a smidge more ground clearance that makes a subtle SUVish visual difference, but it doesn't go far enough. Even if just for aesthetic purposes, it would be nice if there was a variant that's even higher off the ground and more of a mini G-Wagen. A Jeep Renegade Trailhawk donning a fancy suit, if you will. There are no such visual notes for the interior, which basically features a variation of the A-Class' stylish and richly adorned design with some G-Class sprinkled in. The flat piece of metal across the passenger-side dash evokes the G's grab handle, but sadly isn't one. Meanwhile, the lower part of the dash is similarly forward and upright, creating an open environment. Just about everything you see and touch on the dash and doors is padded MBTex leatherette or soft-touch rubber, while hard plastic is relegated down low on the center console. All the switchgear is Mercedes' finest, the rotary airvents look as slick as always, and the double-screen infotainment/instrument setup looks cool and expensive. The X1, Q3 and XC40 are quite obviously at the bottom of their ranges given the look and feel of their interiors – it's not so obvious inside the GLB. Digging deeper into that infotainment setup, a 7-inch screen is standard, while the 10.25-inch unit you see here is part of the $1,650 Premium package. All come with the MBUX tech interface, which proved to be much more intuitive than Mercedes' previous-generation COMAND system, thanks to the large, responsive touchpad and a touchscreen with a more rational menu structure. The highly customizable color instrument display with multiple design templates is an example of how to do …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||23 City / 30 Hwy|
|Transmission||8-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||221 @ 5500 rpm|
Get a surprisingly great rate
It's like a new car for the price of a clunker. Switch & save an average of $587* on car insurance.