Mercedes-Benz GLB 200 Progressive Review
The Gift Of The GLB

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
22 Feb 2021
 

The GLB takes to corners in its stride, with its ‘Comfort Suspension’ able to soak up most of what our local roads throw at it

In a time when SUVs are all the rage, we are simply spoilt for choice. Today, you can just about find one with a body style or purpose that seems to suit you, even if you are not a fan of SUVs.

German luxury car manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz has squeezed the most out of its MFA2 small car architecture. Compared to the previous generation of premium ‘Mercs’, the current range includes a saloon variant of the A-Class hatchback, the B-Class mini MPV (essentially a versatile 5-seater hatch), and GLA their small SUV. Mercedes has now fielded a 5+2 seater, and what better way they thought, than to build this as an SUV, rather than a small MPV, like what BMW did…

The GLB is their answer to BMW’s 2 Series Gran Tourer. At a quick glance, you can be forgiven to think that the small SUV is the brand’s flagship on the other end of the spectrum, the GLS. After all, the GLB is really one of their aspirational “what dreams are made of” cars, very much like how the C-Class emulates their flagship S-Class sedan.

The GLB’s visual elements, like it's tail lights, the side window profile and rounded shoulder line, pay homage to the larger GLS luxobarge. Even its decorative chrome bits are near-faithful miniaturised replications.

Inside

If you are familiar with Mercedes-Benz’s “aspirational” range you will find the GLB’s interior familiar, since most of the dashboard’s componentry are from the very same parts bin. You would be greeted by twin 10.25” screens, one of them which fronts the infotainment system that features the brand’s new MBUX multimedia system, with voice recognition. Both Apple and Android devices are supported, and there is a charging pad to keep the juice flowing to your QI compatible mobile phone. The flat touchpad, on the centre console is to use, and a far better design than what Mercedes-Benz offered previously in some of their larger cars.

The dashboard, without the traditional hood for the instrument panel is pleasantly neat, and with less clutter, there visually is more space up in the front. Compared to the previous generations of entry ‘Mercs’, quality has improved here, though we must say that it can still be better. I particularly am not too keen about the faux bruised metal trim on the passenger side of the dash, since it cheapens the interior quite a fair bit.

While there are no massage seats (which are expensive inclusions), the GLB, like the rest of their small car range features the brand’s ENERGIZING Seat Kinetics, said to reduce driver and front passenger fatigue, with slight movements of the seat back and base. Personally, it is to me more unsettling than a useful feature. This is especially when navigating a turn, with you finding the base of your seat dropping down, or with the seat back reclining one to two degrees. In most cases, this is one thing you can do without.

The GLB is really all about versatility, and the reason why you would shell out extra dough over the GLA, is because of all that is the middle row and everything else that is rearward. While the GLB has a wheelbase that is 10 cm longer than that on the B Class, I have to issue you the caveat here that this by no means makes it a good 7-seater (the Mazda CX-8 or KIA Sorento fill those roles much better, and which you can get for less money by the way), but rather a 5+2 seater; a little closer in interior dimensions to say… a Honda CR-V

The middle row is a treat for passengers providing heaps of legroom, and can be rolled forward to accommodate those at the rear. For those in the third row  would however find precious little wriggle room, and like most 5+2 seater cars, non-existent thigh support. On warmer days, you would also wish that there were air-conditioning vents to cool and circulate the air at the back.

If cargo-carrying versatility is high on your checklist, the GLB fares quite well. With the rear set of seats deployed, there is ample room of 130 litres for about an average grocery run… for one. Folding the rear and middle rows down reveals 570 and 1,850 litres respectively.

The Drive

The GLB 200 relies on the brand’s smallest engine available here, their 1.3 litre turbocharged M282 engine, featuring innovations like a 0.2mm thick inner bore mirror coat, which helps to reduce piston drag.

Paired to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission driving the front wheels, gear changes are quick and quite seamless, though working the engine into the midrange reveals a fair amount of roughness. 

Roughness aside, the small 1.3 litre puts out 163hp and 250Nm, meaning that there is sufficient grunt, even if you are lugging around up to seven. Driven without a lead foot, we attained around 14.6km/l, with a fair mix of city and highway driving.

The GLB takes to corners in its stride, with its ‘Comfort Suspension’ able to soak up most of what our local roads throw at it. Even with its height (and soft suspension), it produces considerably little roll. 

With its length, the GLB is equipped with Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC which helps to make parking a breeze. Other features, like the PRE-SAFE system, that includes Active Brake Assist are a welcome additional layer of active safety. The car even produces white noise just before the event of a collision, in-order to preserve your inner ears.

Our Thoughts

In the truest sense, the GLB does not have very direct competition. The closest competitor, in the form of BMW 2 Series GT, is more of a true MPV, which is beginning to show its age. 

The best competition would come from the Mazda CX-8 SUV, which is not only marginally cheaper, but offers more in terms of refinement and interior space. If you are one who would clock heaps of mileage during your ownership journey, the award-winning KIA Sorento offers loads of features, including front seat cooling, and is powered by a newly designed diesel engine for added range.

In Summary

We Like

GLS-aping design is bound to turn heads. Rides and drives well.

We Don't

Rough engine. Rear passenger accommodation is very tight. Interior could be better.

Verdict

If you are keen on a compact car that can do occasional MPV duties, with a little bit of flair and badge-bragging rights, Mercedes-Benz now has something for you. 

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SGD 182,888 (22 Oct 2020)

This car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1332cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 161bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 1620rpm

Performance

Acceleration 9.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 207 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 15.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed 7G-DCT
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4634 x 1834 x 1663) mm
Wheelbase 2829 mm
Boot Capacity 130 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 500 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs