The 2020 GLB 250, the first SUV in Mercedes’ GLB Class, features a stylized consumer orientation that places it between classically aristocratic G-Class boxiness and the sporty side of entry-level. Mercedes sees it as a minor trailblazer, and a vehicle for those who wish to blaze a few trails themselves: this is a modest Mercedes designed for guilt-free off-road use by those who genuinely want to shake loose the suburban shackles now and again.
The GLB’s plucky can-do looks are articulated beautifully; this unassuming Mercedes-Benz is one of the more cleverly sophisticated new vehicles to emerge from the company this year. It’s a remarkably down-to-earth-looking ride, and even critics of SUV excess are going to be hard pressed to find a flaw in the cut of its jib; at the same time, it distinguishes itself from crossover blandness. It looks youthful—but may well appeal to on-the-go family elders who want to balance a little Mercedes flash with their spontaneous lifestyle.
The GLB 250 uses the compact FWD platform, the same foundation used for A-Class vehicles, and slated to be the basis of a slew of upcoming models. The GLA engine is under the hood, but it’s been tuned toward a sportier performance profile; the 2L inline 4 turbo can produce up to 221 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque, solid numbers made efficient and effective via an 8-speed gearbox.
Inside the cabin, too, are echoes of the A-Class personality: functionality, and atmosphere. The MBUX system is present and accounted for, and the instruments are pure digital. Add some rough-and-tumble aluminum trim to the mix, ambient LED accent lighting, and a base sticker that’ll probable register at just under $40K, and you have a potential winner for young-at-heart customers of all ages who are on the hunt for their first Merc.