2019 Mercedes GLB SUV: price, specs and release date
New large SUV gets chunky styling, a high-tech interior and seven seats. Here's everything you need to know about it...
On sale: Late 2019 | Price from: £39,000 (est)
Few SUVs are quite such status symbols as the Mercedes G-Class. But if you aren’t able to spend £140,000 or more for the privilege, you’ll soon be able to get its hardcore 4x4 look distilled into a regular large SUV: the GLB.
Although its design has been toned down significantly compared from the chunky concept GLB we saw back in April, its upright front grille and boxy proportions mark it out as different to the existing GLA and GLC. And like the GLC, the GLB faces large SUV rivals including the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
2019 Mercedes GLB practicality
The GLB has an ace up its sleeve, because it’s the smallest Mercedes SUV to come with seven seats. The pair in the third row, which can cater for people up to 5ft 6in tall, sit flush with the boot floor when they’re not in use. Meanwhile, the middle row split-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, with the rearmost seats coming with both Isofix and top tether mounting points. Those in the GLB’s rearmost seats also get their own cupholders and USB charging ports, too.
In terms of boot space, there’s 560 litres on offer when the GLB is in five-seat form. That’s more than in the Q5 and X3, and it extends to 1755 litres when you fold down the second row. That’s more than enough for an adventurous weekend trip to the garden centre.
2019 Mercedes GLB interior
The GLB’s 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. We’ve been very impressed by this system elsewhere in Mercedes’ range, for both its ease of use and its swish graphics.
2019 Mercedes GLB engines and equipment
The range kicks off with a 161bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine in the GLB 200 that's capable of shutting down a cylinder to reduce fuel consumption on the motorway. Elsewhere, there’s a more powerful 221bhp 2.0-litre petrol in the GLB 250, while drivers covering higher mileages have the GLB 200d (148bhp 2.0-litre) and GLB 220d (188bhp 2.0-litre) diesels to choose from.
Each engine comes with an automatic gearbox, with eight speeds in everything except the GLB 200, which makes do with seven. What's more, the two diesel engines can be had with four-wheel drive. No emissions or fuel economy details have been released yet.
Those seeking more performance won’t have long to wait, because versions of the GLB fettled by Mercedes’ performance division, AMG, are due to arrive next year. A plug-in hybrid version with an electric-only range of around 30 miles is also in development, while the GLB will form the basis of a fully electric model – the EQB – that's scheduled to arrive in 2021.
GLB models with four-wheel drive also get an off-road package that includes LED headlights with a special function designed to help you spot obstacles in the dark. The package also includes an off-road driving display, which puts graphics showing your gradient and inclination angle onto the infotainment screen.
As you might expect, the GLB borrows semi-autonomous functions from elsewhere in the Mercedes range, meaning it can control its own acceleration, braking and steering in certain situations, as well as change lanes by itself on the motorway.
2019 Mercedes GLB price
The GLB is expected to cost substantially more than the GLC, at around £39,000. Like that car, its main rivals will be the Q5 and X3 , which are currently priced from £41,420 and £40,355 respectively. It’s worth remembering that neither of those cars come with seven seats either. Seven-seat versions of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, meanwhile, start from £34,340, while the class-leading seven-seat Peugeot 5008 starts from even less, at £27,230
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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 GL-Class
The Mercedes 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
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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