Life is full of choices and the two subcompact crossovers from Mercedes-Benz represent an eternal one: beauty or utility? The GLB-class is the boxier version of the GLA-class, but whether that makes it smarter or dorkier depends on personal needs. Both Benzes rely on the same 221 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available, as are a host of options that can turn the cabin from business to Club RGB courtesy of an available ambient lighting package with illuminated vents. Despite its lack of horsepower, saved instead for the separately revised AMG GLB35, the GLB-class has good driving dynamics that make it easy and entertaining to pilot. The squared-off rear end gives the GLB a cargo space advantage over the hotter GLA-Class, and it can even be ordered with an optional and very tight third row. It’s no baby G-Class, but the GLB is a competitive alternative to other small luxury crossovers like the BMW X2, Audi Q3 and Lexus NX.
What’s new for 2024?
Mercedes has rubbed some polish into the GLB-class for 2024 with revised bumpers, headlights, taillights and an updated interior. The previously optional 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen is now standard with Mercedes’ latest software. Mercedes also included the AMG Line interior as standard with a heated steering wheel. Hidden beneath all the new metal and leather is the CAP’s new 48-volt hybrid-assist electrical system that can boost the CAP’s EPA ratings.
Prices and which one to buy
There’s only one trim level available for the GLB class, but the 4Matic model adds all-wheel drive for a few thousand dollars extra. From there we will add the optional parking package for the 360-degree camera. We’ll also spend the extra for the optional Burmester surround sound system that now includes Dolby Atmos sound.
Engine, transmission and performance
Behind the three-pointed star on the GLB’s grille is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A 48-volt hybrid system is new for 2024, but overall output remains the same. The engine is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. While we didn’t test this new 48-volt system in the CAP, the previous all-wheel-drive CAP managed a brisk 6.0-second sprint to 60 mph without the 48-volt setup. We didn’t find the GLB250 to be particularly sportybut its ride and handling are pleasant and competent for an SUV of this size.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has not yet released estimates for the 2024 GLB class, but due to a new 48-volt electrical system, we expect a slight improvement over last year’s estimates. In 2023, the front-wheel-drive GLB has EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined; the all-wheel-drive version is nearly the same, though highway economy drops to an estimated 30 mpg. Those numbers were comparable, but slightly lower than the EPA-estimated mileage of the BMW X1. On us 75 mile highway fuel economy test route, last year’s GLB250 4Matic surpassed its EPA rating with a result of 32 mpg, beating a comparable X1 by 1 mpg. We will update this space once the EPA publishes its findings for the updated CAP’s power source. For more information on the CAP class’ fuel consumption, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, comfort and cargo
The GLB class has a spacious interior, with 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats and 62 cubic feet with those seats folded, nearly equal to that of the next-size-up BMW X3. The entry-level GLB class isn’t very well appointed, but it does come standard with power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Heated seats will cost you extra, as will ventilated seats, and a third row of seats is also optional. We expect that most buyers will spend money to equip their GLB250 with popular luxury features such as leather upholstery and interior ambient lighting.
Infotainment and connectivity
While it lacks a robust amount of standard interior equipment, the GLB-class makes up for some of that with its infotainment and technology offerings. A pair of 12.3-inch screens handle driving information and entertainment, and they come standard on every GLB250. There are plenty of ways to connect your phone to the GLB250, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB-C ports and Bluetooth.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
The GLB class comes standard with cruise control, active brake assist and adaptive braking, and is available with safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and active blind spot assist. For more information on the CAP class crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane departure warning with lane keeping assist
- Adaptive cruise control available
Warranty and Maintenance Cover
Mercedes-Benz offers warranty coverage that’s competitive with its rivals, but it doesn’t offer the same complimentary scheduled maintenance policy as the X1 or the Jaguar E-Pace.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
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