The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB crossover takes a compact platform and stretches and folds it right into a seven-seat SUV form. The GLB’s blocky physique allows it to sport three rows of seats, one thing most similarly-sized opponents can’t supply.
The one main replace for 2021 brings standard blind-spot displays. A brand new AMG-branded GLB35 joins the lineup quickly, nevertheless. Customary facilities don’t differ a lot between the 2 fashions, however the GLB35 squeezes a full 302 hp out of its 2.0-liter turbo-4. An 8-speed automated transmission doles out energy to all 4 wheels.
The GLB250, in contrast, is a a lot tamer machine. It additionally makes use of a turbo-4 which boasts 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automated can also be employed right here, however all-wheel drive is optionally available.
Keep on with the bottom engine and front-wheel drive and the GLB250 returns 23 mpg metropolis, 30 freeway, 26 mixed. Including all-wheel drive will increase the freeway determine to 31 mpg. The EPA hasn’t but rated the GLB35, however anticipate it to be thirstier by a good margin.
The newly standard blind-spot displays be a part of automated emergency braking on the listing of standard active-safety features. Most different well-liked driver assists, similar to adaptive cruise management, energetic lane management, lane-change help, and a surround-view digicam system, are optionally available.
The GLB hasn’t been examined by both the NHTSA or IIHS.
The addition of the GLB35 to the lineup has doubled the alternatives consumers can spec their GLBs. The GLB250, now the bottom mannequin, is priced at $39,045 and consists of artificial leather-based upholstery, twin 7.0-inch screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone local weather management, an influence tailgate, and 18-inch wheels.
The GLB35 begins at $50,495. In addition to the uprated engine, the GLB35 will get features like twin 10.3-inch screens, sportier seats, 19-inch wheels, and a full gamut of aesthetic and efficiency upgrades.
The GLB doesn’t put on the swoops and arcs of fashions just like the GLA or any of the crossover-coupe variants, however nor does it share the identical elegant plasticity of fashions just like the GLC or GLE. As a substitute, the GLB goes all-in on sq.. The one fashions with extra proper angles are the vault-shaped GLS and G-Class.
The GLB is a lovely car. The angles aren’t as extreme as these on the G-Class; the traces on the GLB have been softened, as if the clay mould was left within the solar for only a bit. The crossover is best for it, with a extra approachable design that continues to be engaging.
The interior of the GLB is simply as showy as every other Mercedes, full with turbine air vents, a lot of chrome detailing, and quite a lot of planes and surfaces. The GLB does a tremendous job telling the world it’s a Mercedes.
With expertise and luxurious basically synonymous at this level, Mercedes provides each GLB a pair of screens every measuring no less than seven inches throughout. The one straight forward of the motive force is the gauge cluster; the one abutting it on the suitable is the touchscreen-enabled infotainment show. They seamlessly mix into one another, offering 14 inches of digital immersion.
The bottom setup isn’t as well-liked because the bigger, 10.3-inch screens. The larger screens don’t add a lot functionality apart from voice management except the navigation system is optioned. They give the impression of being a lot tonier, although.
Such an upright, rectilinear design bodes nicely for the motive force, who’s handled to wonderful sight traces from the commanding place on the helm. The seats come standard with energy changes however leather-based upholstery prices further.
One other good thing about the GLB’s design? The out there third row. No, it isn’t massive, however such an choice is exceedingly uncommon on this section.
Cargo house is a excessive level as nicely, with 26 cubic ft behind the second row and 62 cubes altogether.
The GLB250 follows a well-recognized components: turbo-4 engine, front- or all-wheel drive, impartial suspension. That’s the basic recipe that dozens of automobiles nowadays observe, however Mercedes stirs in sufficient of its personal particular sauce to endow it with some individuality.
The GLB250 is loads of crossover for most individuals. It delivers brisk acceleration from its 221-hp turbo-4, and even with the throttle matted the GLB maintains a regal air about it; there isn’t any coarseness or grittiness to mar the expertise. The 8-speed transmission quietly and confidently swaps cogs.
The suspension is properly tuned and well-damped, making simple work out of unhealthy roads. Get formidable on a twisty little bit of pavement and the GLB does a good imitation of one thing smaller and sportier, all issues thought-about.
A number of drive modes assist give the GLB its breadth of character. Sport mode brings out the crossover’s most athletic facet, and Consolation mode is pleasantly mushy with out resorting to ocean liner-tendencies. Non-obligatory adaptive dampers enhance the experience in each settings.
The boxy Mercedes GLB has a lot of helpful house, and commendable expertise, all in a package deal the size of the unique 1998 M-Class. It’s the teaser for really off-road-capable Benz SUVs on the prime of the lineup.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Automobile Connection
– 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB –
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