Just when we thought German luxury brands had every conceivable SUV niche filled, along comes the all-new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250. A compact luxury 3-row utility may not be a question few Americans are asking, but Benz’s answer is a compelling one nonetheless.

We got our first drive in the GLB in Phoenix Arizona, and were immediately taken with its resemblance to great big brother GLS. Short overhangs, a long, full-height profile and full-length side glass make the GLB appear bigger than its 111-point-4-inch wheelbase would suggest. The look is more utilitarian than the cute-UTE GLA and sporty GLC that bookend it in the Mercedes lineup.

A 2-liter turbo I-4 produces 221 horsepower, mated to a smooth shifting 8-speed dual-clutch automatic. Performance is more than adequate for daily driving with a claimed 6-point-9 second 0-to-60, and 30 mpg on the highway. Power goes to the front wheels. The optional 4matic sends varying amounts of torque to the rear depending on the drive mode.

The boxy profile houses a versatile interior. It’s the first compact Mercedes with optional 3-row seating for up to 7, although that back row is child friendly at best. Maximum cargo space is 62 cubic feet. The cabin is quiet, comfortable and well-appointed, including the advanced MBUX infotainment system… that responds to natural voice commands. The technology is easily visible on the 7-inch digital instrument cluster and a 7-inch touchscreen.

Now, GLB could stand for “grand little box,” as it’s just the right size for growing families and just the right mix of old-school utility and up-to-the-minute engineering. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is on sale now, starting at under $37,000. 


  • Price: Starting at under $37,000
  • Horsepower: 221
  • Engine: 2 liter