Mercedes widens SUV choice with new compact GLB
Car manufacturers are very good at spotting niches in the market. They're even better at building cars to fill those niches.
The downside to this is when it comes to choosing a new car you are suddenly faced with a bewildering array of choices. Unless you go for something that ticks all the boxes that most sensible, practical people are looking to tick.
Something like the new Mercedes GLB Compact SUV perhaps?
Apparently one in every three Mercedes-Benz cars sold is now an SUV, and one in four is a compact model, so it's a bit of a no-brainer for Stuttgart's finest engineers to create a compact SUV like the GLB which combines the best bits of both.
The Mercedes-Benz compact range now consists of seven models: the A-Class, A-Class Saloon, B-Class, CLA Coupé, CLA Shooting Brake and the GLA are already on the market. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if the GLA is an SUV version of the A-Class then the new Mercedes GLB is probably an SUV version of the B-Class. In other words it's a bit bigger for people who want the ability to carry more things, or as Mercedes are keen to point out, more friends.
It's a genuine off-road capable car with short overhangs and increased ground clearance but it's unlikely that will be its main use. Mercedes offering the 4Matic all-wheel drive system as an option rather than standard equipment reinforces this point quite well. Rather than being there for practical purposes most people will be drawn to the GLB because the SUV look is hugely popular, and in the case of a Mercedes SUV, a lot of road road presence.
The interior is the reason why most people will opt for the new GLB, more specifically the amount of space and practicality it offers. It's longer and taller than a regular B-Class allowing for increased head and legroom as well as a large boot space. There is also the option of a further two seats in the boot so you have the choice to trade luggage space for people and turn the GLB into a 7-seater whenever the need arises.
The instrument panel and controls are taken from the latest models in the compact range and are quite frankly gorgeous. The large panel display that runs across the dashboard doubles up as the instruments and infotainment screen usually found separately, the result being a very clean and uncluttered interior with a modern look.
The Mercedes GLB is available with the same choice of engines as the rest of the compact range. There are two petrol versions to choose from - a 1.3-litre unit producing around 160bhp for the GLB 200, and a 2.0-litre, 220bhp version for the GLB 250 - and a 2.0-litre diesel producing 150bhp and 190bhp in the GLB 200 d and GLB 220 d respectively. Emissions range from 129 to 169 g/km depending on engine and gearbox configuration, and economy figures go from 57mpg in the 200 d to 38mpg from the range topping GLB 250.
The new Mercedes GLB may well be a capable off-roader but that's not really the point. This is a compact SUV that offers practicality, equipment, and comfort, and for good measure sticks a big, three-pointed star on the front. If that sounds like your next lease car then there is nothing about the new GLB that's not to like.
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