By Larry Lark, contributor
The 2021 GLB250 4MATIC is a brand-spanking new addition to the Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup.
Durable and practical with powerful yet compact dimensions, the compact SUV offers an attractive entry point into the German manufacturer’s expanding sport utility lineup. Other trims include the GLB250 front-wheel drive and AMG GLB35.
GLB seats five passengers, with an optional third-row available for the first time, increasing capacity to seven. I folded the second-row seats forward, providing enough room for three occupants and three full-size golf bags in a recent road trip to Whitehorse Golf Course in Kingston.
My tester was powered by an AMG enhanced, powerful and efficient, 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder, turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The tandem generates 302 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, delivering almost 26 miles per gallon fuel economy in a week’s worth of city and highway driving.
The new GLB can be optionally equipped with permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC, with variable torque distribution. This sporty all-wheel drive configuration allows the driver to use the DYNAMIC SELECT switch to influence the characteristics of 4MATIC. Three characteristic programs (Eco/Comfort, Sport and Off-Road) are available to control the all-wheel drive clutch, though the system reacts intelligently to the current driving situation in any mode.
Exterior design cues include an upright front section, short front and rear overhangs, under-ride guards and all-around protective cladding clearly give a nod toward the GLB250’s off-road prowess.
Yet creature comforts are provided in overabundance, making sure momma’s happy when it comes to the day-to-day chores of transporting children to events, and moving about town. Standard highlights include a power lift-gate, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and more.
Optional features add $8,000 to the bottom line and include navigation, ambient lighting, AMG body styling including a diamond block grille, AMG five-spoke wheels, heated front seats, XM radio, and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster.
With the standard MBUX interface, the GLB features exceptional in-car operation and communication capabilities. MBUX takes user experience to the next level by incorporating a powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, a customizable display, learning-capable software, and Voice Control with natural language recognition. The available full color heads-up display and augmented video for navigation further enhance this sophisticated system.
The GLB also offers the latest in driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, providing the highest level of active safety in this segment with functions adopted from the benchmark S-Class. Using this technology, the GLB is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do so, it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation. The improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 1,640 feet (500 meters) ahead; the GLB also uses map and navigation data to support assistance functions.
Completing the GLB250 driving experience is an expansive safety suite to protect your family.
Adding the priceless attribute of confidence are active brake assist, attention assist, electronic stability program, brake assist program, rearview camera, blind spot assist, LED headlamps and taillamps, anti-theft alarm system, retractable headrests, seat belts with belt tensioners, and a side window airbags.
Base Price: $41,100
Price As Driven: $49,725
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.