Sunday, March 22, 2020

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB300: The Brand's Newest Entry

         

Highlight: This vehicle is also available as a 7-seater.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $57,600 (Base Model: $37,595)

Seating Capacity: 5 to 7 seater

Safety Features: ABS; air bags; rearview camera; auto dimming mirrors; an active braking system; a hill start assist system; a brake hold feature; a crosswind assist system; electronic stability control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and 3 years of Mercedes me connect service 


Standard Features: 18-inch wheels; a 7-inch touchscreen; a keyless ignition starter system; heated power side mirrors; pseudo leather seats; power front seats with a 3-position memory system; rear seats with a partially incline; a variety of driving modes; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a power liftgate  

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a 10-inch infotainment screen; a 10-inch digital instrument cluster display; power folding exterior mirrors; a keyless entry systemnavigation; augmented reality for navigation and traffic sign assist system; multicontour seats; SiriusXM; Burmester surround sound system; a panoramic sunroof; a wireless charging system; a heads up display system; a heated steering wheel; and 64-color ambient lighting

Other Trims:

GB250 4Matic SUV

AMG GLB 

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an AM/FM/HD with satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Smartphone/Android- AppleCar Play Compatibility: Yes
                                                                                   
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo /221-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 23-city/30-hwy



What’s New: As the German brand continues to appeal to a younger niche, the entry-level SUV-like crossover, which wears the name GLB, is the newest entry to be added to the luxury brand’s portfolio. 

Why: The all-new GLB is one of the most economically priced vehicles currently available in the luxury brand's portfolio. Unlike a traditional rear wheel drive Mercedes-Benz, the GLB is able to start at a price point under $40,000 because of its front wheel drive platform. For those seeking a vehicle that is capable of weathering most driving conditions, an all-wheel drive configuration is available.

Being that the average price of a new vehicle these days is just a hare under the $40,000 mark, the GLB is the perfect vehicle to fit the niche for price sensitive car buyers yearning to join the luxury ranks.

And despite the economical base price and the front wheel drive configuration, this is still a Mercedes-Benz through and through. In fact, the brand's latest entry is a no compromise vehicle. Due to the tall roofline, which reminds us of the discontinued Chevy HHR and the PT Cruiser, the all-new GLB rides and handles like a German-engineered vehicle. 

In the roomy wagon-like vehicle, which offers great visibility, one can expect to find such standard features as a three position memory front seats to a keyless entry system to a dual zone automatic climate control system. There is loads of cargo space too. In fact, one can fold down the second row seats, enhancing the cargo capacity. 

Added to that, for those seeking more amenities, one can easily option out the vehicle, adding such features as a third row seat, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather seats, a keyless entry system and an auto dimming mirrors.

However, for those yearning to take advantage of the latest in-vehicle technology, one can consider opting for the augmented video for the navigation system to the 10-inch digital instrument cluster and 10-infotainment system. Both 10-inch systems combined together resembles a giant Ipad.

Another highlight of this vehicles is the exterior shape. The tall roofline of Mercedes-Benz’s newest entry reminds us of the discontinued Chevy HHR and Chrysler PT Cruiser crossovers. While the folks of Mercedes-Benz might steer clear of the comparison, both the Chevy and the Chrysler, which were designed by the same person, also allows for an open a functional and roomy interior.

Moreover, the ride and handing characteristics are what one would expect from a Mercedes-Benz. We had an opportunity to spend some time behind the wheel during Georgia’s rainy season. We found the vehicle to be both safe and quite capable. The five seater vehicle, which is powered by a peppy 4-cylinder engine, seemed more than adequate for the brand’s newest addition.

Furthermore, such safety driving aids as active steering assist to an active lane keep assist system to an active lane change system is available.

Lastly, for those seeking to the alter the look and handling capabilities of the GLB300, an AMG trim is available. With the high performance trim, one can ad 19-inch AMG wheels, body styling, sport front seats, a sport steering wheel and painted front brakes with painter calipers.

But: While the front seats were outfitted with a variety of massage settings, we could not figure out how to activate the heated and ventilated seats. Go figure?

Also are American buyers willing to spend time behind the wheel of a vehicle that doesn’t necessarily carry the exterior cache one expects from a premium luxury maker? The quirky design vehicle seemed more fitting for the European market than the American market.

Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz new generation voice control system known as MBUX seemed to be overly sensitive. The Alexa-like system was seeking commands without us requesting one. It seems like the brand needs spend some additional time working the kinks out of their much touted system.

Lastly, when optioned out, pricing can approach the $60,000. The economical price of entry can easily go out the window.



Verdict: For those seeking a quirky design vehicle with loads of personality at what is considered a bargain for entry into the luxury crossover arena, the GLB is worth considering.

Mercedes-Benz continues to expand their portfolio filling niches to appeal to all types of buyers. However, is this strategy working? Ironically BMW, which is one of the brand’s main competitors, which offers fewer vehicles in its portfolio, still managed to outsell Mercedes-Benz last year.

Competition: BMW X1; Volvo XC40; MINI Cooper Countryman and Range Rover Discovery Sport

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