It’s a Mercedes-Benz. That’s all you need to know. You know it will be a safe, extremely comfortable car that brings expected luxury and top-of-the-line options. And, for the suggested retail price of $36,600, the GLB250 SUV delivers. The compact crossover is a new model for Mercedes designed to go up again the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Volvo XC40.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine brings 221 horsepower to the table and the engine comes with an eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. It is available  in front- and all-wheel drive. We must admit we had fun driving this around town, especially during the height of the pandemic when there were few cars on the road. No, we didn’t put the pedal to the medal and test to see if it really can go the advertised zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds, but we did hug the curves around some back roads. The SUV clung to the road, was deftly balanced and was nimble as we wove our way through some winding streets. The suspension and responsive steering showcased the best of Mercedes’ technology.

We also admit we went over several speed bumps at full speed and we glided over them as if they weren’t there. Certainly no body going up while the car stayed on the road as with some vehicles!

This is  a nice addition to Mercedes’ line-up, perfect for those who want to dip their toes into the luxury market. The ride is fine and we loved the roomy cabin, one of the largest in its class. The GLB offers 40.7/39.3 inches of front and rear headroom. MB-Tex synthetic leather seats (leather is optional) have a 12-way power adjustments with heated, ventilated and multi-contour front seats and, one of my favorite perks, a heated steering wheel. Overall, I could drive across the country in this SUV; the seat was that comfortable and my knees that grateful for the near-perfect ergonomics. It gets about 26 miles per gallon combined, which is, frankly, awesome and impressive.

It also has a third row, albeit not really for adults, but perfect for children. Again, a plus for an SUV of its size and price. It can do the 40/20/30 split second row seats can adjust to seven positions or fold flat. The easy entry feature eases access to the available 50/50 split third row seats. Put all the rear seats down and you are rewarded with 62 cubic feet of cargo — certainly enough room for two and a lot of stuff

This SUV fits a lot of technology and intelligent features and, frankly, in our opinion too much. It was hard to figure it all out and sometimes the sleek, European design got in the way of practicality. One plus is the standard dual 7-inch or available 10.25-inch high resolution screens the present the visuals with clarity. While the screen was incredibly clear (and we loved the ) we found it hard to easily maneuver the screen. You can interface with the MBUX in several ways. There is a touchpad for input, but you can also get your data or selections with screen taps, swipes, steering wheel mounted controls and voice commands. Admittedly we are not the most tech savvy, but this downright confused us. We had to actually spend some time figuring it out and then eventually, just gave up. It was the old “too many options when one or two would do,” syndrome. The “Hey Mercedes, I’m cold” voice command was about as efficient as Suri.

Another feature that bewildered us was the available 64-LED ambient lighting with multi-hue motifs. Yes, it was fun see the outlines in various colors but, honestly, is it necessary?

The GLB 250 lists for around $36,600 but you might want to consider additional packages such as the Driver Assist and the Multimedia Package that will add such features as active brake assist with cross-traffic function, active emergency stop assist and Map updates. Many of these options are standard on similar vehicles.

For those wanting a top-of-the-line manageable SUV without breaking the bank, consider the Mercedes Benz GLB 250 SUV. It has it all. And, it’s a Mercedes!

— Mary Welch


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