Mercedes GLB 250 definitely rises above
Roseville, CA- We were prepared not to like the 2020 Mercedes GLB 250, another in a long line of entry-level compact crossover sport utility vehicles.
Perhaps this was our own bias showing through, due to being a bit fatigued by the glut of small SUVs on the market, many of them undistinguished from the other. The secondary reason: why is a legendary automaker like Mercedes-Benz mingling with the commoners?
Historically, dating back to its inception in 1926, the Mercedes name has symbolized class, sophistication, and one expects a vehicle that offers something special. Can that possibly take place with a compact crossover SUV? The short answer is no, it can’t
However, while we weren’t too excited about spending a week behind the wheel of the all-new Mercedes GLB 250, we were somewhat sad when it departed. The GLB 250 definitely rises above the majority of compact SUVs. That’s not unexpected, since it’s a luxury brand that delivers performance, comfort and reliability.
Of course, the sticker price (approximately $36,700) will have most cost-conscious buyers never giving it a legitimate look. Mercedes understands that line of thinking. Yet it has been successful offering “affordable luxury” vehicles that don’t possess the stature of previous generations. In general, inexpensive luxury cars have sold well in the past five years or so.
Mercedes GLB 250
- Performance: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 221 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 23-31 mpg
- Price estimate: $36,700 to $38,700
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 4 years/50,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/unlimited; corrosion: 4 years/50,000
Mercedes, BMW and Audi have all bought into the theory that dangling an affordable car in front of a Millennial is wise thing. Once they get a taste of luxury, the pattern will be set as these upwardly mobile buyers are able to afford more expensive vehicles.
The Mercedes GLB 250 slots in between the brand’s subcompact GLA and the larger and more expensive GLC. The GLB 250 is offered in two trims – the base GLB 250 and GLB 250 4Matic that adds all-wheel drive and costs roughly $2,000 more.
There’s one engine with the GLB 250, a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that generates 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Although the acceleration wasn’t instantaneous, it was powerful enough to be appreciated in any driving situation where a burst of speed is needed. The GLB 250 weighs 3,638 pounds, goes 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, and gets solid gas mileage (23-31 mpg).
Handling is another plus. While not overly exciting to drive, the GLB 250 takes corners well, can handle itself admirably on a winding road, and maneuvers easily in a crowded parking lot. It offers three driving modes (Comfort, Sport and Eco). It also comes standard with the latest Mercedes safety features – adaptative cruise control, lane-keeping assist and active blind-spot assist.
There’s also a nice list of interior standard features, including 7.0-inch digital gauge display, 7.0-inch touchscreen, simulated leather upholstery, Mercedes infotainment system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. We also appreciate the “Alexa-like” virtual assistance. Just by saying, “hey Mercedes, play ESPN radio,” your request is delivered.
There’s comfortable seating in the front and back seat that can accommodate three adults. The rear seats slide and recline, adding to the comfort level. The cargo area is generous at 20 cubic feet and stretches to 62 cubes with the back seat folded down. For folks who want a third row, that’s available as well, although it’s only good for smaller kiddos.
Worth a look
If an average entry-level compact SUV just isn’t cutting it, the new 2020 Mercedes GLB 250 is worth a look. It has lots of impressive qualities and makes for a nice status symbol when parked in one’s driveway.