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Auto review: Mercedes's new small SUV a winner, despite goofy driver-assist feature

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

If you haven't figured out how to learn from your mistakes by the time you're 94 years old, you're probably doing something wrong. After missing the mark with its first subcompact SUV, Mercedes-Benz -- founded in 1926, if you just got on the metaphor bus -- learned its lesson and got just about everything right with its second try, the 2020 GLB250.

The GLB is the follow-up to the GLA, a small SUV that proved too small and car-like to win many American buyers. Based on a new architecture, the GLB, which recently went on sale, screams SUV, with traditional boxy styling and a practical interior.

Commercials for the GLB even tout an optional third row of seats, although I suspect the average owner will use it about as often as their appendix. Unlike your appendix, though, the GLB's rear seat is treated as a selling point, allowing the little SUV to claim seven-passenger status, a rare feature in its class.

How much?

Prices for the GLB250 start at $36,600 for a front-wheel drive model. All-wheel drive, which Mercedes calls 4Matic, starts at $38,600, and is likely to be the better-selling drivetrain.

All GLBs come with a 2.0L turbocharged engine that produces 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, typical output for its class. The transmission is a quick and smooth eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.

 

Other standard features include:

Apple CarPlay

Android Auto Push button start

Dual-zone climate control

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