2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class first drive review: Standing out in a crowded class

    Though it won’t seem to be there’s room for one more crossover in Mercedes-Benz’s
    budding SUV lineup, right here we’re, with the brand-new GLB-Class. Happily, the GLB has the great seems to be to face out in a crowded class, and after a drive by means of Arizona, I can say it has the efficiency and luxury chops to match.The 2020 GLB slots in between the GLA- and GLC-Classcrossovers, although a look on the spec sheet reveals it is almost similar in measurement to the GLC. It’s simply as tall as its sibling, at 65.3 inches, however a smidge shorter in each wheelbase and total size.Instead, what units the GLB aside is its decidedly extra rugged, boxy look — maybe interesting to of us who miss the squared-off design of the previous GLK. The GLB’s nostril is kind of flat, highlighted by an upright windshield and an almost flat roof, till it cuts down vertically for the rear hatch. It’s undoubtedly the anti-coupe-over, and I like that.The GLB is a little more boxy than the remainder of the Mercedes SUV line-up.
    Emme Hall/Roadshow
    A pleasant, simple driverMy check drive begins off on the open highways close to Scottsdale, Arizona. Here, the adaptive cruise management shines — the GLB can take over the throttle and brake duties, and as with Mercedes’ different SUVs, this function works nice. Smooth inputs from the adaptive cruise system take the stress out of long-haul driving. And after I enter a slower, 65-mph zone, the GLB slows down routinely.The GLB’s lane-keeping help and lane-change help work as marketed, although the latter is form of gradual in its motion. Blind-spot monitoring stays lively for as much as three minutes after turning off the ignition, to warn drivers and passengers of obstacles like site visitors or cyclists that may cross near the GLB’s facet.The 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine places out 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Those aren’t “OMG-so-much-fun” numbers, however they’re ample for freeway merging and passing, particularly while you dial up the extra aggressive throttle response and transmission mapping of Sport mode.The GLB is out there with a 3rd row, although it appears a bit small for seven passengers.
    Emme Hall/Roadshow
    My tester has the elective 4Matic all-wheel drive (front-wheel drive is normal), which helps hold it composed on twisty stretches of roads. It’s not probably the most participating SUV on 4 wheels, however the GLB is simply plain simple to drive. An elective Off-Road setting retains the anti-lock brakes from intervening too quickly, and it mutes the throttle tip-in as properly. The GLB affords hill-descent management, too, however do not let its rugged-ish look idiot you: this isn’t a correct off-roader.Overall, I’m happy with the on-road traits of the GLB. The eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission will get the job finished seamlessly within the background; the journey is easy an unencumbered. The engine, whereas not particularly highly effective, is a lot potent. My solely actual problem is the brakes: Squishy at first, they seize out of the blue then return to mushy and squishy once more. I saved pondering my proper foot was having the caffeine jitters, however no, the brakes simply have a non-linear motion.MBUX techThe base GLB comes with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 7-inch instrument cluster. If giant screens are your jam, you may just like the out there pair of 10.25-inch screens working Mercedes’ MBUX tech.  The gauge cluster is reconfigurable, and you may function the middle display screen by contact, a middle trackpad, two smaller thumb-pads on the steering wheel or by way of voice management. MBUX is a very strong system, with augmented actuality navigation overlays which are the perfect factor ever.
    Mercedes’ navigation system additionally makes use of the What 3 Words deal with system, which assigns three random phrases to each 9-square-meter location on earth. Using the “Hey, Mercedes” pure speech instructions, I can ask the system to navigate me to any three-word deal with. “Speeding ranted dorms” pulls up the Common Grounds espresso store. It’s bizarre, however hey, it really works.Lots of room insideThe GLB could also be a compact crossover, nevertheless it’s very spacious. Thanks to the upright roofline, you have received 40 inches of headroom, and the second-row seats can slide 3.5 inches ahead or backward. With the second row and passenger seat folded, you’ve gotten 105 inches of load size and 62 cubic toes of area for cargo.A 3rd row is elective, which appears a little bit whack-a-doo in a crossover this small. Granted, the second row within the seven-seater can modify by almost 9 inches to provide these squished individuals extra legroom, and Mercedes says the third row can comfortably seat somebody who’s 5-foot, 6-inches tall. I’ll must take the corporate’s phrase for it — my tester was of the five-passenger selection, so I wasn’t in a position to check that idea. If you need an actual three-row Mercedes, take into account the GLE or GLS, although they’re clearly much more costly. The GLB’s inside options loads of tech and a beautiful design.
    Emme Hall/Roadshow
    Still, the inside is sweet place to spend time. I like the aviation-inspired design language with spherical vents and a easy row of local weather controls under. The seats are snug, with out there heating and cooling, and visibility to the surface is nice, though the steering wheel blocks the decrease left-hand nook of the middle display screen a bit.A stable SUV, nevertheless it will get costly rapidlyThe 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class begins at $36,600, not together with $995 for supply. You can add $2,000 on to that worth for 4Matic all-wheel drive. However, costs can climb rapidly while you begin including issues just like the swanky ADAS options, 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, the bigger 10.25-inch screens and an AMG look bundle. My tester is $55,340, and that does not even embody heated seats.I’m a giant fan of the GLB. But I’m a much bigger fan of the upcoming Mercedes-AMG GLB35, which bumps engine output to 305 hp, and the chassis has a barely sportier tune. That’ll be the one I gravitate in direction of, however regardless of which GLB you select, it is a trendy each day driver with no scarcity of area or luxurious. Look for it to hit dealerships later this yr.Editors’ observe: Travel prices associated to this story have been coated by the producer, which is widespread within the auto trade. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s workers are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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