Inside Mercedes-Benz's small-but-mighty GLB seven-seater
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Mercedes-Benz’s enthusiasm for all things SUV will continue in 2020 with a new model, called GLB.
At the end of 2019 we had the launch in New Zealand of the brand’s largest SUV, the GLS. The GLB is at the opposite end of the spectrum — it’s Benz’s smallest SUV. But it does have something important in common with its bigger brother: it’s been designed to provide seating for seven.
Mercedes-Benz hopes the GLB’s combination of compact size (it’s based on the A-class, but with a 100mm stretch in wheelbase) and practicality will result in conquest sales; it’s a type of vehicle the brand hasn’t previously offered.
Expect to see the GLB in NZ from mid-year, in a range of specifications. The 200 relies on a 1.4-litre powerplant with front-drive, or you can step up to the GLB 250 with more power and all-wheel drive. And, despite this being a family-focused small SUV, Mercedes-AMG is coming to the party with a go-fast version called the GLB 35.
The cabin isn’t just designed to be practical. It also features Mercedes-Benz’s latest MBUX operating system. That means futuristic-looking twin screens mounted on top of the dashboard in a single frame for a widescreen look, and the “Hey Mercedes” intelligent voice assistant.
It might be small on the outside, but Mercedes-Benz claims generous interior space thanks to the large “function-oriented greenhouse”. That’s car-company speak for tall roof and big windows.
The second row seats can be slide-adjusted for occupant and cargo space. Where fitted, the third row seats are comfortable for those up to 1.68m tall, says the company.
Mercedes-Benz’s four-cylinder engines have been redesigned for the GLB.
It’s also compatible with the highest level of the company’s driver-assistance technology including adaptive cruise control that uses satellite navigation to predictively slow for corners and automated lane-change assist.
Other technology borrowed from high-end models includes Energising Comfort Control using music, lighting and seat massaging to ease the journey.