The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is a beautiful looking seven-seat SUV that we were excited to get in and use with our family for the week and the GLB will now always have a little place in our hearts as we took it on our family ‘ToddlerMoon' long weekend getaway too! Let's see how we got on with this BabyDrive…
The GLB is affordably priced (at least for a seven-seat luxury SUV) starting at $60k, which puts this in amongst some serious competitors.
The model we tested had beautiful colour exterior paint which first struck me and I LOVE seeing this move away from grey that lots of the car companies are making! It looked stunning and coped well when it got dusty on dirt roads too.
The luxury of the Mercedes-Benz GLB continues on the inside, where the cream and black leatherette seats are both gorgeous and scary when you're putting kids in the back!! The dash has brushed matte metal finish and minimal buttons. The flowery shaped aircon vents are fun and the seemingly seamless double media screen wraps in front of the driver.
The media system is in-depth and I feel I only skimmed the surface in a week with the car. There were some standout features to the media system for me, the first is the voice-controls whenever you say “Hey Mercedes” which of course our daughter found hilarious and would catch me off guard constantly by saying “Mum, what's this car called again?” and every time I answered Mercedes, it would activate the system! On a practical note, it was actually quite handy a few times throughout the week, when I'd ask it to open or close the sunroof and turn the ambient lighting on or off at night when my daughter had fallen asleep in the back. You can also use it to programme the sat-nav too but it didn't find the location each time I tried it.
You can control the media system using the front of the trackpad and buttons down in the central console too…
…or I found the controls on the steering wheel the easiest and most intuitive to use whilst driving. Swiping the little black square enables you to scroll through things and pressing it selects them.
There are some nice luxury features like the rainbow choice of colours for interior lighting, a favourite with our daughter!
Seat kinetics, for both front seats…
…and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too.
The camera image is crystal clear and you can select from 360-degree views as well as the bird's eye view too.
Although this is a seven-seat SUV, it's not huge and doesn't feel big to drive and maneuver around town and school car parks. It's actually quite compact and manageable. Its large, deep windows mean visibility is very good, especially out of the rear side windows and the double sunroof make it light inside.
Looking at the family practicality and starting with the seats, the FANTASTIC news is there are ISOFix points in four of the five rear seats! That's two in the outer second-row seats and two in the rear third-row seats.
There are also top tether anchorages in all five rear seatbacks, which is great!
I was able to install five child seats! Three fitted nicely across the second-row seats…
…and two forward-facing child seats went into the third row.
There is however no way of accessing the third-row with five-child seats installed. You have to remove at least one child seat in the second row and possibly two, in order to access the third-row. Lots of parents leave the central seat empty in the second-row of their cars so their kids can climb through to the third-row, which is possible in the GLB with a 40:20:40 split of the second-row seatbacks.
I found there are some considerations when choosing and installing child seats. I found it harder to fit large child seats like the Britax Platinum Pro through the seat and door opening into the third-row seats. You also need to be able to reach in and fasten any harnesses and seatbelts for younger children so you ideally need two forward-facing child seats in the third-row seats and to be able to reach in and access them.
The second-row seat bases slide forward and back on a 60:40 split. (but the 60% side faces the kerb). This allows for distribution of legroom throughout the car. We found with forward-facing child seats in the third-row seats you ideally want to move the second-row seats forward to allow some legroom in the third row.
Then when you put a rear-facing capsule in the second-row it only leaves space for a 160cm driver.
However, with a forward-facing child seat in both the second and third rows, you could get a 180cm driver in front. With the same combination of child seats on the passenger side, you could fit 182cm+ passenger in the front.
In the third row, there is a label stating it fits passengers up to 169cm in height, which is a thoughtful touch.
Space in the boot is limited when using all seven seats and only three shopping bags will fit.
When using only five seats fifteen shopping bags will fit in the boot of the Mercedes-Benz GLB, which is comparable to the VW Tiguan Allspace and Skoda Kodiaq which both also fit fifteen. All f these are slightly larger than the Land Rover Discovery Sport, which holds fourteen shopping bags.
Each of the prams we tested fitted in the boot with a good amount of shopping when only using five seats, only the tandem pram stopped us being able to use the retractable roller blind. All the other style prams meant we could pull the roller blind across.
A large dog would fit in the boot of the Mercedes-Benz GLB and the boot floor is nice and flat for an emergency nappy change too!!
Storage inside the cabin is good too. The central console has practically sized cup holders, phone tray and central console box.
There are two cup holders in the second and third-row seats, door bins and map pockets for the second-row passengers as well. Also in the third-row are phone shelves and charging points and book or iPad straps.
One of my favourite features of the Mercedes GLB is the auto-lock and unlock doors which you can access from any door, you do not have to go to the driver's door first. This makes loading and unloading children and all their stuff much easier.
There is one gripe I have with driving the Mercedes GLB; I found the lane keep assist very sensitive, especially on narrow country roads where you're trying to avoid the verges and when I got close to the central line of the road it would brake quite violently which was quite shocking as the driver and disturbing for everyone on board. I appreciate this is a safety feature to prevent cars crossing the central line and into oncoming traffic but it felt very sensitive and I found we turned it off within the media screen when driving on anything other than motorways.
Other than that, the Mercedes-Benz GLB is a great compact, seven-seater family SUV in terms of drive, media system, luxuries and enjoyment for the price. If there was third-row access with three child seats installed across the second-row then that would great, however having four ISOFix and five top tether anchorages in the rear seats give you the flexibility of where to put your child seats to work for your families unique combination and requirements.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB seven-seat SUV scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating from 2019 onwards and has seven airbags as standard.