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2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB Road Test and Review

Ron Sessions
by Ron Sessions
May 10, 2022
5 min. Reading Time
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 ・  Photo by Ron Sessions

2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 ・ Photo by Ron Sessions

With a lineup of SUVs and crossovers running from the smallish GLA 250 and best-selling mid-size GLE to the off-roadish and iconic G Class and just announced all-electric Mercedes EQS SUV, the German luxury automaker has a broad selection of offerings to meet different buyer needs and bank accounts. The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB Class 250 is one of the brand’s two entries into the fast-expanding premium compact sport-utility segment. Principle competitors in that segment include the BMW X1, Volkswagen Tiguan, Land Rover Discovery Sport, and Lexus NX.

Offering a wide selection of luxury features, it provides comfort and roominess in a small package and can be a means for buyers to move up from a mainstream brand to a luxury one without breaking the bank, as long they resist the temptation to add too many optional equipment packages.

The GLB Class shares the Mercedes-Benz Global Compact Car Platform with the brand’s A-Class sedan, CLA Coupe and GLA SUV. The GLB offers a lot of interior space for its size courtesy of a squared-off, upright design, tall roof and longish wheelbase. It is available with 5- or 7-passenger seating and front- or all-wheel drive.

Equipped with front-wheel-drive trim, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is priced at $39,650, including the destination fee. The version with 4Matic all-wheel drive runs $2,000 more.

Four-Cylinder Turbo Power

The GLB 250 is powered by a spunky turbocharged 221-horsepower 4-cylinder engine shared with the smaller GLA 250 crossover SUV and CLA 250 compact 4-door coupe. The defining characteristic of this engine is its generous 258 pound-feet of torque, which is available over a broad engine speed range from 1800 to 4000 rpm. The engine’s fast-spooling turbocharger delivers good throttle response over a broad range of driving situations. The turbocharged four is teamed with a quick-shifting 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With this engine, the GLB 250 easily keeps up with traffic and can achieve 60 mph from rest in just under 7 seconds. With more aggressive applications of the throttle, however, acceleration can be a bit uneven and jerky sometimes.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2022 GLB 250 are 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway/27 mpg combined for front-drive models and 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/22 mpg combined with 4Matic all-wheel drive. Mercedes-Benz recommends premium unleaded fuel. In a week of driving mostly on local residential roads and the interstate, the GLB 250 AWD test vehicle averaged 24.5 mpg.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

AMG Version

For a sportier take on the GLB Class, there’s the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35. In addition to this model’s striking vertical-bar grille adapted from the GT, it sports quad exhaust tips, available 21-inch alloy wheels, an AMG-tuned high-output 302-horsepower version of the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine, an AMG Speed Shift dual-clutch 8-speed automatic transmission, standard 4Matic all-wheel drive, AMG sport suspension, selectable ambient cabin lighting, upgraded infotainment with larger dash screens, a 115-volt cabin power point, and a trial run of Mercedes me connect services. The higher-output AMG-modified 2.0-liter turbo shaves about 2 seconds off the 0-60 time of the base GLB 250’s to 5 seconds flat.

Including the $1,050 destination charge, the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 is priced at $51,000.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Mission Control

There’s a bit more hard plastic in the GLB Class SUV than you might expect in a Mercedes-Benz, but what’s there looks and feels durable and is highlighted with matte-finish aluminum-look and carbon-fiber style trim. The standard power-operated front bucket seats get adjustable lumbar and slide-out bottom cushion extenders to support longer legs, and the driver’s seat has three-position memory. Seat coverings are MB-Tex faux leather, with real leather an option. Other standard kit includes a leather-wrapped tilt/telescope steering wheel with shift paddles, rain-sensing wipers, pushbutton start, and non-adaptive cruise control. A dual-zone automatic climate control system keeps the cabin comfortable, but gets noisy at higher fan speeds.

Console storage is tight but includes a pair of cup holders and a cubby with bomb-bay doors under the center armrest.

Key options include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, garage-door opener, a panoramic sunroof, and an ambient lighting package with 64 programmable colors to paint the doors, console, dashboard, audio speakers, and even the climate-control vents in festive hues. AMG Line dress-up options include grippy and supportive multicontour sport bucket seats, a sport steering wheel, and other upgrades.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

MBUX Infotainment

Dominating the dash are a pair of high-resolution color displays, one for the driver and the other the infotainment system. Lesser trims have 7-inch screens with a duo of 10.25-inch ones an upgrade in the GLB 250 and standard in the higher-priced GLB 35. Regardless of size, the infotainment screen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto cellphone mirroring.

The center infotainment screen features Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) content. There are no traditional dash-mounted knobs or buttons to access content. That task falls to the somewhat quirky console-mounted touchpad, but MBUX content can also be accessed via the touchscreen itself which is well within reach, or by steering wheel buttons and voice control. The GLB Class MBUX system now features natural language-enhanced voice control and keyword activation. Just say, “Hello Mercedes” or “Hey Mercedes,” wait for the prompt, and then tell the system what you want it to do, whether that be changing the audio source, adjusting the cabin temperature, or many other functions. If, for example, your front passenger says, "Hello Mercedes, I’m hot,” the system will lower the climate control temperature on that side of the vehicle by two degrees.

Audiophiles will want to add the optional Burmester surround-sound audio system for an immersive cockpit experience.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Augmented Reality

Included along with high-resolution navigation and traffic sign assist in the optional Multimedia package is what Mercedes calls Augmented Reality. It consists of a live camera shot of the road ahead in real time which layers on traffic information and animation superimposed over the live shot that details lane selection as well as the direction of the upcoming turn or navigation instruction. It’s a big help, especially in busy intersections with multiple lanes, off ramps, and turns.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Surprisingly Roomy Back seat

Compact SUVs aren’t known for roomy back-seat accommodations, but the GLB250’s ample wheelbase and relatively tall roof enable second-row passengers to enjoy decent headroom and legroom. The second-row seat folds nearly flat for cargo, and the seatbacks are divided 40/20/40 to allow for situations where one might want to carry one rear passenger but keep the other side folded down to make room for a bulky piece of cargo. The second-row seatbacks can also be reclined to any of seven different positions. Adding more adjustability are seat bottoms that are divided 60/40 and can slide up to 6 inches fore and aft.

The GLB Class is also available with a small, two-person third-row seat that’s suitable only for children. There are also of four child safety seat ISOFIX and TOP tether anchor points available for the second and third rows.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Ample Cargo Space

The GLB Class has a squared-off shape, and that’s good for cargo space. With the second- and optional third-row seats folded down, available cargo space is 62 cubic feet. Keep the second-row seats up and the roomy GLB Class still provides 21.5 cubic feet of cargo space, plenty of room for 4 or 5 airport roller bags. Additional concealed storage for small items is available under the cargo floor.

Access to the cargo bay is via a standard power-operated lift gate with an adjustable opening height to handle shorter-statured drivers and lower garage door headers.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

GLB Class Dynamics

Despite the GLB 250’s tallish profile, all-season tires and forward weight bias, it handles quite well. Even with the SUV’s Dynamic Select drive mode control switched to Comfort mode, it feels poised and ready for the road ahead. The electrically boosted steering offers just-right weighting and a modicum of road feel while delivering precise responses to driver inputs. Equipped with the optional adjustable damping, the GLB 250’s ride was firm but never harsh, and delivered good vertical body control even over dips and bumps. The standard 4-wheel disc brakes gave a crisp top-of-pedal response, inspiring confidence even on long downhill runs at speed, without overheating or fade.

The test vehicle’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system apportions drive torque to the wheels with the most traction. in Eco or Comfort modes, the Drive Select system defaults to a baseline 80 percent front/20 percent rear distribution, which segues to 70 percent front/30 percent rear in Sport mode, and maintains an even 50 percent front/50 percent rear in Off-Road mode. The GLB250 offers up to 7.9 inches of ground clearance.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Safety and Driver-Assistive Tech

Most of the GLB 250’s advanced safety and driver-assistive technology is bundled in the optional Driver-Assistance package. It includes must-haves such as blind-spot monitoring with active braking, DISTRONIC adaptive cruise control with active steering assist and speed adaptation ahead of curves, tollbooths and exits, active speed limit assist that can automatically bring your SUV into compliance with posted speeds, forward collision avoidance with auto emergency braking, plus lane keeping with active steering and braking assist. Included with DISTRONIC is a lane change assist feature which can execute a semi-autonomous lane change on a 4-lane highway after signaling once the vehicle has determined that the lane is clear.

Included with the optional Parking Assistance Package is a surround-view camera display plus active parking assist, the latter of which can semi-autonomously maneuver into a parking space, operating the steering, brakes and gearshift.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not published crashworthiness ratings for the 2022 GLB Class. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has and gives the 2022 GLB Class five out of five stars overall, with five stars for driver’s side frontal impacts, four for front passengers’ side frontal impacts, five for side impacts, and four stars for rollover resistance.  

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Premium Look, Mainstream Price

Priced closer to mainstream brands but offering upscale design and features associated with luxury vehicles, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB Class is a bridge  for compact SUV buyers who want to move up to something more distinctive but still stay within their budget.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions


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