2019 Mercedes-Benz GLB SUV: price, specs and release date
New family SUV gets chunky off-road styling and seven seats. Here's everything you need to know about it...
On sale: Late 2019 | Price from: £35,000 (est)
Few SUVs are quite such status symbols as the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. But if you aren’t able to spend £94,000 or more for the privilege, you’ll soon be able to get its hardcore 4x4 look distilled into a regular family SUV: the GLB.
Although the design will be toned down on the way to becoming a production car, the GLB concept features off-road-inspired adornments such as an integrated roofbox, LED spotlights and chunky all-terrain tyres wrapped around 17in wheels.
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLB practicality
As you’d expect, the GLB neighbours the GLA and GLC in the Mercedes range, but in terms of size, there’s just a whisker between it and the latter, so it’s the brand’s smallest SUV to have seven seats. The pair in the third row, which are likely to be best reserved for small adults or children, sit flush with the boot floor when they’re not in use. Meanwhile, the middle row splits and folds 40/20/40 and can be slid back and forth to prioritise either boot capacity or leg room. Up to four child car seats can be fitted in the GLB’s second and third rows.
The interior design is largely borrowed from the latest A-Class family car, including the highly impressive MBUX interface, which includes a digital instrument display and a large infotainment touchscreen with touchpad controllers down by the gear selector and on the steering wheel.
In concept form, the GLB is powered by a 221bhp petrol engine that sends power to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. When it goes on sale, it’s expected to offer the same choice of engines as the A-Class, plus 4Matic four-wheel drive. The driver can flick between three driving modes – Comfort, Eco and Sport – that alter, among other things, the proportion of power sent to the rear wheels.
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLB price
The GLB is expected to cost only slightly less than the GLC, at around £35,000. Like that car, its main rivals will be the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 , which are currently priced from £40,175 and £38,570 respectively. It's worth remembering, too, that the class-leading seven-seat Peugeot 5008 is also available for considerably less.
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Best used SUVs for less than £25,000
If the idea of a new SUV has got you hunting through the classifieds, then you'll be pleased to know that you can get a great new SUV for less than £25,000. Below and over the next few pages, we'll reveal our favourites.
10. Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is one of the biggest SUVs around. This has its upsides and downsides, though: on the one hand, the GL-Class is genuinely big enough to seat seven adults, but on the other hand, it’s cumbersome to drive and very fuel-thirsty.
Live with those flaws, though, and you’ll benefit from acres of space inside – when all the seats are folded flat, the GL-Class has room to rival a van – not to mention genuine off-road ability. Keep an eye out for any glitches on your test drive, though; many faults are expensive to rectify and the GL-Class has an atrocious score on the What Car? Reliability Index.
We found: 2010 GL 350 CDI Blue Efficiency auto, 63,000 miles, £23,995
Surprisingly adept off-road and an absolute hoot on it, the Porsche Cayenne shows that it's possible to combine sports car-handling with a raised driving position. There’s a price to pay, though, in the form of interior space – the Cayenne is a strict five-seater, with cramped rear seats and a small boot. However, if all you want is space for the kids and an SUV that’s extraordinary fun to drive, there’s little else to match it.
Early V8 models suffer with worn bore liners that require a replacement engine – listen for tapping or knocking noises from the engine – while all Cayennes are at risk of centre bearing failure, which is a moderately expensive repair at an independent specialist.
We found: 2009 Diesel S Tiptronic, 52,000 miles, £24,000
8. Audi Q7
Another that seats seven, the Audi Q7 has become an enormously popular large SUV. It’s worth noting, however, that despite its size, the rearmost seats are rather small, so best reserved for children. However, if that’s all you’ll ever need them for, the Q7 offers plenty of space in the front two rows of seats, plus great long-distance cruising ability with a smooth ride and little wind or road noise. Watch out for problems with the air suspension, however; this can be expensive to fix.
We found: 2009 3.0 TDI SE, 55,000 miles, full service history, £18,995
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