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The Mercedes-Benz GLB is a hidden gem

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Mercedes-Benz GLB and everything you need to know

 The Mercedes-Benz GLB has been available in other markets for quite some time now. South Africans never had the option of the GLB until 2020 when Mercedes-Benz SA decided to add it to their SUV line-up. Now the car has been available to local customers for sometime now but the German luxury automaker never had a dedicated media event for the vehicle. That all changed recently when we attended the local and official launch of the GLB. Here are 5 things that you need to know.

 GLB explained

 What is a GLB you might ask? Well, with the brands current naming convention, the slots in between the compact GLA and GLC. The GL stands for Geländewagen Luxus and the B is an indication of the vehicle class. It shares the same MFA2 platform with the A- and B-Class models, as well as the 2nd-generation GLA. Furthermore, the GLB features a wheelbase which has been stretched by 10mm. This gives it a welcome level of interior space, including the option of a 3rd row of seats. Essentially, this compact SUV can comfortably seat seven, a first within its segment. In terms of luggage capacity, the GLB offers 570 litres of luggage space; this capacity can be enlarged by sliding the 2nd-row bench in a 60:40-split (the backrest of which splits in 40:20:40 configuration). When specced, the pair of 3rd-row seats fold neatly in a 50:50 split into the load bay floor.

 The design.

The GLB looks good and its square shape is contrasted neatly with rounded off edges. This gives the illusion that it is larger than what it actually is. Its design is unmistakably Mercedes with a recognizable front grille, eye-catching headlights and and even power-domes on the bonnet. The side profile highlights the vehicle's tall stance and the kink in the rear quarter is elegantly executed. The rear of the car features a similar look to that offered by the larger, more luxurious GLS. A selection of 18- to 20-inch alloy wheels is available via three optional design packages: Progressive, Style and AMG Line. We particularly like the AMG Line as it blends a sporty appeal with what is a practical vehicle.

 The interior

 Step inside and you are greeted by a familiar interior, two large screens adorn the facia along with circular air vents and an uncluttered centre console allows for extra storage space. There is an abundance of ambient lighting throughout the cabin, something which we really like as it allows for a wide range of colour choices. It gives the interior a modern allure and is a talking point. Adjust the climate temperature and the lights within the air vents change, they go red when you increase the temperature and blue when you lower it.

 The MBUX infotainment system also offers a raft of features, and while many might get lost in the menu and sub menus, features like Apple CarPlay make things easy. The main screen can be operated via the touchpad on the centre console or via touch inputs. Graphics are crisp and clear, as is the digital instrument cluster which can also be customised.

 Under the bonnet

Mercedes-Benz South Africa will be introducing two models with a third arriving later. At launch we had the opportunity to pilot both the GLB220d and the GLB250. As one might expect, the diesel is the best option in our opinion. It offers 140kW and 400Nm and will consume around 5.4l/100km. Both cars make use of a smooth shifting 8-speed automatic. The diesel is eager to deploy its torque which makes for an effortless driving experience. This model is also available with 4Matic all-wheel drive which increases the vehicle's capability.

 The GLB250 is equally as good however slightly more eager thanks to its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that delivers around 165kW and 350Nm. This model offers a sportier driving experience however we particularly like the diesel option for its low-down torque and its frugal consumption.

 Verdict

 The Mercedes-Benz GLB is a very appealing option within the segment. It offers practicality and usability, it’s big enough for everyday life but not so large that it becomes clumsy to use daily. It offers decent comfort and technology with a host of the latest safety features. As mentioned, the diesel is our choice but there is a GLB35 AMG arriving later for the power-hungry out there. 

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