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Mercedes-Benz GLB review

2019 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 54.0
” Mercedes-Benz reinvents the compact family MPV “

At a glance

Price new £38,755 - £53,200
Used prices £20,531 - £40,567
Road tax cost £180 - £570
Insurance group 24 - 35
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Fuel economy 37.2 - 50.4 mpg
Range 515 - 700 miles
Miles per pound 5.5 - 6.4
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types



Pros & cons

  • Impressive, tech-laden cabin
  • Rapid AMG performance version
  • Decent standard equipment levels
  • Third row best suited to children
  • A lot of high-tech kit costs extra
  • Not as flexible as more traditional MPVs

Written by Keith WR Jones Published: 9 November 2023 Updated: 13 November 2023


In this review

  1. Introduction 
  2. Practicality
  3. Interior
  4. Comfort
  5. Running costs and mpg
  6. Reliability
  7. Engines and driving
  8. Handling
  9. Safety
  10. Verdict

The Mercedes GLB was a new addition to the company’s range when it was introduced in 2019 – and it’s a bit of a niche-buster. It’s an SUV designed to slot between the GLA and GLC but, despite its relatively compact dimensions, Mercedes has somehow managed to squeeze a third row of seats into its cabin. We think this clever packaging makes it one of the best seven-seat SUVs you can buy.

Its seating capacity pits it against cars such as Peugeot 5008, SEAT Tarraco and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, along with the plethora of seven-seat van-based MPVs from Stellantis. However, none of its rivals share the offer level of prestige and desirability as the GLB.

You can even have a high-performance Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic variant, which further adds to car’s appeal. The only other mainstream SUV that offers a similar experience is the recently discontinued Skoda Kodiaq vRS. So, the GLB is a certainly unique offering – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth your cash.

Trim levels detailed

The GLB is available with four trim levels, aside from the AMG GLB 35, ranging from entry-level Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus. All versions get sat-nav, a reversing camera, heated half leather front seats, dual-zone climate control and cruise control as standard, yet we reckon the spec to aim for is AMG Line Premium or above. With this, you get the larger 10.25-inch central infotainment screen and digital cockpit display, both of which help to lift what is already an exceptional cabin.

Standard safety features are also extensive, and include Active Brake Assist (a form of autonomous emergency braking), Active Bonnet (improves pedestrian safety), Active Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist, Speed Limit Assist and the eCall emergency call system, capable of automatically alerting the emergency services if you’re involved in an accident.

Mercedes-Benz GLB practicality

  • Seven-seats as standard on almost all versions
  • Vast amounts of room for second row passengers
  • Suite of safety tech, plus more available as options

Up front, the Mercedes-Benz GLB delivers a spacious cabin area that drivers and passengers of all sizes should be able to get comfortable in. Storage space is also ample, thanks to large door pockets, a sizeable locker under the centre armrest, a place to put your phone forward of the centre console and a reasonably proportioned glovebox.

This all standard fare for a car of this size, yet it’s when you climb into the second-row of seats that the GLB really begins to impress. The feeling of outright space is considerable – certainly far, far more than you get in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class with which it shares much of its underpinnings.

Footroom, kneeroom and legroom are all very generous and allow plenty of space for those in the outer rear seats. Of course, it’s not quite as generous as, for example, a Skoda Kodiaq, yet it feels much bigger than an Audi Q3.

Mercedes GLB (2023) review: rear seats, black leather upholstery
The GLC’s rear seats can slide independently of one another.

The GLB’s second-row seats can also recline and slide forwards and backwards independently of one another, allowing greater legroom for those in the third-row seats in the case of the latter. Space in the rearmost seats is quite tight, but usable nonetheless. An average height male should be able to sit in relative comfort for around 30 minutes, however those any taller will find both head and legroom lacking. Climbing into the third row requires a certain amount of dexterity, too.

However, it’s important to note that in order to have any legroom in the third-row seats, the second-row bench must be slid forwards. This is the major differentiator from a larger seven-seat car, where those in the third row can be accommodated with little effect on those in the second.

Storage space in the back is workable, with large door pockets, nets behind the front seats, cupholders in the centre armrest and USB-C ports available. Meanwhile, those in the third row also get a small storage space on either side (with more USB-C connectivity) and cupholders in the middle. Isofix points are fitted as standard on the outer second row seats and third row seats.

Mercedes-Benz GLB (2021) rear-most seat up
Boot space depends on how many seats you’re using. The maximum is 1,680 litres for the seven-seat model.

As for bootspace, the GLB delivers a variety of measurements depending on whether you go for five or seven seats, and what configuration said seats are in. For example, opt for the latter, as most UK buyers will, and with all seats in place there’s 150 litres of luggage capacity on offer.

Fold the third-row of seats down and there’s 700 litres of space when loaded to the roof. Meanwhile, with both the third- and second-row seats down, 1,680 litres become available. Measurements for the five-seat version are 770 litres with all seats in place and 1,805 litres with the second row down. Note that boot space can also be increased depending on how far forward the second-row seat base and seat backs are adjusted.

Mercedes-Benz GLB interior

  • Design is largely copied from Mercedes-Benz A-Class
  • Some subtle nods to the G-Class SUV, however
  • Twin screens still feel like the centre point of the cabin

The GLB’s interior is very similar to the A-Class’s (and others based on the same basic structure), therefore, the order of the day is crisp, modern, mostly high quality materials, plus plenty of high-end technology on offer. However, certain elements of the cabin, such as the brushed metal grab handles on the doors, and more substantial facia directly in front of the passenger feel like nods to Mercedes’ G-Class SUV.

Much of the cabin’s design also depends on which trim level you go for. As well as cosmetic changes (AMG Line models upwards get a chunkier sports steering wheel for example), the two dashboard-mounted screens (arguably the centre point of the cabin) vary in size.

Mercedes GLB (2023) review: dashboard, infotainment system and front seats, black leather upholstery
The GLB’s cabin is a lot like the A-Class’s. Go for the larger screens if you can.

Sport and AMG Line versions make do with the 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and 7.0-inch infotainment screen, while AMG Line Premium models an up get the full 10.25-inch monitors. And while both iterations run the same MBUX software, it’s clear that the GLB cabin has been designed to work best with the larger screens.

MBUX is becoming more familiar throughout the Mercedes-Benz range, with its sharp graphics, speedy processor and seemingly endless functionality – not to mention its ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice activation (that works like Siri, but in your car) and Mercedes me connect. Smart as it is, however, we still reckon that equivalents systems from Audi and BMW are easier to navigate with simpler controls.

All GLBs come as standard with :

  • Cruise control
  • Two-zone climate control
  • 180-degree reversing camera
  • Heated front seats
  • Light and sight interior lighting package
  • Sat-nav
  • Artico man-made leather and Albury fabric upholstery
  • 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and 7.0-inch infotainment screen
  • Apple CarPlay/Android auto

How comfortable is the GLB?

  • Comfortable standard fit half-leather seats
  • UK cars won’t get air suspension…
  • Worth waiting to see our review of how the car drives in the UK

Naturally, both the driver and passenger sit high up in the GLB’s standard driving position. There’s a broad range of adjustment in both the seat and steering wheel, too, meaning occupants of all heights shouldn’t have any problem getting comfortable. Visibility is good too, with the car’s boxy profile allowing a mostly uninterrupted view out from all angles.  

European cars are optionally available with adaptive suspension, but the only GLB available in the UK with that tech is the performance AMG 35 variant. The regular variants have fixed, or passive, suspension which is perfectly agreeable for UK roads providing you steer clear of the biggest 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels. The bigger alloys make the ride unnecessarily firm, so stick with the standard 18-inch wheels.

Mercedes GLB (2023) review: front seats, black leather upholstery
The GLB is reasonably comfortable. The ride is on the firm side, though.

Engine refinement is in line with other Mercedes-Benz vehicles – good, but not quite as smooth-sounding as BMW and Audi equivalents, while wind noise in the GLB is a notch up on the A-Class, but still largely unintrusive.  

Mercedes-Benz GLB running costs and mpg

  • Impressive claimed fuel economy
  • Despite the lack of hybrid powertrains
  • Pricier servicing and parts than non-premium manufacturers

The GLB delivers impressive claimed fuel economy figures across the range. The most frugal option is the front-wheel drive 200 d, which Mercedes says can return up to 50.4mpg. Even the petrol variants aren’t bad considering the size and weight of the car, though, with the 200 and AMG 35 4Matic models returning up to 40.4mpg and 31.0mpg respectively in WLTP tests.

In the real world, you can expect to get between 5.5 - 6.4 mpp (miles per pound), which is more than acceptable for an SUV of this size. Unsurprisingly, the diesel will go a lot further for your money than the petrol version.

Mercedes GLB (2023) review: LED taillight, silver paint
Fuel costs aren’t too bad. The 200 d can average upwards of 40mpg.

Being a Mercedes-Benz, servicing and parts will be pricier than a non-premium manufacturer, however you should expect a higher standard of customer care at the dealership. Residual values for the GLB are yet to be confirmed.

Is the GLB reliable?

  • Our owner reviews section suggests its a reliable car
  • Shares parts and platform with big-selling A-Class
  • Unlimited-mile, three-year warranty on all new GLBs

We’re around four years into the GLB life cycle and we haven’t heard any horror stories yet. Drivers commenting in our owner reviews section also give a largely positive report of the car’s reliability. This was expected, though, because it shares many mechanical parts (and a platform) with the big-selling Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Mercedes hasn’t issued any recalls for the car, either.

If you buy one, you might want keep an eye on the interior. A-Class owners report poor build quality and rattly trims. But the cars we’ve driven feel more heavy duty than the A-Class, with a pleasing solidity to most buttons and controls – the cheap and tacky feeling stalks on the steering column being a notable exception. Like all new Mercedes-Benz models, the GLB comes with an unlimited-mile three-year warranty.

Mercedes-Benz GLB engines and driving

  • Two petrol and two diesel engines on offer
  • Front- and all-wheel drive available, all versions are auto
  • Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic delivers hot-hatch performance

The Mercedes-Benz GLB is available with a range of four engines – two petrols and two diesels – with a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive. All models come as standard with either an eight- or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

If you want a petrol, there’s the choice between the entry-level front-wheel drive GLB 200 (1.3-litre four-cylinder) and the performance-focused AMG GLB 35 4Matic (2.0-litre four-cylinder), the latter of which we’ll discuss in more detail further down the page.

Opt for the GLB 200 and the figures are 163hp and 250Nm of torque, good for 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds and a top speed of 129mph. Note that this is the only GLB variant to come with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, as opposed to the rest that use an eight-speed.

For performance fans in need of seven seats, the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 is almost in a class of its own, thanks to the dearth of obvious alternatives. Packing a 306hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, there’s always a strong turn of speed when required despite the 1.7-tonne kerb weight.

Mercedes GLB (2023) review: front three quarter driving, silver paint, British B-road
The standard GLB’s are adequate, while the AMG model is thrilling.

Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 5.2 seconds, with top speed rated at 155mph. The gearbox can be a little slow to respond sometimes, yet you can learn to work around it and adapt the drive modes settings accordingly. It makes a decent sound, too, with an entertaining induction whoosh from the turbocharger when accelerating in gear.

Diesel variants, meanwhile, consist of the GLB 200 d and GLB 220 d – both 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines. The former is available with both front- and all-wheel drive, and produces 150hp and 320Nm of torque. That’s enough for 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds and a top speed of 127mph. If that’s not enough and you fancy the 220 d, output is increased to 190hp and 400Nm of torque, bringing the 0-62mph time down to 7.6 seconds and top speed up to 135mph. 4Matic all-wheel drive is also standard with the 220 d.

We’ve driven the 220d and reckon it does everything you need in a seven-seat SUV. Power and torque is plentiful, with performance feeling brisk even when loaded up with occupants and luggage. Granted, it’s a touch noisier than you might expect – especially when revved ­– yet the GLB’s sound deadening does a reasonable job of drowning out the worst of it.

How does the GLB handle?

  • Safe but enjoyable handling
  • GLB 35 is impressively capable
  • Wider and longer than an A-Class – and it feels it  

Seven-seat cars aren’t usually the most exciting to drive as the emphasis is on safety and predictability. With this in mind, the GLB does a decent job of combining the two. It’s obviously heavier and taller than the A-Class on which it’s based, yet there’s still a pleasing amount of agility on offer – both at high and low speeds.

Optional 4Matic all-wheel drive also allows for strong traction on wet roads, with the standard power split being 80% of drive sent to the front and 20% to the rear, however this does automatically adjust depending on grip levels. Various drive modes also mean you can adjust the weight of the steering from light (ideal for city driving) to heavier (better for motorways and twisty country roads).

Mercedes GLB (2023) review: rear three quarter driving, silver paint, British B-road
The GLB is more nimble than its shape and size would suggest.

Measuring up at roughly 4.63 metres long and 1.83 metres wide, it’s noticeably bigger than the A-Class, so you won’t enjoy the same nimble feel in narrow urban streets and multi-story car parks, yet the view out is improved and allows you to see the end of the long bonnet.

A 180-degree rear view camera is fitted as standard, as is a handy spread of parking sensors around the car, plus you can build on this with Parktronic Active Parking Assist – allowing a full camera view of the car’s surroundings and automatic parking.

If you want to take the GLB off-piste, the optional Off-Road Engineering Package (standard-fit in the UK) brings an additional drive mode for the rough stuff, gradient and inclination angle info on the media screen and downhill speed regulation that helps retain control when driving down steep hills.

Mercedes-Benz GLB (2021) driving
You can tailor the GLB to your driving style, with both sporty AMG and rugged off-road extras.

Also fitted – in conjunction with the Multibeam LED headlamps – is the off-road light that’s permanently switched on up to 30mph and helps highlight obstacles in the rough terrain. Like most ‘off-roaders’ of this ilk, the GLB does have its limits, however they’re likely to be far higher than most customers will ever need.

Opt for the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic and handling is largely the same as the regular car, but with a few bits sharpened up. The brakes, for example, do an excellent job of scrubbing speed off into corners, while body control is tighter (where the body of the car leans less on the chassis through corners) and the steering feels a touch more direct. It’s not as much fun as an A 35, yet it is surprisingly capable and the idea of hurtling along in a seven-seat ‘off-roader’ is a childishly amusing one in itself.

Mercedes-Benz GLB safety

Given Mercedes’ enviable safety record, it was no surprise that the GLB scored a full five-star rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2019. This is because the GLB shares a platform with the A-Class and B-Class, both cars that have achieved the maximum score.

Standard safety equipment on the GLB includes:

  • Active Brake Assist (a form of autonomous emergency braking)
  • Active Bonnet (improves pedestrian safety)
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Attention Assist (monitors the driver for drowsiness)
  • Speed Limit Assist
  • Cruise control
  • eCall emergency call button (built in SOS button, also capable of automatically contacting emergency services and alerting them to the vehicle’s location in the event of a serious accident)
  • Four Isofix points (two on five-seat models)

The optional Driving Assistance Pack (also standard on AMG Line Premium Plus) includes:

  • Active Distance Assist Distronic (similar to adaptive cruise control)
  • Active Steer Assist in conjunction with Active Lane Change Assist (automatically changes lane when Distronic is activated)
  • Active Speed Limit Assist in conjunction with Traffic Sign Assist (recognises road signs and optionally adjust the speed limit accordingly) and route-based speed adjustment (for example, reduces speed when Distronic is activated and vehicle is approaching a roundabout)
  • Evasive Steering Assist (vehicle is capable of automatically performing an evasive manoeuvre)
  • Active Blindspot Assist
  • Pre-Safe Plus (capable of detecting imminent rear collisions and applying brakes to reduce risk of injury)

Watch: Mercedes-Benz GLB Euro NCAP crash test

Verdict: should you buy a Mercedes-Benz GLB?

Yes, and we like it so much, we made it the 2021 Best Medium Family Car in the Parkers New Car Awards. If you’re looking for a seven-seater that’s a little bit different to the rest. The Mercedes-Benz GLB is a convincing, if pricey, option, though. Space in the third row of seats is tighter than with a Skoda Kodiaq or Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, yet in return you get a car that’s nicer to drive, has a better interior and features the all-important Mercedes-Benz badge.

There’s also the small matter of the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic performance version. The novelty factor of a seven-seater that’s as fast as a hot-hatchback will be lost on many, yet for those interested it’s in a class of its own – even if the price might be rather eye-watering on paper.

We reckon that you should be aiming for at least the AMG Line Premium model, as this comes as standard with the 10.25-inch infotainment display and digital cockpit, both of which make the cabin feel far more special than the standard 7.0-inch versions. Other goodies such as augmented reality sat-nav and upgraded sound system also come with AMG Line Premium.

As for engines, the 200 d will do everything you’re likely to require, although the 220 d may be better suited if you want that bit more flexibility.

Further reading:

Mercedes-Benz GLB (2020) rear view

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