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Mercedes-Benz adds another car to its premium compact range here with the striking new GLB crossover, with more space and practicality for seven.

26 Nov 2020


I've never been a big fan of the premium compact range of cars here. Be it a sedan, hatchback or SUV.

They cost quite a fair bit of money, don't offer much in terms of equipment and in many ways, aren't as practical compared to the well-heeled, non-premium competition.

But the Mercedes-Benz GLB is quite a different thing. And I'm finding myself liking it quite a lot.

It's different!

Some have likened the GLB to the G-Class, the grandaddy of Mercedes SUVs
Let's talk about how it looks. It isn't hard to see why some are calling it the baby G-Class. Its squared off, boxy looks is quite unlike many crossovers and SUVs today.

And it doesn't share much in terms of looks amongst its siblings, either. With the likes of the A-Class, the B-Class and the CLA looking pretty much the same from the front, the GLB looks completely different from every angle you look.

At the very least, you will look very unique. And nobody will be mistaking you as the next A-Class or CLA - they'll probably think you're in a GLC or equivalent Merc crossover.

A special place

Much like its siblings, the GLB offers a pleasant and visually appealing interior, but with unique differences
If you're expecting the same, swanky interior that new Mercs offer, you'll be pleased to know the GLB delivers. It might seem all too familiar, but a keen eye will spot some differences.

The same turbine looking air-conditioning vents, the two 10.25-inch displays along with fancy ambient lighting effects are all here, but the dashboard sports a different tubular design compared to its siblings. It is a step away from even the GLA - which shares the same dash as the B-Class.

These changes might not seem like much, but in a world of shared platforms, they add up to make the GLB feel a little special.

Good space

The GLB offers plenty of space in the second row if there's no need to compensate for the third row
Here's where the GLB makes its point. If you see it as a five-seater crossover, it offers a good amount of space.

Aside from the absence of air-conditioning vents, second row occupants have nothing to complain about. There's plenty of knee and headroom here.

The seats can also slide and recline, and adults will easily find a comfortable position at the back.

Take the GLB as a seven-seater though, and some compromises have to be made. Mercedes even recommends that the third-row is best suited for those below 1.69m, so it is best suited for kids, or pint-sized adults.

The third row proved to be a squeeze for this near 1.8m writer - it is best left for kids
But it doesn't mean you'll have to leave everyone behind. There are ISOFix points for both seats in the third-row, so it can safely do its job as a seven-seater for two kids and five adults.

Thus, the GLB is best seen as a five-seater, with two extra seats for those moments.

With the third-row folded, the GLB offers up to 500 litres of luggage space. Thanks to its squared-off rear, you won't have much of an issue with odd-sized items.

Best ride amongst its siblings

While still slightly firm, the GLB manages to offer better ride comfort when compared to its siblings
Get on the move and the GLB's proposition is even more apparent. The GLB is indeed comfortable, but doesn't falter when faced with crossover-defying physics either.

Though some harshness can still be felt when faced with tough patches of road, the GLB generally handles Singapore roads with little fuss. This is more than welcome, considering its GLA sibling rides much firmer.

Some initial numbness can be felt from the steering, as it remains light in normal driving situations. But turn the GLB keenly into corners and it weighs up progressively, offering enough response and precision to please most enthusiastic drivers.

The same comments about the powerplant still ring true - decent amount of power, but with an audible protest
Speaking of enthusiastic, the GLB's 1.3-litre turbocharged lump offers reasonable power at 161bhp and 250Nm of torque.

Paired to the responsive seven-speed dual-clutch box, spirited throttle inputs will bring about sufficient speed, accompanied with entertaining turbo noises. But go higher in the rev range, and the engine will drone with displeasure.

Which meant that for most of our time with the car, we were reasonable with our throttle inputs. Our 150km test drive netted a fuel consumption figure of 13.8km/L. Fairly good for a seven-seater crossover, and close enough to the 15.6km/L figure on paper.

Get this Baby-G

The GLB isn't just about good looks, it offers practicality along with the coveted appeal of a three-pointed badge
For many, the appeal of a premium badge takes precedence when looking for a new car.

At $181,888 (as of 25 November 2020), the GLB's just $2,000 more from the similarly specced GLA. It still is a lot of money for a car, but it manages to strike that balance of being appealing yet practical at the same time.

But this car proves that it isn't just about badge appeal. Not only does the GLB look and feel good, it can work as a practical and spacious crossover for five - with the added ability for seven if you need it.

The GLB has what it takes to stand out. Amongst its siblings, it is the one I'll pick.

Want to get more of this Mercedes-Benz GLB's boxy exterior? Watch our video review as well here!



Car Information

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Promotion
There's a promotion for Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class

Price

: $193,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1332cc

Horsepower

:

120kW (161 bhp) / 5500 rpm

Torque

:

250 Nm / 4000 rpm

Transmission

:

7G-DCT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

9.1sec

Top Speed

:

207km/h

Fuel consumption

:

15.6 km/L

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