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Mercedes-Benz GLB 2020: New 'small' SUV has unique seven-seat versatility to draw buyers in

The GLB will soon be here, and it’s looking to take seven passengers.

By the end of this month, the Mercedes-Benz GLB will be in Australian showrooms, bringing with it seven-seat versatility in the body of a ‘small’ SUV for the very first time. But why?

First, some background: Mercedes-Benz Australia had the option to take the five-seat version of the GLB but decided against it. It could’ve even had five seats as standard and another two optional, but in the end, it went for the seven-seater only.

That said, speaking to CarsGuide, Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesperson Ryan Lewis indicated “the initial reaction to (the GLB) has been really positive”, but he cautioned “we’re not placing specific expectations on it, because it is a completely new nameplate”.

“We think it’s got all the right ingredients to do really well – it’s a really unique combination of attributes, with the seven-seater. I think the form factor really suits a lot of people, as well, in terms of how spacious it is inside, but taking up relatively little traffic area,” he said.

The GLB is 4634mm long, 1834mm wide and 1658mm tall, meaning it is closer to a mid-size SUV in length. Speaking of which, it’s actually longer than the Land Rover Discovery Sport from the segment above, which just so happens to be a seven-seater, too.

Meanwhile, Mr Lewis added there will “probably” be some sales cannibalisation between the GLB and its GLA and GLC siblings that sit either side of it in Mercedes-Benz Australia’s SUV line-up.

“That’s not really a bad thing”, he said. “It’s not necessarily about keeping someone in a GLA or a GLC just because they’ve bought one before. As long as we have the right Mercedes-Benz for the customer, then that’s what we want.

“From the initial feedback that we have had, we’ve seen that the GLB really has appealed to existing customers who might be in a different model but the GLB really hits that mark, and that’s what we’re looking for.

“Trends change, and people’s needs change.”

Mr Lewis added the GLB will suit buyers with young families that might also semi-regularly bus around other schoolkids. However, given the third row accommodates occupants up to 168cm tall, it’s not designed for seven adults or five fully grown teenagers.

“There’s no really no disadvantage to the third row,” he added. “In the GLB, in particular, the packaging is really impressive: the third row folds right flat to the floor of the boot, so you don’t lose cargo space by having it there. There’s really only upsides.”

Of note, ISOFIX anchorage points are available in the third row, so two child seats can be fitted, potentially opening up the second row for older occupants or cargo.

For reference, Mercedes-Benz Australia announced GLB pricing and specification last week, with it undercutting the Discovery Sport’s entry point by $600. More importantly, though, it lowers the cost of a three-pointed star with seven seats by more than $45,000.

“The GLB does make the seven-seater more accessible for people who either don’t want or need a big SUV (like the seven-seat GLE and GLS) and don’t necessarily need to use a third row all the time,” Mr Lewis concluded.