Mercedes-Benz and its uber-luxury sidekicks AMG and Maybach offer 31 vehicles in 2022 models. Coupes, convertibles, electric vehicles, sedans, sport utility vehicles, roadsters and wagons all are in the mix. Add multiple trims in each segment, and whether via app or abacus, keeping track of the German manufacturer’s extended family of vehicles is a task.
Even connoisseurs of the carmaker’s stoic vehicles might need a chart to differentiate the GLA 250, GLB 250 and GLC SUVs. The former is a luxury subcompact; the latter is a luxury compact. The Mercedes-Benz GLC is among the competitors of the GLB, which seats as many as seven. Now in its third model year, the 2022 GLB 250 continues the first generation which debuted in late 2019 as a 2020 model. Only a few nuanced changes were added this year.
The GLC is available in five trims, including a hybrid and three AMG performance options. The GLB 250 is available with front-wheel or all-wheel (4MATIC) drive and with upscale AMG trimmings. The GLB doesn’t have a fourth relative as a competitor, although the manufacturer may find another SUV niche it hasn’t yet filled.
The reviewed GLB 250 4MATIC with its performance-oriented AMG treatment has a starting cost of $2,000 more than the front-wheel drive version—although purists of the upscale, hand-made performance and aesthetic treatment may scowl, as the AMG additions aren’t hand-built.
With high-raised seating and a stiffer suspension, the GLB has a more traditional boxy SUV look; the GLA has a more sleek styling. Despite its compact status, the GLB 250’s boxy style gives it an advantage over competitors. Its interior is spacious and it has an optional third row, though it’s adequate for children only. The interior design also provides superior vision via the large windshield and rear mirror.
Adult second-row passengers won’t feel cramped, a shortcoming in some compact SUVs. Comfortable seating and support abound. Mercedes-Benz uses high-quality material, and the soundproofing must also be top-notch since the GLB offers a quiet ride. It’s another trait not always available in the segment.
Exterior appearances aside, the GLA and GLB operate with the same engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. All models are powered by an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Technology equipment is plentiful and functional. The GLB’s standard features include the Mercedes-Benz MBUX infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integrated. The controls are easy to use and provide clear images and prompt navigation directions. Further, the optional adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are welcome safety technology. If still unfamiliar with the systems, there’s a learning curve that may cause early-use uncertainty, but the features can be lifesavers.
The Premium Package adds a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, as well as auto-dimming mirrors, power-folding side mirrors, a hands-free power liftgate, Keyless-Go and SiriusXM.
The Driver Assistance Package adds adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, speed limit assist and lane-keep assist.
As a tight, comprehensive and varied compact SUV, the 2022 GLB 250 exceeds the segment’s expectations, notably with the AMG upgrade. It’s nimble and easily maneuverable in tight spots, swift around town and confident cruising on the highway.
It’s a $50,000 vehicle at its top end, about $4,000 more than the average price of a new car in the United States. In that respect, it’s not only a bargain, it’s at the top of its class.
Facts & figures
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.9 seconds
Fuel economy: 22 mpg city, 30 mpg hwy
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $40,600
Manufacturer’s website: mbusa.com
Price As Tested: $50,995
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 4 years/50,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles