SUVs have indeed become the default family vehicle of choice nowadays, and Mercedes-Benz is also aware of this. When the Mercedes-Benz GLB was first unveiled in 2019, it was intended to be positioned in between the smaller GLA and the much larger rear-wheel drive (RWD) GLC class. Sharing the same platform, with the A-Class, B-Class, and GLA, its noteworthy difference is the fact that this 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB 200 AMG Line is a seven-seater, the first and only one in the compact luxury crossover category. This makes it quite the versatile choice amongst its competitors.
The GLB takes a combination of exterior design cues from its relatives (the GLS and the GLC) capped off with its AMG Line styling package, from the sporty front end carrying the diamond star radiator grille, polished roof rails, side skirts, to the selectively placed chrome trims and sporty 19-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels. The car doesn’t look bulky despite its size and still maintains a bit of subtlety.
Inside, there is a familiarity for those who have ridden in its little brother, the GLA. The faux carbon trim and red stitching is not excessive and go perfectly with the AMG steering wheel. The seats are wrapped in black leather and suede but due to their sporty nature, the seats will feel a bit stiff. I personally feel they could have skipped the sportiness for this part and replaced it with something more comfortable. However, the wide array of adjustments allow you to find the best fit possible.
The high-tech, fully digital instrument cluster is very clean, clear, and simple. It works hand in hand with the MBUX infotainment system which has various input methods, either through the touch screen, steering wheel touchpad, or the center console touchpad. You may also summon the virtual assistant by saying “Hey Mercedes!” and then followed up by a conversational command.
The second row gives the average passenger comfortable legroom and headroom though I think a car with ample roof width such as this deserves a sunroof/moonroof. Jumping all the way to the third row, you won’t feel like you drew the short straw in the seating arrangement game as it’s quite comfortable as well and even comes with central cup holders and a charging port on each side. It may appear tight at first glance but the automaker does claim that it can fit individuals that are around 5 foot 6 inches in height.
The practicality of this car doesn’t stop there. With the third row deployed, the GLB can carry 320-liters worth of luggage. Fold the third row down and you get a good 560-liters worth of cargo. When you fold the second and third row, you get a whopping 1,680-liters of boot space!
The 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is no slouch either and quite impressive for a car this size. I was expecting it to feel a bit underpowered but was pleasantly surprised with the response and acceleration, putting the car in Sport mode gives you that extra “oomph” when you need to overtake or have a bit of open road to stretch the car’s legs.
With 163-horsepower and 250 Nm of torque mated with a smooth dual-clutch seven-speed transmission, the GLB moves from 0-100 in roughly 8 seconds which is rather quick. The car isn’t a guzzler either which is sometimes a common assumption for “big luxury cars”, the car averages about 10 to 12 km/l depending on the traffic conditions. The steering is nimble and the brakes are effective. The ride inside is smooth, quiet, and comfortable. The noise insulation is excellent as road and external noise is nearly non-existent which really gives you that “luxury” feel. A bonus given by this silence is that you hear the turbocharger and blow-off valve at work.
The overall features of the car are what you’d expect from a luxury automaker, however, a part of what makes up those expectations were missing such as keyless entry, automatic folding side mirrors, and an automated trunk lid which even non-luxury brands come standard with.
For people who want a practical luxury crossover with ample seating capability fit for large families or group travels, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB 200 AMG offers the fundamentals well, even if there are a few missing features here and there. It blurs the line between compact luxury SUV and MPV due to its sheer practicality despite its compact size. Priced at P3,790,000, it is more affordable than the GLC and BMW X3 and in all honesty, it does not even have a direct competitor.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.3 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.