GLB 220d

Enticing, Versatile and Different, Merc GLB 220d Runs on the Smell of an Oil Rag

We were spoiled for our holiday wheels over the December break. We has a Mercedes-Benz GLB 2220d at our disposal and it proved a great vacation companion too. An interesting SUV proposition, GLB fits between the GLA and the GLC, second from the bottom of Benz’ well-stacked utility ladder. A major plus, as we previously discovered with the petrol 250, is that it’s quite different. It’s nothing like the GLA below and GLC above it on the range. But this particular car’s really strong point is its incredible fuel consumption.

GLB 220d Very Much Plays its SUV Part

Its more powerful, torquier, thriftier and cleaner-burning four-cylinder turbodiesel and engine and its bang up to date driveline. This 140 kW 400 Nm Nm all-wheel drive GLB 220d is quick too. The turbo 2-litre turns Merc’s 8G-DCT automatic. They claim a quick 7.6 second 0-100 km/h dash and 217 km/h top speed. At a claimed 5.5 litres per hundred.

We got closer to five to the hundred and seven seconds to a hundred. Which meant that we never bothered about refuelling what started as a full tank of diesel, throughout the holidays. And we galivanted quite a bit. It still had over 100 km range to get back home after we’d driven over 1,000 kilos. Pretty impressive, no?

Push it and GLB 222d gets on with it in a compelling ride. But there’s still a bit more to this car too. It looks more the utility vehicle it is with that classic, squared-off G Class look. Rather than just another pumped up saloon. GLB also has a cavernous cabin. To set a spacious cat among those tight compact SUV pigeons. Merc says GLB redefines the versatile compact SUV market. We tend to agree…

Looks Quite the Tonka Toy

Powerful proportions, unique LED headlights and short overhangs speak to a whole new Mercedes-Benz audience. It’s an off-road-focused G-wagon-inspired design with an upright nose, a rising waistline and muscular haunches. Stylised skid plates front and rear and protective cladding emphasise a robust character. It wraps itself around spacious and versatile family car cabin.

Wide-opening doors reach down over their sills for easy, clean access. You soon notice its class leading front row headroom and especially comfortable legroom in the rear in this one’s five-seat get-up. The 40:20:40 split folding second row bench can be moved fore and aft to grow GLB’s handy 570-litre trunk to 1800 litres deliver the versatility of a true estate car. The load cover shield can fold and stow in the handy and sizeable extra compartment under the height-adjustable boot floor.

GLB of course comes with Merc’s full state-of-the-art widescreen ‘My Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment. That offers powerful computing, brilliant screens and graphics, customisable presentation and full-colour head-up display. Ours even had the optional augmented reality navigation with learning software and voice activated ‘Hey Mercedes’ prompting.

GLB 220d Proved the Perfect Holiday Companion

Driving assistance systems are drawn from the S-Class, with improved camera and radar that allow the GLB to see up to 500 metres ahead and drive in semi-automated mode in certain situations. All very cool kit!

All in all, the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLB is a most interesting car that fills a needy void in Merc’s range. It’s certainly its own car, but in this fruval 200d incarnation, it basically runs on the smell of that rag too. Mercedes has hit the sweet spot again. Yes it’s still a relatively small car, but you’d never say so once you are inside. – Michele Lupini

Images & testing: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-Benz GLB 220d Progressive
Engine: 140 kW 400 Nm 2-litre turbodiesel I4
Drive: 8-speed dual-clutch Automatic AWD
0-60 km/h:        3.08 sec
0-100 km/h:       7.13 sec
0-160 km/h:       18.09 sec
400m:             14.8 sec 153 km/h
80-120 km/h:      5.45 sec
120-160 km/h:     8.74 sec
VMax:             235 km/h
Fuel City:        5.5 l/100 km
CO2:              144 g/km
Warranty/Service: 2y Unl./5y 100K km
LIST PRICE:       R925K
RATED:            8
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