2020 Mercedes GLB250

BY ED KEMPER      

UPRIGHT DESIGN DOWNRIGHT SPORTY

In the never-ending battle to fill every puka in the SUV lineup, Mercedes has added a rather surprising addition. Just above the small SUV the GLA is the new for 2020 GLB which is not only reasonably priced starting at about $37,000, but can be had with three rows of seats to handle as many as 7 passengers. Unlike the bigger Mercedes SUVs, this new addition has front wheel drive rather than rear wheel drive, but all wheel drive is optional. Power is provided with one powerplant in the form of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 221 horsepower going to an 8-speed automatic transmission. With this combo the performance and fuel mileage rating are on the good side of the equation with a zero to sixty time of 6.9 seconds and average gas rating of 26 mpg.

Styling clearly follows the Mercedes theme with the semi-rectangular grille with two chrome lines and the three-pointed star in a circle. Large swept back headlights flanks the grille. The side view maintains the semi-classic Mercedes SUV look with a big box look with a smaller box atop. Added on the roof are chrome roof rails and a rear spoiler. Large optional 18-alloy wheel on our test model helps with the styling statement.

Since this is a family oriented luxury model, the first row of back seats provides more than a reasonable amount of room for adults. Two air vents are on the back of the center console to handle cooling requirements. A droppable armrest is available with both a storage area and two pop out cupholders. And speaking of storage, there are two additional storage areas on back of the front seats. And to accommodate different sizes of passengers, the seats slide back and forth. Optional at a cost $850 is the third row of seats which is really designed for the keiki because to the overall footprint of the GLB. All of the seats are easily lowered for a large storage area. The second row is split 40/20/40, and row three is divided 50/50. The powered liftgate is easily opened with the key. A fair amount of storage room is available even with the second row of seats upright. Under the nicely lined floor is an additional storage puka. A removal cover can be used to hide the view into this area.

Borrowing from other Mercedes models are the super long and large video screens in the front area which spans from the dashpod area to near the glovebox. These screens in our test car were 10.25 inches long each. In the screen behind the steering wheel, there are multiple choices of displays from super detailed to a very simple speedometer and tachometer. On the other screen, which is controlled by touch, a pad on the center console or buttons on the steering wheel, has multiple functions including a rear back up 360-degree camera and even a low speed forward camera. Smart phone apps can also be tied in that screen. A three-zone air conditioning system takes care of cooling requirements. Like other Mercedes models, there are thin and narrow light lines around the interior with a choice of 64 different colors.

On the road, the fully independent suspension absorbs rough pavement action with ease and holds the body in control in the corners. The engine operates in relative silence unless truly pushed. Likewise, the eight-speed auto gear box shifts effortlessly and without much gear change detection. With paddles behind the steering wheel, the gears can be manually shifted. Leather lines the interior on all fronts, and the front seats are comfortable. In contrast, there are lots of chrome pieces spread around. A start/stop system turns off the engine at stop lights to save fuel, and its operates smoothly but can be turned off. Different driving modes which handles shift patterns go from econ to sport is available.

With this brand new model, Mercedes has covered a lot of bases…three row seating, good fuel economy and decent power at a reasonable price. All in all, expect a best seller in this luxury category.

Tech Specs

Model: medium sized SUV, 5 to 7 passengers
Price: $36,600 as tested $41,355.
Powertrain: 2.0 liter 4 cylinder, 221 hp, 8 speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive with four wheel drive optional.
Fuel mileage: 26 mpg average, 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway.
Performance: 0-60: 6.9 seconds.
High Beams Luxury at a reasonable price. Good looking interior. Family friendly.
Low Beam Third row seat tight for adults.

SUV COURTESY OF MERCEDES-BENZ OF HONOLULU

© COPYRIGHT 2019 | OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.
© COPYRIGHT 2019 | OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.