The GLB 200 has cleverly packed in just about everything you could want in a Mercedes at a price under S$200k with COE – but is it really a winner here?
UPDATE: January 28, 2021 – Video review included
That whole big, boxy, seven-seater MPV thing? It’s so passe.
Welcome to the world of the smaller, streamlined, seven-seater SUV. The Mercedes-Benz GLB 200 arrives hot on the heels of the seven-seater Mazda CX-8 and Kia Sorento, giving buyers something for every budget when it comes to buying a vehicle large enough to carry more than five people.
Mercedes-Benz has been busy putting a car into every segment that it can think about, and in the SUV category alone it has seven distinct models to choose from. The GLB is a size up from the smallest, the GLA crossover, and a size down from the GLC crossover. They’re easy to remember: GLA, GLB, GLC.
Further up the range are the much pricier and larger GLE and GLS, but if you like many other people simply love the idea of owning a small-ish Mercedes-Benz that can carry more than five people without using your kidney as collateral, here it is.
To get oriented, here’s all you need to know about the GLB right from the start, and at its launch in Singapore recently.
It may have rugged SUV styling to look all tough and trendy, but the car is front-wheel driven so don’t go having ideas of crazy off-roading just yet. It’s actually built on the same platform as the GLA, which in turn borrows heavily from the A-Class hatchback.
But the GLB has been put through a stretching exercise that gives it an extra 10cm between the front and rear wheels for more interior space, allowing for a third row of seats stashed into the boot.
In fact, the GLB is almost as large as a GLC, thanks to its squared-off styling and tallness. In Singapore, where buyers want max-car for min-cash, that’s another plus point.
There’s really no denying that the GLB 200 is a handsome, purposeful looking car. It’s got enough visual presence to look bigger than its 4,634mm length, which is a meaningful amount longer than a GLA’s 4,424mm length.
The dashboard of the smaller Mercedes-Benz cars are largely identical, and if you’ve ever driven the current-gen A-Class or CLA-Class you’ll feel right at home.
The very wide instrument cluster is entirely digital so you can choose what dials you want it to show, but the glossy glass surface proved to be distracting when the sun lights it up from certain angles.
We bet that within a year or two, there’s going to be an improved, less shiny version of the display screen or at least it will be re-angled in further designs to reduce glare.
Front row seating is spacious, but getting the second and third rows comfortable will require border negotiations between the two rows.