2020 Mercedes GLB250: Boxy Benz
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 may be the most family-friendly vehicle the German luxury manufacture has ever made. But that does not mean it is compromised.
The all-new GLB250 is a compact crossover SUV that starts at $36,600 for a two-wheel-drive version, which is about the average price of a new car these days. But the engineering, fit and finish, interior materials and standard technologies are all fully up to Mercedes' high standards — which is to say, as good or better than any other genuine luxury compact crossover.
More than that, the GLB250 offers a tremendous amount of interior space, thanks to its upright, boxy design. Unlike many compact crossovers, it is not trying to look like a sporty coupe. The roofline is not sloped or rounded, reducing head and shoulder room.
To me, it looks like a larger version of the early Subaru Foresters — a cult classic designed to be practical first and foremost. A third row of seats is even available, although only small children will stand them for long.
But that does not mean the GLB250 is boring to drive. To the contrary, our test version felt light and nimble, despite being equipped with the extra weight of the company's optional 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.
Much of the credit for that goes to the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four that pumps out 221 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque. It is mated to a smooth-shifting dual clutch eight-speed automative transmission. As expected performance is muted in the gas-saving Eco mode and respectable in the comfort mode. But it is impressive in the Sport mode and programmable for enthusiasts in the Dynamic Select mode.
The GLB250 comes standard with the company's newest and most innovative infotainment system, called the Mercedes-Benz User Experience or MBUX for short. It is both voice-activated and operated through a touch pad on the center console that takes some practice to master.
In addition to 4MATIC AWD, our test GLB250 was equipped with a number of other options including safety, multimedia and premium packages that pushed the total retail price to $50,480. That's still a very reasonable price for a fully-loaded, genuine luxury compact crossover, however — and especially for a genuine Mercedes-Benz.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 4MATIC SUV
Base price: $36,600
Price as tested: $50,480
Type: Compact SUV
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (221 hp, 258 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 23/31
Overall length: 182.4 inches
Curb weight: 3,869 pounds
Final assembly: Aguascalientes, Mexico
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