Car Reviews

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB SUV Review

We drive the new Mercedes GLB on Irish roads

We drive the new Mercedes GLB on Irish roads


Pros: Space, comfort, value, interior layout

Cons: Unrefined diesel engine

The GLB is not only a new addition to the Mercedes-Benz line-up, it also appears to pioneer a whole new unexplored niche, which is the compact premium-badged SUV with seven-seat capability. It sits between the new GLA and the existing GLC SUVs in the range and apparently has no direct rival from the prestige marques. The closest thing to it on the market today is perhaps the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.

Mercedes GLB Design

To fit in seven seats, the GLB’s platform is considerably longer than that of the GLA, though they share a lot of components. The GLB’s upright design maximises interior space and is not without appeal. Indeed, some have likened it to the Mercedes G-Class, which is a serious off-roader, so the GLB certainly nails the ‘look tough’ brief. All versions get high-tech LED headlights and attractive alloy wheels, though the AMG Line cars look the sportiest. Mercedes also offers buyers the Night Package to further differentiate their car.

Mercedes GLB Ireland

Mercedes GLB Interior

And while the exterior is suitably SUV-like and undoubtedly a Mercedes, the interior is probably of more importance to the target family buyer. Up front, it’s almost identical to the GLA, which means remarkably similar to the latest generation of A-Class and B-Class. The stylish dashboard and design of the switchgear are top notch, with plenty of options to enhance it further.

There’s a lot of space in the second row of seating, which slides fore and aft as standard. The seat backs tilt, as well. Behind that, if you’ve opted for the extra seats, there are two chairs that can fold down flat when not in use. Like nearly all such seats, they’re better-suited to child use than adults, but bigger people can fold themselves in there if the second row is slid forward, so they’re extremely useful. And when they’re not being used, the boot is massive.

Mercedes GLB Performance & Drive

To drive, the GLB is exceptionally comfortable on the road, soaking up poor surfaces and bumps with aplomb and isolating the passengers from the outside world. The regular versions won’t excite keener drivers, though there is a much-firmer AMG 35 variant for those that feel the need for over 300hp in their family SUV. Most will be content with the line-up of modest petrol and diesel engines, which starts with the 136hp GLA 180. The entry-level diesel is the GLA 180 d, though with 116hp it’s a little underpowered. The GLA 200 d is better-equipped for hauling the family about, and it’s one of the models available with 4Matic four-wheel drive – front-wheel drive is standard on the majority of versions. All come with an automatic gearbox.

Mercedes GLB Pricing

The GLB is priced from €42,350 for the GLA 180 mentioned above, while the diesel equivalent is €43,190 and the cheapest all-wheel-drive model, the GLA 200 d 4Matic, is €46,620. Trim lines are Progressive and AMG Line, while the AMG 35 version sits alone, at €66,915. Incidentally, it costs an extra €1,427 to add the third row of seating.

Carzone Verdict 4.5/5

We reckon this is one of the cars of the year so far to launch in Ireland. There may not be anything exciting about how the regular GLB drives or performs, but its design, image, interior layout and market positioning make for a unique offering that is likely to appeal to many.

Test Car Details:  

Model driven: Mercedes GLB 200 d

Price: €45,025 before options

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel

Transmission: automatic

Annual motor tax: €270

0-100km/h: 9.0 seconds

Power: 150hp

Boot space: 150-1,680 litres