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Used test: Land Rover Discovery Sport vs Mercedes GLB interiors

As three-year-old used buys, these premium, seven-seat SUVs are £10,000 cheaper than their new car prices. Which should you buy? We have the answer...

Land Rover Discovery Sport interior

Interiors

Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

You’ll have no complaints about the amount of reach and height adjustment that you get with either steering wheel. However, only the Land Rover Discovery Sport’s driver’s seat features adjustable lumbar support, moves fully electrically and lets you save your preferred settings; you'll have to pay a bit more for an example in Premium Plus trim (which cost £3000 more when new) if you want these features in the Mercedes GLB.

The GLB’s driver’s seat is also narrow enough to make you question whether you’ll still fit if you eat dessert, and some people will find its non-adjustable lumbar support overly firm. You also sit comparatively low in the GLB, so you almost feel like you’re in a hatchback rather than an SUV. The Discovery Sport, by contrast, offers a wide, comfortable seat and the kind of view that’s usually reserved for HGV drivers.

Mercedes GLB interior

That commanding outlook obviously aids forward visibility, although the Discovery Sport’s big door mirrors can obstruct your view at junctions. That isn’t an issue in the GLB, but both cars have thick enough rear pillars to make you really appreciate their standard rear-view cameras. As a bonus, the Discovery Sport comes with a blindspot monitoring system; this is another feature that’s reserved for Premium Plus trim in the GLB.

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Both cars give you a digital instrument panel that lets you choose what information you want to be displayed directly in front of you. However, the graphics are swisher in the GLB. That car also has the flashier dashboard, thanks to the richer mix of materials used and its jet-style air vents, which glow like afterburners at night. 

You can control the GLB’s responsive, high-mounted 10.3in screen by touch, by using tiny, thumb-operated pads on the steering wheel or via a trackpad between the front seats. The Discovery Sport’s 10.2in touchscreen is positioned rather low down on the dashboard, and that means you have to take your eyes well off the road to use it. However, the menus are reasonably intuitive to navigate, and most of the icons are big and easy to hit. Both cars got Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard from new. 

While we wouldn’t describe the GLB as being all style and no substance, it does have more of the former than the latter. Some of the materials used lower down are considerably less appealing than those in your eyeline, and the climate control panel flexes when you use it. If anything, it’s the Discovery Sport that actually feels a bit more solidly constructed. 

Land Rover Discovery Sport boot

If you’re built like a basketball player, you might want to avoid the panoramic glass roof (a £1100 optional extra from new) in the Discovery Sport, but six-footers can still fit beneath it easily enough. In fact, they’ll have plenty of space in general in the front of each car, even though the GLB provides more, and there’s lots of front storage no matter which car you choose, including big, secure cupholders.

Move back to the second row and the Discovery Sport is slightly more accommodating; it’s wider, so it’s comfier for three people sitting side by side, plus really tall people will appreciate the extra head room it offers here. Part of the reason for this advantage is that its second-row seats are mounted only slightly higher than those in front, whereas the GLB’s are up in the gods. However, the upside of Mercedes’ tiered approach is that kids get a better view forwards and to the sides, so they might be less prone to motion sickness.

In both cars, the second-row seats all recline individually. They can be slid forwards, too, to afford those in the third row extra room, but they only slide individually in the Discovery Sport; the GLB’s second row slides in two sections, with a 60/40 split.

Mercedes GLB boot

Both cars force you to squeeze through a narrow gap to get to the third row, and once you’re there, you’re left in no doubt that you’re in the cheap seats because your knees are pushed up high and there’s a lot less head room than there is in the first two rows. Only smaller adults and teenagers will fit with any degree of comfort, but the GLB keeps them that bit happier; it’s the only one that provides room for your feet beneath the seats in front.

With all seven seats in place, both boots are tiny, although the GLB’s does at least have a space to stow the load cover beneath the floor, whereas the Discovery Sport forces you to leave it at home or stash it in the rear footwell.

Fortunately, the third-row seats of both cars are easy to fold away, freeing up enough space for six carry-on suitcases in the GLB and eight in the Discovery Sport. If you fold the second-row seats flat too, both cars give you a long, flat load floor that’s ideal for trips to Ikea.