Although it lacks that last bit of refinement one has come to expect of the brand, the Mercedes-Benz GLB is an excellent all-rounder if you're looking for an SUV that can hold the occasional sixth and seventh passengers.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB has been hotly-anticipated in Singapore as it is Mercedes' smallest and cheapest SUV seven-seater, and thanks to the folks at CarZ World, we have been able to get our hands on one of these to review.
Located at Vertex, 33 Ubi Avenue 3 #01-57/58, Singapore 408868, CarZ World is one of Singapore's largest importers and exporters. Leveraging on long-term relationships with its network all across the world, CarZ World aims to provide better value for its products and commit to excellent customer service.
The test car we got was the GLB200 AMG Premium, which is positioned above the GLB200 Sport and beneath the AMG Premium Plus.
Most compact SUV seven-seaters tend to look extremely awkward—with stretched-out wheelbases to accommodate a third row of seats, they appear disproportionately long and narrow, and look like soulless boxes that have been placed on stilts to give that SUV look. Fortunately, this is not the case in the Mercedes GLB.
The GLB's exterior is made up of subtle curves that complement well with its boxy SUV silhouette, and unlike other compact seven-seater SUVs, it actually has a confident design! Furthermore, the GLB also boasts LED lights, and the AMG-Line car that we tested was adorned with an impressive set of AMG-branded rims.
Apart from its commanding ride height, the GLB also gives you a proper SUV feel with its wrap-around door sills that are typically found on proper off-roaders. What this translates to in daily use is that your pants won't be stained by rain or mud when you're getting in and out of the car.
The GLB's interior comes with a nice mix of materials in the AMG-Line guise. The soft tones of the 64-colour ambient lighting contrast with the carbon fibre-looking trim it is set within.
The seats are trimmed in a mix of comfortable leather and suede, while the multi-function flat-bottomed steering wheel is wrapped in premium Nappa leather. Second-row space is excellent, especially when you slide the seats all the way to the back. Climbing in and out of the third row, however, isn't that glamorous of an affair especially if you're an adult, although children and smaller-sized adults will find themselves nicely settled-in at the back.
Even though space in the third row is limited, it's not like being relegated there is torture either: even passengers in the third row enjoy their own USB-C charging ports! Second-row passengers get their ports in a flip down compartment right beneath the air-conditioning vents.
All the ports in the car are USB-C ports, which means the car is future-ready for when phone manufacturers standardise their cables to all be USB-C. However, this means that it's slightly harder right now to connect our phones in order to use Apple CarPlay on the CarPlay and Android Auto equipped infotainment system. You will still be able to charge your phone wirelessly up front, though!
And what an infotainment system it is too! Named MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), this infotainment system incorporates a virtual assistant that you can activate by just saying “Hey Mercedes”, and can be controlled using a haptic feedback touchpad on the centre console, a touchpad on the steering wheel, and through the touchscreen itself. The 10.25" screen that blends into the 10.25" digital instrument cluster seamlessly truly brings that modern luxury-tech touch into the cabin.
The electrically-operated tailgate opens up to a cavernous 700l of boot space with the third-row seats folded down, and you will still have 150l of space even with the seats up.
On the Move
What do you think powers this 163hp, 250nm seven-seater SUV that is capable of completing the century sprint in 9.1 seconds? A 2.0l engine? Well, the GLB is powered by a turbocharged unit that is only 1.3l!
Coupled with Mercedes' 7G-DCT transmission, gear changes are quick and you'll never feel like the car is out of breath. However, when moving off from the stop lights, a very discernible turbo-lag can be felt. One is able to sense a good one-second delay between stepping on the throttle and any proper forward propulsion happening.
Cabin insulation is good, with sufficient levels of insulation from outside road and wind noise. The steering feel is rather numb and the initial travel of the brake pedal is a bit spongy, but if you're looking to buy this car, you'd probably appreciate such characteristics. The steering is numb because it is heavily-assisted to make turning this SUV effortless, whereas a spongy initial brake pedal travel ensures that you can come to a gentle stop. After all, this is a family-hauler, not a sports car!
Our biggest problem with the GLB is also what we're most impressed with: its engine. For such a small powerplant to produce such impressive figures is indeed noteworthy, but we think that Mercedes has sacrificed too much refinement in using this downsized engine. From the outside, the engine occasionally whines really loudly, and if you were blindfolded, you would think that the noise was coming from an old, COE-renewed beater.
Of course, things are different when you're in the well-insulated cabin, where you will barely be able to hear the engine working. However, when you really give it the beans, the engine rattles as though it were an unbalanced 3-cylinder or a diesel engine. This is a truly stark contrast to the otherwise well-appointed package that is the GLB.
Other small niggles appear here and there. For example, the windows take really long to wind up and down, and they go about doing so rather loudly. The doors were also hard to shut, often taking two or three tries before they were properly closed (although this could be because our test car was brand-new and not yet run-in).
Here's the big question: is the GLB worth S$189,888 (as tested)? Our video presenter, Jackie, had a hard time deciding between a "Buy" and an "I Don't Know", but he eventually concluded with a "Buy". Much like him, we think that the GLB is still worth buying, despite it being less refined than what we'd expect from a Mercedes.
Yes, the engine is sometimes loud and coarse, but you don't really feel it from inside the cabin, and where else would you go to find a premium seven-seater SUV with such a road-tax friendly engine? Additionally, the cabin looks and feels mostly well-appointed, and the MBUX experience really is something that one cannot find in other brands. In fact, even the current Mercedes C-Class and E-Class don't have it yet, as only Mercedes' newest models enjoy this feature!
“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, goes the famous line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In the case of the Mercedes-Benz GLB200, this car is sweeter because of the three-pointed star that adorns its grille.
If you're interested to find out more about the Mercedes-Benz GLB200, please contact Jezelle at +65 8127 3019. CarZ World is offering $5,000 off the purchase price exclusively to Motorist mReview readers when you use the promo code “MOTORISTXGLB”. Promotion valid till 22/09/2020.
Schedule a phone call or no-obligation test drive to find out more
S$165,888 (GLB 200 Sport)
S$189,888 (GLB200 AMG Premium)
S$199,888 (GLB200 AMG Premium Plus)
Engine: 1,332cc Turbocharged 16-Valve Inline-4
Power: 163hp @ 5,500rpm
Torque: 250nm @ 1,620-4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7.0-7.3l/100km
Top Speed: 207km/h
Drivetrain: 7G-DCT; Front-Wheel Drive
Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Disc Brakes (Rear)
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4,634mm x 1,834mm x 1,662mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 52l
Boot Capacity: 150l/700l
Active Brake Assist
Active Lane-Keeping Assist
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
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