This is the new, seven-seater Mercedes GLB SUV. If it looks a bit familiar, that’s because Mercedes showed off a very lightly disguised ‘concept’ version of it only a couple of weeks ago.
As the name suggests, the GLB slots into the Mercedes SUV range between the GLA and GLC. It’s spun off the same platform as the current A-Class hatchback – and the B-Class MPV and CLA four-door coupe, though not the GLA as that’s still based on the old A-Class.
To make matters even more confusing, the GLB is actually more or less the same size as the GLC. But that car is based on the same underpinnings as the C- and E-Class. But let’s not get caught up in the baffling intricacies of Mercedes’ range.
The GLB wipes out the Land Rover Discovery Sport’s position of being the only smallish posh SUV available with seven seats. Despite its compact footprint, Mercedes promises a generous amount of space for all passengers, thanks to the long wheelbase and upright, GLS-alike body.
With five seats up, the boot holds 560 litres of stuff and extends to a cavernous 1,755 litres with the second row folded down.
As you’d expect, much gadegtry is available including an alphabet of acronymed driver aids and safety systems, and the latest MBUX voice- and gesture-controlled infotainment system.
Several variations on the four-cylinder turbo theme provide power. A 1.3-litre, 163hp petrol unit powers the GLB200, while a 2.0-litre, 224hp motor lives in the GLB250. A 2.0-litre diesel is available in 150hp GLB200d and 190hp GLB220d forms.
Whichever engine you choose, the GLB is only available with a dual-clutch gearbox. 4Matic four-wheel-drive is an option on the 200d and standard on the 220d. An Off-Road mode means the GLB should be competent enough on the rough stuff for most people who will buy one.
Fuel economy is class competitive, the diesels emitting 130-140g/km of Co2.
Deliveries start later this year.
By Graham King