Mercedes-Benz GLB 250

Mercedes-Benz GLB 250. Picture: Merecedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 review: SWISH Army Knife

The Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is a jack of all trades, but is it master of any? We test the compact Silver Star to find out.

Mercedes-Benz GLB 250

Mercedes-Benz GLB 250. Picture: Merecedes-Benz.

In this day and age, compact SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 are multiplying like young love after a Taylor Swift concert. Any vehicle with added ride height and SUV practicality is eminently useful to anyone. So how does the premium-positioned Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 stack up against the rank-and-file crossover crowd?


Mercedes-Benz GLB 250
Mercedes-Benz GLB 250. Picture: Mercedes-Benz.

In a nutshell, the Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is the slightly strange outcome when you merge Mercedes-Benz’s compact car architecture with SUV aspirations. Think of it as A-Class underpinnings with G-Class guts. The result is, as fans of the alphabet will quickly come to understand, is something bigger than a GLA but smaller than a GLC. Got it? Good.

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What I like about the Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is how boxy and reminiscent it is of the previous-generation GLK. The GLK was a Merc that never actually came to South Africa but it was hugely popular around the globe. I saw them in their droves in California, cruising around carefree in the Hollywood Hills. That sort of sight imprints on a memory – the cool, do-it-all Benz.


Mercedes-Benz GLB 250
Mercedes-Benz GLB 250. Picture: Mercedes-Benz.

Essentially, the Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is the biggest car the German brand builds on its compact, front-wheel-drive architecture. If you want anything GLC and above, you need to move up a wrung to its C-Class-based platform … and pay more for it. As a result, the GLB is powered by the same range of engines you’ll find in the A-Class. And that’s no bad thing because the 2.0-litre turbo in the 250 model goes like stink!

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Accordingly, 165 kW and 350 Nm of torque imbues it with hot hatch-like performance. Zero to 100 km/h is dusted in 6.5 seconds, we can confirm through testing. Sure, there’s a bit of axle tramp and front-wheel scramble as it launches off the line. But it’s quick and a real hoot. The fuel economy is not quite as good as claimed though. Mercedes-Benz says a combined return of 7.4 l/100 km, but in the real world you’ll most likely see 8.2 l/100 km or there about, as prefaced by our test regimen.


Mercedes-Benz GLB 250
Mercedes-Benz GLB 250. Picture: Mercedes-Benz.

Surprisingly, it is. Even though our test unit didn’t have 4Matic four-wheel drive, the 213 mm ground clearance is sufficient for you to zip over sleeping policemen, climb curbs and do all sorts of adventurous things in your day. While the ride quality is a tad firm, on the sporty side even, you could easily tackle a gravel trip to the Klein Karoo at the drop of hat. Better still, the Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 never feels like a cumbersome beast.

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When you spec your GLB, you can either have the full 560-litre boot or you can go for the seven-seat option. Our test unit did not have the extra seats fitted. But if you did, you’d have a full school bus to handle all the kids on carpool day. Despite being on the smallest platform Mercedes-Benz has, it genuinely is a practical car. We folded all the seats flat to utilise all 1 805 litres of stowage space and loaded a bunch of surf boards no problem. Our only reservation was perceived quality. There were a few squeaks, rattles and crunchy trim pieces, but the test car had done nearly 35 000 km, so we’ll cut it some slack. The tech and gizmos therein are identical to what you’ll find on more expensive SUVs like the Mercedes GLC and GLE. Another win.


Mercedes-Benz GLB 250
Mercedes-Benz GLB 250. Picture: Mercedes-Benz.

There you have it. The Mercedes-Benz is a kind of jack-of-all-trades and master of many. Okay, maybe not quite a master, more like a highly skilled apprentice. On the road it displays a fine blend of Mercedes-Benz traits. We’re talking plenty of sportiness and acres of practicality, all wrapped up in sophisticated luxury. If you’re a multitasker, someone whose must-have plaything is a Swiss Army Knife, then the Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is right up your avenue. A SWISH Army Knife, if you will.


  • Best for: Jack of all trades.
  • Not so sure: Torque steer and occasional front axle tramp rather unbecoming for a premium car.
  • Figures
  • Engine: 1 991 cc 4-cyl turbo petrol
  • Power: 165 kW, 350 Nm
  • Performance: 6,50 sec 0-100 km/h (tested)
  • Gearbox: 8-speed auto
  • Economy: 8.20 l/100 km (tested), 7.40 l/100 km (claimed/combined)
  • Tyres: Pirelli Scroption Verde 235/55/R18
  • Braking: 100 km/h – 0 in 3,05 sec (tested)
  • dB measurement: 85.5 ave
  • Price: R1 012 287

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