Did you know that one in four vehicles sold by Mercedes-Benz in Canada is a compact model? Or that SUVs currently account for more than half of the company’s total sales in the country?
Previewed by a concept at Auto Shanghai in April, the versatile and off-road-oriented 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB made its global debut in production form yesterday in Salt Lake City, Utah, right on the footsteps of the Rocky Mountains.
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Room for Family and Friends
Despite being a compact SUV like the GLC, this brand new model can accommodate up to seven people, making it more attractive to families. In fact, Mercedes-Benz says that the two optional third row seats will fit passengers up to 1.68 metres (5’6”) in height.
At 2.83 metres long, the wheelbase offers about 100 millimetres more than the new CLA, which results in a particularly spacious 967 millimetres of rear-seat legroom. The GLB is also taller and provides class-leading headroom in the first row, according to the automaker.
In the five-seater configuration, the cargo area amounts to 560 litres, expanding to 1,755 litres with the seats folded flat. With two extra seats in the rear, it shrinks to just 179 litres.
From a design standpoint, the Mercedes-Benz GLB displays a rugged character with short overhangs, large wheels and protective cladding in the lower body. Let’s not forget the uniquely styled LED headlights and taillights.
Inside, tubular elements in the lower section of the instrument panel as well as the centre console give the impression of robustness and power. The driver faces a widescreen cockpit, with control and display via the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. Also included are an all-colour head-up display, augmented reality navigation, learning-capable software and voice control that is activated by the phrase "Hey Mercedes."
A Single Trim Level
Motivation for the Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 4MATIC comes from an updated and turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the latter coming alive from 1,800-4,000 rpm. It is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and reaches 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. Meanwhile, the standard all-wheel drive system adjusts torque distribution between the front and rear axles based on the driving mode (80/20 in Eco/Comfort and 70/30 in Sport).
Thanks to improved camera and radar systems, the GLB can view up to 500 metres ahead and can drive partially autonomously in certain situations. For example, it can conveniently adapt its speed before corners, crossroads or roundabouts using the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with support from maps and navigation data.
The new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB will be assembled in Mexico and sold in Canada starting near the end of 2019. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.