Mercedes-Benz hasn’t just joined the modern SUV movement; it has thrown itself at it with a total of eight models for the US market and growing. The Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is one of the latest to join the seemingly never-ending family. This subcompact luxury crossover SUV brings a lot to the table, especially in terms of practicality and style. Under the hood, its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers 221 horsepower to either the front axle or the brand’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. The interior is a typically stunning affair from Mercedes-Benz, with a trick up its sleeve in the form of a third row of seating that sets it apart from rivals like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
Mercedes kindly loaned us a new GLB250 4Matic for a week-long test drive and, in general, it delivered the goods. 4Matic, of course, is Mercedes-speak for AWD, an extremely important feature to have in many parts of the country. Here in Denver, snowy weather struck yet again and the GLB more than proved itself with solid, confident handling and sufficient power. It’s certainly not a true body-on-frame chassis SUV but rather a well-engineered AWD crossover packed with luxury, generous interior volume, and cool tech. But, as always with any luxury vehicle, the price will quickly soar once optional features are checked on the order form.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Changes: What’s the Difference vs the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class?
Almost nothing changes for the 2022 model and the lineup mostly carries over from the 2021 model year. However, if you specify the optional Premium Package, a 115-volt power outlet and SiriusXM satellite radio are now both included in it. There are a few more changes for the AMG models, but we review them separately.
GLB SUV Exterior
Slotting in between the GLA and GLC gives the GLB its distinctive style that lines up with the rest of Mercedes-Benz’s expressive range of SUV offerings. With relatively short overhangs, tall stature, and minimalist design, the GLB looks good from most angles; just ignore the rear which takes heavy influence from the GLS. Standard features include aluminum roof rails, 18-inch alloy wheels, and full LED lighting. Optional exterior features include a panoramic sunroof, AMG body styling, and 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels.
Our GLB came well-equipped with goodies like 19-inch AMG five-spoke wheels, AMG body styling, and an AMG diamond-block grille, the latter two making up the $2,240 AMG Line styling package.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is a five-door luxury subcompact crossover SUV that shares similar dimensions with rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Audi Q3. Its overall length is 182.4 inches, and it is 65.3 inches tall. With the side mirrors included, the GLB-Class measures 79.5 inches wide including mirrors, while the body itself is 72.2 inches wide. The car rolls on an 111.4-inch wheelbase. The front-wheel-drive variant weighs in at 3,638 lbs while the AWD model tips the scales at 3,759 pounds.
Mercedes offers the GLB SUV in your choice of ten colors, with Polar White and Night Black being the only no-cost options. The rest of the palette will cost you $720 and includes metallic options such as Digital White, Cosmos Black, Iridium Silver, Mountain Grey, Denim Blue, Rose Gold, and Patagonia Red. Seeing as this is a Mercedes-Benz, there is no real option other than silver, but if you’re feeling eccentric, Rose Gold is an exciting choice that should stand out from the crowd.
Our tester came with the optional and gorgeous Galaxy Blue Metallic paint for $720. Is it worth the additional money? That entirely depends on personal preference.
2022 GLB-Class Performance
Mercedes-Benz didn’t design the GLB to thrill the driver or deliver mind-blowing acceleration times, but instead to coddle its occupants and offer enough go to comfortably sit with traffic on the highway or climb mild inclines out in the wild. Behind the three-pointed star on the grille hides a turbocharged four-pot that produces a decent 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to your choice of front or all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. According to Mercedes-Benz, the GLB will complete the 0 to 60 sprint in 6.9 seconds regardless of drivetrain, which isn’t bad for a crossover of this ilk. Real-world testing in ideal conditions has yielded times closer to six seconds, placing it on par with the two-row BMW X1. We clocked a 60 mph sprint time of 6.1 seconds in dry conditions.
Acceleration times and top speed do not differ between FWD and AWD cars. It’s clear that the GLB isn’t a straight-line monster but isn’t a slouch either, and that balance makes it a pleasure to drive daily. Of course, there’s something hotter for those who want more performance, but the AMG GLB35 is reviewed separately.
Engine and Transmission
Manufacturers have moved away from large-capacity naturally aspirated engines to power family SUVs. With the assistance of a turbocharger, much smaller engines can produce the same amount of power, increase the torque band, and generally weigh less. Mercedes-Benz has adopted this technique in the GLB. Under the hood of this subcompact crossover, you’ll find a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The important figure here is the torque output, which is available from only 1,800 rpm. This makes the GLB feel plucky in almost any gear, but there’s an issue. At low speeds and from pull off, the GLB can feel sluggish, this could be due to slight turbo lag and transmission delay, but the end result is a slight hesitation that doesn’t inspire confidence – especially when accelerating to highway speeds. In town, there’s enough pluck to scoot through traffic, and at speed, the GLB is a confident cruiser. The eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is crisp and intuitive and always has the right gear on standby. However, we question whether the dual-clutch is the best gearbox of choice. It doesn’t feel necessary for a non-performance vehicle and we wonder whether a more conventional automatic would be more ideally suited. The 9-speed in other Merc models wouldn’t work here due to the GLB’s transverse engine application, but there are more than enough options out there that could do the trick.
Handling and Driving Impressions
Mercedes-Benz has gone with what it does best: the GLB-Class offers a fair amount of power to get it through traffic and power it down the highway, with a significant focus on comfort. Where rivals such as the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 attempt to mimic the driving dynamics of much smaller and agile cars, the GLB accepts the fact that it is an SUV, and it’s much better off for it. That isn’t to say that it’s a wallowing boat on the road; in fact, it feels very composed, but its suspension is sprung for a relaxed driving experience instead of a canyon carving session. As is the norm in this class, the steering is light and almost devoid of feel, but it is precise and helps to place the front end with reasonable accuracy. At low speeds, the GLB feels composed and quickly soaks up bumps, and at speed, the ride feels seamless. Thanks to the GLB’s excellent build quality, sitting inside the cabin while cruising at highway speeds is a relaxing and noise-free experience. It’s not as fun to drive as its rivals, but comfort takes precedence in this class. For an even better driving experience, Mercedes-Benz offers an optional adaptive damping system, which enables the GLB to feel slightly more sporty when the need arises.
Our tester came equipped with that adaptive damping suspension, a $990 option. Although we didn’t get to experience a GLB without it, the system certainly gave the small crossover a sportier feel but it’s also something many drivers could probably do without.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Mileage
When Mercedes designed the GLB, fuel consumption was an important factor to consider. Family SUVs are seeing better and better fuel economy figures as engine technology improves. Thankfully the GLB offers competitive fuel economy figures that stand up to the best in class. The EPA rates that the FWD GLB will manage a best of 24/32/27 mpg city/highway/combined, while the AWD derivative sees a slight drop to 22/30/25 mpg. The BMW X1 will manage a similar 24/33/27 mpg in FWD, while the AWD X1’s 23/31/26 mpg beats the AWD Benz. Top off the 15.9-gallon tank with a helping of premium gas, and the GLB should reach a maximum distance of 429 miles. During our time with the vehicle, we obtained about the same EPA-estimated figures.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Interior
If there’s one thing that Mercedes-Benz excels at, it is designing and building excellent interiors. The look and feel of the GLB’s interior stand above that of BMW and Audi and feels more emotive in general. An impressive characteristic of the GLB’s interior is the sheer amount of space on offer, and five average-sized adults will have no difficulty in finding a comfortable seating position. Its party trick is a third row, which is a little cramped, but a USP among its luxury peers. The build quality is also top-notch, and we didn’t encounter any irritating squeaks or rattles while on the road. The interior of the GLB features a few easy-to-reach controls, as well as a top-mounted infotainment display, and your typical nice-to-haves such as power-adjustable front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control, but Mercedes-Benz has left the majority of the good stuff on the options list.
Seating and Interior Space
The GLB seats up to five adults in standard form, but an optional third-row provides even more seating space for up to seven. This subcompact SUV impresses with its spacious cabin, and getting in and out is a hassle-free task. Once inside, the GLB offers more than enough space in the front for six-footers, and the second row also provides more than enough space with up to 38.1 inches of legroom. The optional third-row seating might add some practicality, but space is very limited, both in terms of leg- and headroom at 34.8 and 29.1 inches respectively, and gaining access to the rear can also prove difficult for adults. It’s best suited for young kids. Those in the front have a commanding view of the road ahead, and visibility is good all around. Occupants in the front also get to enjoy 12-way power-adjustable seats with power lumbar support.
Interior Colors and Materials
The stunning interior of the GLB-Class is adorned in a range of quality materials that give the car a tangible feeling of class and luxury. In standard form, new owners can expect to find the seats upholstered in MB-Tex leatherette in your choice of Black or Macchiato Beige. Going for the Neva Grey and Black, or Black MB-Tex/microfiber with red stitching requires that the AMG Line package be added. Leather options include classic black, Bahia Brown, classic Red and Black, and Titanium Grey and Black – all of which require one to include the heated seats and AMG Line package. Going for leather seats will cost you $1,450 for the leather alone, plus a further $500 for heated front seats and a further $2,700 for the AMG Line prerequisite. Interior trims on offer include Spiral Look (no cost), Natural Grain Black Linden wood, Walnut wood (both $325), and Carbon Structure, which requires the optional AMG Line package.
We thoroughly enjoyed the MB-Tex instead of the conventional leather. Why? Because it’s simply more comfortable and the addition of having heated front seats was the icing on the cake.
Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Trunk and Cargo Space
The GLB might be classified as a luxury subcompact crossover, but it still manages to impress with a large trunk and adequate overall cargo space. Access to the trunk area is controlled by a power liftgate. Once open, the trunk offers a broad and deep loading space, and in total, there are 27 cubic feet of space to occupy beyond the second row in five-seat configuration. With the optional third-row in place, cargo space is limited to just 5.1 cubes, opening up to 24 cubes behind the second row. A pass-through between the second-row seats means longer objects can be slid through. When more space is required, the 40/20/40-split folding 2nd-row seats the overall cargo space grows to a useful 62 cubic feet in five seat configuration, or 56.7 cubic feet in seven-seater spec. The BMW X1 on the other hand offers a total of 58.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
Small items will easily find a home inside the cabin of the GLB, thanks to an array of storage bins and nooks. The glovebox and center storage bin are big enough for a few phones and other personal stuff, and there’s a set of hidden cupholders up front. All four doors get shallow door pockets, and in the rear, the fold-out center armrest also boasts two cupholders.
Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Infotainment and Features
The interior of the GLB might seem plush at first, but in reality, there aren’t too many features as standard, and Mercedes-Benz hopes that new owners will splash on optional extras to drive up the asking price. Standard features include 12-way power-adjustable front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment covered in MB-Tex material, with leather being an optional extra. Our tester also came with a cool-looking AMG Line sport steering wheel – for an extra $360. Dual-zone automatic climate control keeps things temperate, and remote start via the Mercedes Me mobile app makes access a breeze. A power liftgate adds to the practicality of this SUV, as does the illuminated entry system. A seven-inch digital instrument cluster displays all vital info and can be upgraded to a 10.25-inch display. Optional extras include 64-color ambient lighting, third-row seats, and heated and ventilated sport front seats. Standard driver assistance features include blind-spot assist, exit warning assist, and crosswind assist. Still, to get your hands on safety tech such as adaptive high beam assist, active steering assist, and lane-keep assist, one has to pay extra.
There’s nothing much to write home about here. Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment suite is straightforward to operate thanks to a seven-inch touchscreen display and touchpad interface. Despite the small size of the touchscreen, this system still features voice control, four USB-C ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth streaming, and HD Radio. Mercedes-Benz offers a host of optional upgrades, including a 10.25-inch display, navigation with augmented video, in-car Wi-Fi, SiriusXM radio, and TuneIn Radio. For those with a serious love for music, Merc offers a 12-speaker Burmester sound system with a 590-watt nine-channel digital amplifier that is perfect for blasting Unconscious Melody by the Preoccupations.
Those desirable options come at a price, as we previously noted. That 10.25-inch display and digital instrument cluster? Another $1,750 is added to the price but, to be fair, both are part of the Premium Package that also tacks on auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors and folding side mirrors.
Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Problems and Reliability
The GLB-Class was a new entrant for 2020 and was subject to an alarming 14 recalls that year for multiple issues that ranged from airbag problem and water ingress to an inoperative backup-camera display and bits of exterior trim falling off. It’s been improved and the 2021 model was the victim of five recalls, some of them inherited from the previous year. These included water intrusion in the front wheel wells, a rear spoiler and wheel-arch covers that could become detached, a blank backup-camera display, and the ever-problematic eCall system either giving emergency responders an inaccurate vehicle location in case of an accident of failing completely. Thus far, the 2022 model is clear of recalls. However, J.D. Power’s review of the Mercedes-Benz GLB returned only middling scores of 67 out of 100 for quality and reliability. Mercedes-Benz covers the GLB with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, including corrosion and drivetrain cover for the same amount of time/distance traveled.
Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Safety
Due to it being such a new model, or perhaps because Mercedes-Benz hasn’t submitted it for testing, the GLB remains unrated by the IIHS and has yet to receive a review from the agency. The NHTSA has tested it, awarding five stars overall for AWD models and four stars on FWD derivatives. Being a Mercedes-Benz, it’s guaranteed that this car will keep you safe in the case of a serious accident, and with standard driver assistance tech and a long list of optional safety tech, the GLB-Class SUV should have your back 24/7.
Key Safety Features
With a full complement of standard safety features, the GLB-Class should prove to be as safe as any of Mercedes-Benz’s other offerings. The GLB-Class comes with standard active brake assist, attention assist, blind-spot assist, rear exit warning assist, crosswind assist, a rearview camera, seven airbags including a driver knee bag, and rain-sensing window wipers. The list of optional safety gear is extensive, and includes active steering assist, active lane-keeping assist, active lane-change assist, a surround-view system, and active emergency stop assist. Second-row side impact airbags are also available for an additional $700.
Verdict: Is the Mercedes-Benz GLB a Good SUV?
As a relative newcomer to the subcompact luxury SUV market, the GLB has had to put up with some serious competition from its German rivals, as well as competent fighters from across the globe, but the good news is that Mercedes-Benz has delivered a product that is worth looking at. This car’s exterior is more SUV-like than its GLA-Class sibling and is a handsome thing to look at. Under the hood lives a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine that pumps out enough power to get this SUV going at an impressive rate, and while it might not be as fast as its rival from BMW, out in the real world, it feels just as rapid. Whereas cars such as the BMW X1 feel more sporting on the road, the GLB pleases with a comfortable ride. Inside, the GLB offers one of the most beautifully-crafted interior spaces, and while the standard feature list isn’t the longest, you still get all the basics needed to make for a premium experience. The third row is nice to say you have but, again, it’s cramped for adults. But the fact the GLB has it while its competitors don’t says a lot. Competitively priced and good-looking, the GLB should be high on the list for anyone shopping in this category. If a VW Tiguan is simply too plebian and you must have three rows, this is a logical step up.
What’s the Price of the Mercedes-Benz GLB?
Mercedes-Benz has priced the GLB rather aggressively. As a new model, this makes sense, but the GLB has had to sacrifice some features to keep prices down. Still, it is surprisingly affordable for a luxury SUV wearing the three-pointed star on the grille. The FWD GLB 250 goes for an MSRP of $38,600, excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,050. The price of the Mercedes GLB increases to $40,600 for the AWD version. Fully-kitted, the GLB will set you back over $60k.
As previously noted, our loaner came well-equipped with things like metallic paint ($720), an AMG Line sport steering wheel ($360), the Multimedia Package, AMG Line appearance package ($2,240), and the Premium Package. The grand total came to $49,725, including destination.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Models
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB range comprises two trims: GLB 250 and GLB 250 4Matic. Both use the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine with 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, sending its power to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The only difference between them is that the GLB 250 is front-wheel drive and the GLB 250 4Matic is all-wheel drive and costs $2,000 more.
Both trims share the same specification level and look identical on the outside, with LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, and aluminum roof rails. Inside, both get MB-Tex leatherette upholstery, 12-way electrically adjustable front seats with three-position memory, and keyless start. The infotainment system uses dual seven-inch displays – one for the digital gauge cluster and one for the infotainment touchscreen – and incorporates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a touchpad controller, HD Radio, and four USB ports. Standard safety features include seven airbags, active brake assist, crosswind assist, rear exit warning assist, attention assist, and blind-spot monitoring.
On the options list are items such as a panoramic sunroof, a 13-speaker Burmester audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, and second-row side airbags.
Mercedes-Benz will let you stuff the GLB-Class to the brim with optional extras. The exterior can be bedazzled with the $2,700 AMG Line appearance package, which adds features such as 19-inch AMG five-spoke wheels, an AMG body styling kit, and a chrome diamond-block grille. Individual features such as a panorama roof ($1,500), illuminated star badge ($350), and carbon fiber mirror caps ($250) are also on offer. On the inside, the GLB is offered with the $1,700 Premium Package, which adds 10.25-inch instrument and infotainment screens, power-folding side mirrors, hands-free access, SiriusXM, a 114-volt power outlet, and keyless-go for $1,750. The $1,300 Multimedia Package adds navigation, augmented video, and speed limit assist. The $1,700 Driver Assistance Package is a must-have, adding tech such as active steering assist, brake assist with cross-traffic function, and lane keep and lane change assist. Other standalone items worth including are the $850 Burmester sound system and the $200 wireless charging pad.
What Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Model Should I Buy?
This car is first and foremost a luxury vehicle that aims to transport its occupants in a refined and relaxed manner. The fact that it’s an SUV doesn’t necessarily mean that it can go off-road, and even if owners decide to take on dirt roads, they won’t be able to take on any serious trails. For this reason, we would suggest going with the FWD car for most buyers. As always, there’s a caveat to this, and if you live in snow-prone regions, then AWD is a boon. In FWD configuration, the GLB-Class uses slightly less fuel, weighs less, and costs less. We would suggest opting for the $1,750 Premium Package, and the $1,700 Driver Assistance Package, for a total cost of $42,795.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Comparisons
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class vs BMW X3
The BMW X3 is possibly one of the best compact luxury SUVs on the market right now and stands at the opposite end of the GLB-Class which is technically classified in a smaller class. Under the hood of the 2022 BMW X3 lies a 248-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-pot or turbocharged six-cylinder that develops 382 hp and 369 lb-ft. In either configuration, the BMW is quicker than the GLB-Class, but the more powerful six-cylinder will guzzle down fuel at a more rapid rate. On the road, the Mercedes and BMW are two completely different beasts; the BMW is stiffer but sharper in the corners and is the more dynamic car to pilot, but some may prefer the comfort of the GLB. The BMW X3 offers excellent cargo space, making it slightly more practical, but the GLB has a better interior, and the option of a third row of seats. The GLB-Class undercuts the BMW X3 by around $5,000, making it the winner in our books.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class vs Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV
The GLC has been around longer and sits one rung above the GLB in Mercedes-Benz’s SUV roster. Classified as a compact luxury crossover SUV, the GLC takes on a sleeker exterior design, making the GLB look more Geländewagen than modern crossover. Under the hood, the GLC also gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, producing a more muscular 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The GLC sends its power to the rear or all fours via a nine-speed automatic transmission. The GLC is also a comfortable thing to drive and is arguably the more dynamically talented of the two. Inside, the GLC offers the same stylish design and adds a few luxury features such as standard heated front seats. The GLB, however, offers more cargo space. Starting at around $44,000, the GLC is a more stylish and more powerful option that should appeal to the slightly vain, but you pay for the privilege.