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Mercedes-Benz has no less than eight SUVs right now. As you can image, there is something for every SUV lover. Late last year saw the arrival of the GLB, a size up from the GLA and brethren to the B-Class, which carries the matriarch sash within the Benz family. As you would expect of the matriarch, its purpose is to provide multipurpose transport for families or groups. The GLB follows the same essence – an SUV with compact to medium sized proportions – yet can transport 7 in 2 + 3 + 2 layout that is divided over three rows of chairs.

The new GLB is the first Mercedes-Benz in the compact segment that is optionally available as a seven-seater and is powered by completely updated four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines that offer a combination of fuel economy and performance.

Powerful proportions with short overhangs and off-road-oriented design, standard LED headlights, as well as 4MATIC all-wheel drive in the GLB 220d make the GLB a versatile SUV and a spacious family car.

Locally, us Saffas can choose from the GLB 250 and the GLB 220 d 4MATIC for now. The GLB 250 offers a combined fuel consumption 7.4 l/100 km. The two-litre diesel engine in the GLB 220d 4MATIC offers a combined fuel consumption of 5.4 l/100 km. Note these are quoted figures. I reviewed the GLB 250 and recorded a figure of 9.8 l/100 km while driving only around town in our Covid lockdown.

With a wheelbase of 2829 millimetres, the GLB is 10cm longer than the new B-Class. The car is 4634 millimetres long, 1834 millimetres wide and 1658 millimetres high. As a result, headroom in the first seat row is 1069 millimetres – an optimum in this segment. At 967 millimetres, the effective legroom in the rear of the five-seater is at an especially comfortable level. The two optional additional individual seats can seat people up to 1.68m tall in relative comfort. So, keep that space for kids or compact teens.

The boot compartment capacity of 570 to 1805 litres boasts the qualities of an estate car. The second row can be moved fore and aft, enabling the boot to be enlarged by up to 190 litres. Comfort details in the third row include two drinks holders between the seats as well as two stowage compartments with a rubberised insert on the left and right in the load compartment trim, each housing a USB port. The seats can be lowered so that they are flush with the load compartment floor to extend the load compartment.

Driving assistance systems are drawn from the Mercedes’ flagship S-Class model, with improved camera and radar systems that allow the GLB to see up to 500 metres ahead and drive in semi-automated mode in certain situations.

The infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) offers a powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, customisable presentation, full-colour head-up display with optional navigation and augmented reality, learning software, and voice control activated with the prompt "Hey Mercedes".

The powerful proportions of the GLB underscore the off-road focus of the design, with an upright front section, striking headlamps and short overhangs at the front and rear. The muscular vehicle shoulder dominates the side view at the height of the C-pillar, an effect reinforced by the rising waistline. The doors reach over the side bar, improving ease of access, and keep the door apertures free of soiling as well as increasing protection in a side impact. All-round protective claddings divide the overall proportions and emphasise the vehicle's off-road character, as does the stylised skid plate at the front and rear.

The GLB 220d 4M is equipped with the permanent all-wheel system 4MATIC, with fully variable torque distribution. The Off-Road Engineering Package is standard on the GLB 220d 4M and includes an additional drive mode that adapts the power delivery of the engine for off-road driving in easy terrain. This is not available in the GLB 250.

A well-made and nicely equipped vehicle; the GLB focus is functional for which it does a good job. It is less of a driver’s car when compared to the compact GLA or the larger GLC models but offers better all-round accommodation with great head and legroom.

 

The competition

The BMW X1, Volvo XC40, Land Rover Discovery Sport and MINI Countryman

The pricing

GLB 250 R839 760

GLB 220d 4Matic R846 880

 

The service and warranty

The Mercedes-Benz GLB is sold with a 5-year 100 000 km maintenance plan.

www.mercedes-benz.co.za

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