Driving position and dashboard
The seating position in the GLB may be fairly upright in a way that’s typical of an SUV, but you don’t actually sit particularly high off the road. If you’re looking for a high, commanding driving position, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is a better bet. There’s little to irk about the dashboard layout of the GLB, apart from little quirks such as the gear selector being a stalk behind the steering wheel.
Manual seat adjustment is standard across the range; for electrically-adjustable seats, you have to pay for the top trim level. Still, the seats themselves are supportive and comfortable enough, so your back is unlikely to tire out on a long journey.
All GLB models get a multi-function display behind the wheel instead of conventional dials; the screen size is 7in on entry-level models, expanding to 10.25in on posher trim levels. The bigger screen also brings more personalisation options.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The big, square windows provide a great view out, making the GLB a great choice for sightseeing on a road trip. You also have to worry less about over-the-shoulder blindspots than you do in a Discovery Sport. However, front and rear parking sensors plus a rear-view camera are only standard on AMG Line Premium models and above.
Every GLB gets LED lights all round, and top spec AMG Line Premium Plus models get adaptive LED headlights that automatically shape their light output to avoid dazzling other road users.
Sat nav and infotainment
As standard you get a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with crisp graphics, Bluetooth and DAB radio. Upgrading to AMG Line Premium expands the screen size to 10.25in.
Both systems can be operated as a touchscreen, or by swiping and clicking a main touchpad (similar to that on a laptop computer) between the front seats, or via another tiny touchpad on the steering wheel. The touchpad methods are the easiest to use when you’re driving; you don’t need to continually study the display, because the main pad provides haptic feedback to help you navigate through the menus. We still find the rotary controller of the BMW X3’s iDrive infotainment system that bit more intuitive, though.
A notable feature of the top-spec infotainment is the ‘augmented reality navigation’. It is, in effect, a live camera feed of the road ahead, but overlaid with sat-nav instructions that include house numbers, road names and direction arrows. Wireless charging and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, which are standard only on the top two trim levels.
Even without the atmosphere created by the ambient interior lighting of higher spec models, the GLB strikes a good balance between classy and modern inside. The absence of any traditional cowl over the instruments, or in this case displays, being an example of its forward-thinking design. The most prominent areas of the interior, such as the top of the doors and dashboard, are upholstered in soft man-made leather.
The air vents feel pleasingly sturdy and, even though plastics lower down are more durable than they are tactile, there isn’t much to complain about. It feels better built than the often flimsy GLC and is on par with the Discovery Sport, it not better.