This is Mercedes' latest addition to its SUV line-up, which now totals eight models. As its name suggests, the GLB slots into the range between the GLA and GLC. So far, so straightforward. As the ‘B’ part of its name suggests, however, this can be considered as a sort of rough and tumble version of the B-Class, meaning there’s more than a touch of MPV to this SUV.
How much? Well, like the recently refreshed Land Rover Discovery Sport, the GLB is a seven-seater. And unlike it’s GLC and GLE big brothers, but like the smaller GLA, this latest addition is available in both two and four-wheel drive guises.
Externally the GLB looks a little like a shrunken GLS, which means it’s an upright and boxy presence on the road. You’ll have to make your own mind up about the looks, but from angles it’s slightly ungainly, while from others there’s more than a hint of Citroen C5 Aircross.
Inside matters improve markedly, the GLB getting the same slickly laid out wall-to-wall TFT infotainment and instrument cluster that debuted in the A-Class a year or so back. That means it features the MBUX operating system that adds the handy ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control, while new to the GLB is the ability to use the system to pay directly for parking or download extra features, such as Apple CarPlay.
Overall the interior is a high quality affair that rivals anything on offer from BMW and Audi. In fact, with its neat trio of eyeball air vents, metal finished air conditioning controls and three-spoke multi-function steering wheel you could be inside an A-Class, raised driving position aside. That and the use of surprisingly low grade plastics in the lower half of the cabin.
It’s fairly spacious, however, even if the third row of seats are really only of use for very young children or occasional adult use - with the sliding second row in its rearmost setting there’s virtually no legroom behind. Speaking of space, boot capacity shrinks from a handy 570-litres with third row stowed (they fold into the floor in one easy movement), to virtually nothing with the chairs raised - a Discovery Sport offers more space with seats up and down.
Underpinning the GLB is essentially the same MFA2 platform as the A-Class, although it’s been stretched and pulled to accommodate those extra seats. The familiar architecture means a similar line-up of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, up to and including the 302bhp 2.0-litre from the A35. However, it’s the entry-level, front-wheel drive GLB200 petrol we sample here, its 161bhp 1.3-litre turbocharged four pot developed jointly with Nissan and Renault.