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Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 2020: family review

The seven-seat small SUV that's practical enough for a family.

Here's something new! A compact SUV with seven seats from Mercedes. It's for those people who don't necessarily want to buy a huge car but still want the practicality of seven seats.

The Mercedes GLB 250 costs $73,990, before on road costs and extras, and while its closest competitor is the Land Rover Discovery Sport, that's a mid-size SUV so not really in the same category.

Yes, there is nothing in the market that directly competes with the Mercedes GLB 250. Does it do the job? Is it big enough as a seven-seater? I put it to the test for this week's family review to find out.

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✅ How spacious is it?

Let's talk about the third row straight up because that's essentially the big difference between this GLB 250 and say, the Audi Q3. Mercedes claims the third row will fit a person up to 168cm (5'5") tall, so it's lucky then that I'm 161cm (5'3") and can comfortably sit back there.

I know my taller CarsGuide colleagues can get back there too, not with loads of room, but they can just squeeze in. So somehow, there is space. And you know how practical it is having two extra seats in the back for when you need them to cart extra kids around or the grandparents.

The trick is that the middle row slides backward and forward, so you can customise the space. If you place the middle row all the way forward, young children will be able to fit in the middle row but no adults.

Taller people will want to slide the row back for a more leg room. There’s enough headroom for everybody. (image: Dean McCartney) Taller people will want to slide the row back for a more leg room. There’s enough headroom for everybody. (image: Dean McCartney)

My two children, aged six and eight, had enough space to be comfortable. Taller people will want to slide the row back for a more leg room. There's enough headroom for everybody.

Space in the front is great. I really like the Mercedes cabin and the square-ish shape of the car adds to the extra interior space. There's enough leg and headroom for the tall members of my family and it's comfortably wide as well.

With the back two seats down flat, the boot is a very decent 565L, which is a good size for the small SUV category. I put it to the test this week because it was my turn to do the fruit and veg shop for my food co-op and I managed to fit 16 boxes of produce throughout the car.

Mercedes claims the third row will fit a person up to 168cm (5'5") tall, so it’s lucky then that I’m 161cm (5'3") and can comfortably sit back there. (image: Dean McCartney) Mercedes claims the third row will fit a person up to 168cm (5'5") tall, so it’s lucky then that I’m 161cm (5'3") and can comfortably sit back there. (image: Dean McCartney)

Pretty impressive as I was concerned there wouldn't be enough room. You'll get suitcases in, or a double pram will fit, too.

If you're using the back two seats, the boot shrinks dramatically (same as other seven-seaters) but you'll still get school bags in there or groceries. Probably not both. I also fit a carry-on size suitcase.

  • With the back two seats down flat, the boot is a very decent 565L. (image: Dean McCartney) With the back two seats down flat, the boot is a very decent 565L. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • You’ll get suitcases in, or a double pram will fit, too. (image: Dean McCartney) You’ll get suitcases in, or a double pram will fit, too. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • If you’re using the back two seats, the boot shrinks dramatically (same as other seven-seaters). (image: Dean McCartney) If you’re using the back two seats, the boot shrinks dramatically (same as other seven-seaters). (image: Dean McCartney)
  • But you’ll still get school bags in there or groceries. Probably not both. I also fit a carry-on size suitcase. (image: Dean McCartney) But you’ll still get school bags in there or groceries. Probably not both. I also fit a carry-on size suitcase. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How does it look?

While the interior is spacious, I do feel like you are paying for that space with the boxy exterior.

It's the one thing about the car I don't like, all the square angles makes it feel a bit dated. But you can't argue with the interior space this shape gives you and once you're inside you forget all about the boxy outside.

Mercedes has nailed the interior design, with super snazzy circular air conditioning vents that not only look good, but give out lots of air, too.

  • The seven-seat small SUV that's practical enough for a family. (image: Dean McCartney) The seven-seat small SUV that's practical enough for a family. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • While the interior is spacious, I do feel like you are paying for that space with the boxy exterior. (image: Dean McCartney) While the interior is spacious, I do feel like you are paying for that space with the boxy exterior. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • You can’t argue with the interior space this shape gives you and once you’re inside you forget all about the boxy outside. (image: Dean McCartney) You can’t argue with the interior space this shape gives you and once you’re inside you forget all about the boxy outside. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It’s the one thing about the car I don’t like, all the square angles makes it feel a bit dated. (image: Dean McCartney) It’s the one thing about the car I don’t like, all the square angles makes it feel a bit dated. (image: Dean McCartney)

The wide screen blends seamlessly into the dash and continues on to the digital dashboard in front of the steering wheel, and the whole interior lights up.

This particular car was coloured in a deep blue to match the outside but you can choose your own colour. It certainly adds to the atmosphere inside the car at night and my kids loved it. It's a part of the 'Sports Package' which also includes things like the roof rails, 'AMG Styling', and tinted windows, and costs an extra $1990.

It feels luxe while you're driving. There are pebbled vegan leather seats, which you wouldn't know were not real leather unless you looked very closely, and this car is fitted with a premium leather sports steering wheel, which is also a part of the Sports Package.

There are brushed metallic features throughout, and while some bits you can tell are not quite as real/expensive as others, on the whole it looks good.

Mercedes has nailed the interior design, with super snazzy circular air conditioning vents that not only look good, but give out lots of air, too. (image: Dean McCartney) Mercedes has nailed the interior design, with super snazzy circular air conditioning vents that not only look good, but give out lots of air, too. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

The front seats are power adjustable via Mercedes' unique and extremely functional chair shaped, metallic control pad on the door. It's one of the things I love about Mercedes.

The gear selector stalk is on the steering column which also makes for surprisingly time efficient gear changes - your hands never have to leave the wheel. The park brake also goes on and off automatically which adds to this efficiency.

If you’ve been relegated to the third row, you’ll find two cupholders and two USB-C ports. (image: Dean McCartney) If you’ve been relegated to the third row, you’ll find two cupholders and two USB-C ports. (image: Dean McCartney)

You'll get two cupholders in the front, a spot for keys and a phone which is also a Qi (chi) charger, bottle holders in the doors and a large centre storage bin. It's a good amount of storage for a small SUV.

Rear passengers get cupholders in the centre storage bin, their own directional air vents, bottle holders in the doors and two USB-C ports. If you've been relegated to the third row, you'll find two cupholders and two USB-C ports, so there's a lot throughout the car and everyone will be able to charge their devices.

✅ How does it drive?

Driving is good in the GLB 250. There is a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine, so it's not lacking in the power stakes. It gets up hills quickly and while you can hear the engine kick in for more speed, it's not super loud. Quiet is luxury in my opinion and the Mercedes GLB 250 does it well.

It is an all-wheel drive so you'll get better traction on unstable surfaces like gravel, dirt or snow. There is a 2WD in the range below this model if you want to save some cash and AWD isn't important to you.

The steering is easy to turn and works beautifully for parking. There's a very high definition reverse parking camera and the test car was fitted with the 'Vision Package' ($1190) which includes a 360-degree view, so you can see where the car is, looking down (virtually) from above.

Driving is good in the GLB 250. There is a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine, so it’s not lacking in the power stakes. (image: Dean McCartney) Driving is good in the GLB 250. There is a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine, so it’s not lacking in the power stakes. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How safe is it?

Included as standard are auto emergency braking (with pedestrian and cyclist detection), lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. But if you want more, like front cross-traffic alert, steering assist and adaptive cruise control you'll need to option up the 'Driver Assistance Package' for an extra $1990.

Standard however, are nine airbags which is great to see in a family car. Usually there are only six, but the extra two are the side airbags for second row passengers. Included in the nine are side curtain airbags that extend to the third row, so everyone is covered.

Yes, there is nothing in the market that directly competes with the Mercedes GLB 250. (image: Dean McCartney) Yes, there is nothing in the market that directly competes with the Mercedes GLB 250. (image: Dean McCartney)

The rear seats also have four ISOFIX points, most cars only have two and this also has five top tether points which you usually only see in large SUVs.

It's a good inclusion and makes this car usable for a family with up to five children, rather than just using the back two seats as 'spares.'

The GLB 250 scored the maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2019.

It is an all-wheel drive so you’ll get better traction on unstable surfaces like gravel, dirt or snow. (image: Dean McCartney) It is an all-wheel drive so you’ll get better traction on unstable surfaces like gravel, dirt or snow. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ What's the tech like?

There's a 10.25 inch wide multimedia screen fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They give you instant access to your phone's main apps so you can use maps to navigate and a streaming app to listen to music. It just makes things easy.

There's a 10.25 inch wide multimedia screen fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (image: Dean McCartney) There's a 10.25 inch wide multimedia screen fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The Mercedes GLB 250 costs $73,990 before on-road costs and extras. This particular test car was fitted with metallic paint ($1490), Driver Assistance Package ($1990), Sports Package ($1990), and the Vision Package ($1190), bringing the total to $80,560 before on-road costs.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.7L/100km and I averaged 8.8L/100km for the week, which is not far off that figure.

It's covered by Mercedes-Benz's five year/unlimited km warranty which is good for a luxury car company. Servicing is required every 12 months/25,000km.

The Mercedes GLB 250 costs $73,990 before on-road costs and extras. (image: Dean McCartney) The Mercedes GLB 250 costs $73,990 before on-road costs and extras. (image: Dean McCartney)


The Wrap

The Mercedes GLB 250 is a great family car. Despite its compact size, the interior is quite large and was plenty for my family of four, plus it has the two spare seats fitted with children's car seat points so if your family is bigger it can accommodate them, too.

The interior looks great, the boot is large and it has good technology. I gave it a family rating of 8.2 out of 10, my kids gave it an 8.4 - they loved the way the inside lit up at night.

Likes

Interior design
Interior space
Smooth drive

Dislikes

Exterior design
Extras cost
Modest boot with all seats up

Scores

Nedahl:

4.1

The Kids:

4.2

$73,535

Based on new car retail price

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