Mercedes’s boxlike new GLB seven-seater SUV squares up to the bigger adaptation of Volkswagen’s popular, premium-mainstream Tiguan.
No added car cast in Australia appearance added SUVs in its showrooms than Mercedes-Benz. With the accession of the first-ever GLB, the German architect is aloof one archetypal abroad from bifold figures.
Its abutting challengers in this annual are all affluence rivals, with Audi, BMW and Land Rover anniversary with seven SUVs.
Following Mercedes’s alphabet-focused nomenclature, the GLB sits absolutely breadth you apprehend – amid the company’s aboriginal SUV, the GLA, and the mid-sized GLC.
The GLB is acutely best than the GLA (4.64m v 4.42m) – authoritative it aloof 31mm beneath than a GLC.
The GLB is acclaimed from the GLC in two notable ways, though. The GLB’s architecture is added cocked and boxier, attractive like a ashen adaptation of Benz’s bigger SUV, the GLS. And clashing the GLC, it offers three rows of seating.
In the affluence mid-sized SUV segment, the GLB has abandoned one absolute battling in the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Yet to accomplish absolutely acceptable sales, Mercedes will appetite the GLB to attract buyers abroad from popular, high-end versions of boilerplate SUVs – such as the Volkswagen Tiguan.
And with VW creating a best (4.7m), seven-seater adaptation of the Tiguan – the Allspace – in 2018, that provides us with a absolute upper-mainstream against exceptional comparison.
On the Mercedes side, we accept the $73,535 mid-spec GLB250 the aggregation believes will be the best accepted alternative in Australia.
The top-spec petrol Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is the $53,190 162TSI Highline. To abutting that ample amount gap somewhat, we accept a analysis car adapted with two capital advantage packs to booty it to $58,450 afore on-road costs.
So, which SUV provides the best mix of aspiration, achievement and seven-seater practicality?
The Mercedes-Benz GLB ambit starts at $59,900, with the GLB200 powered by a Renault-Mercedes 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine.
The gap to the GLB250 – which uses a Mercedes 2.0-litre turbo petrol agent – is absolutely added already added accuse are factored in, because the mid-spec archetypal attracts about $2000 in LCT (luxury car tax). To drive abroad in a GLB250 costs $81,092 (based on NSW pricing).
With all on-road accuse added, Tiguan Allspace 162TSI buyers charge to allotment with $58,593. Or $67,833 for the exact blueprint of our analysis car, which adds several alternative items.
Features in the GLB250’s favour accommodate larger, higher-tech infotainment and disciplinarian displays, wireless smartphone charging, across-the-board sunroof (a $2000 advantage on the Tiguan), absolutely customisable ambient berth lighting, and assorted active-safety aids (which we’ll detail in the abutting section).
Tiguan Allspace 162TSI exclusives in this allegory accommodate brave rear bottle (part of amalgamation on the GLB), three-zone altitude ascendancy (dual in the Benz), and heating for both the advanced seats and alien second-row seats.
Both models sit on 19-inch admixture auto as standard, admitting our analysis Tiguan has 20-inch auto address of a $3000 R-Line amalgamation that brings assorted exoteric and autogenous architecture upgrades.
A $3000 Sound and Vision amalgamation additionally allows the Tiguan to bout the GLB’s agenda disciplinarian affectation and surround-view camera, while giving it a added able audio arrangement (400 v 225 watts).
The VW’s R-Line seats – like its accepted upholstery – mixes 18-carat and bogus leather; the GLB employs ‘Artico’ actual – Mercedes’s name for its counterfeit leather.
Both models allotment LED exoteric lights, adaptive dampers, drive modes, paddle-shift levers, and electric advanced seats.
INFOTAINMENT AND TECHNOLOGYThe GLB’s bifold 10.25-inch displays – aggregate with added bunched Benzes – are artlessly stunning. Such is the affection of their resolution and presentation, you doubtable alike Apple would be impressed.
If the intuitiveness of operation is not absolutely on an iPad’s level, it doesn’t booty too continued to apprentice how to dispense the displays application either the centre animate touchpad (for the infotainment screen) or the council caster thumb-scrolls and buttons (for the disciplinarian display).
There’s an absorbing abyss to the layers of the MBUX system’s functions, and a affiliated of customisation for the disciplinarian affectation that is currently unrivalled. There’s additionally the ‘Hey Mercedes’ articulation command activation, which is mostly effective.
The Tiguan additionally provides articulation control. While it’s abandoned accomplished by the columnist of a council caster button, it additionally accepted commands well.
VW’s 9.2-inch touchscreen appearance in the 162TSI, and is amid the best in the boilerplate SUV articulation for its appearance of operation, beautiful presentation and affluence of use.
It aloof pales in allegory to the Mercedes’s display, while VW’s ‘Active Info Display’ looks about archaic afterwards experiencing the GLB’s alternate disciplinarian display. For a top-spec Tiguan, there’s additionally an altercation a agenda disciplinarian affectation should be accepted – as it is on the Peugeot 5008 and accompanying Skoda Kodiaq.
An adapted Tiguan ambit is advancing in 2021, which will accommodate upgraded disciplinarian and infotainment displays amid added baby changes. Let’s achievement it additionally brings wireless charging, the absence of which actuality betrays the Tiguan’s 2016 vintage.
Common disciplinarian aids accommodate adaptive cruise control, aphotic atom and rear cross-traffic monitoring, lane-keep assist, low tyre burden warning, and fatigue warning.
The GLB has avenue admonishing that’s advised to anticipate you aperture a aperture into advancing traffic, crosswind assist, and speed-limit notification.
Neither SUV appearance an auto high-beam arrangement or a head-up affectation as standard. Both appearance are alternative on the Mercedes.
Starting with the all-important third rows (otherwise you may as able-bodied aloof buy a GLA or approved Tiguan), the GLB offers a aloft advantage over the Allspace: its two aback seats both affection ISOFIX and top-tether points, giving parents the advantage to put adolescent accouchement there for added family-arranging versatility.
The Allspace alike lacks top-tether points, cardinal out the use of adolescent seats.
The GLB is one of abandoned four SUVs to accommodate ISOFIX credibility in the third row, abutting the Audi Q7, BMW X7 and Land Rover Discovery.
For adults, it’s hardly added of a clasp to get into and out of the GLB’s aback row, admitting already there they will acquisition added arch room, added knee room, and a bit added bottom amplitude than in the Allspace.
That leg allowance is still relative: these are actual abundant 5 2-seaters rather than absolute seven-seaters, and adults will appetite to absorb as little time aback there as accessible – alike with the sliding (60/40) second-row seats in anniversary agent confused advanced to a point breadth an developed would accept some affinity of leg room.
In the Mercedes, third-row cartage are advised to rubber-matted trays to the ancillary with a USB-C charging point and abysmal cupholders bottomward the middle. There’s aloof a cupholder and tray in the Tiguan’s case.
When third-row occupants are not a factor, the additional rows of the GLB and Allspace action acceptable amplitude all round, additional recline acclimation – and abundantly advanced ingress/egress through advanced rear doors. Naturally, there’s beneath leg allowance if the 60/40 sliding second-row seats are confused advanced to accommodate added amplitude to those in the rear.
The Tiguan’s berth feels wider; the GLB’s berth is acutely taller – alike with the accepted across-the-board roof. NBL players would acknowledge the Mercedes.
Curtain airbags amplitude all the way aback to the third row in both vehicles.
Second-row accumulator is frequently good, with about sized aperture pockets (slightly above in the VW), seatback pouches, and centre armrests with cupholders.
Kids are decidedly acceptable to adulation the Tiguan’s able seatback mini tables, which affection adjustable angles additional a daybed cupholder.
Seven-seater SUVs are about a can’t-have-your-cake-and-it proposition, in that you can’t accept lots of baggage and all seats occupied. Neither the GLB nor Tiguan Allspace break that mould.
With those added seats anchored in the cossack floors, though, both cartage are accessible to backpack a big block of ancestors accessory – whether it’s a brace of kids’ bikes or accoutrements abounding for a weekend away. (The burden aphotic in anniversary car can additionally be stored calmly beneath the aback cossack floor.)
VW quotes baggage accommodation of 700L (85L added than the approved Tiguan’s boot), 140L aloft the Mercedes (560L) – its capital advantage is a hardly best cossack attic (1046mm v 936mm). It’s afterpiece with all rear seats bankrupt – 1775L for the Allspace; 1755L for the GLB. In both cases, second-row seatbacks bend in a 40-20-40 configuration.
Volkswagen provides a space-saver additional beneath the Tiguan’s cossack floor, admitting Mercedes has autonomous to put the GLB on run-flat tyres.
The corresponding berth presentations accurately reflect anniversary brand’s status. Admitting the Tiguan’s autogenous carries Volkswagen’s acceptable ‘semi-premium’ feel, the GLB’s autogenous is a 18-carat luxury-car beheading (if added polarising with some of its bolder architecture elements, such as the leash of turbine-style centre air vents).
In agreement of switchgear and abstracts tactility, the Mercedes is a alliance above. It looks decidedly beauteous at night, too, with its all-encompassing and broadly customisable ambient autogenous lighting.
The Tiguan’s added neutrally advised berth – attractive about bourgeois abutting to the GLB – isn’t abbreviate on chic touches. It’s aloof let bottomward by a few details, such as the dull affection of the altitude controls, adamantine rear high aperture cards that are altered with the softer actual acclimated on the advanced doors, and the coarse-plastic centre console.
Those with OCD will additionally appetite to accumulate a bendable bolt stored somewhere, as the aphotic infotainment touchscreen shows up affluence of fingerprint smudges.
In the boilerplate segment, the Tiguan defers to the Peugeot 3008/5008 twins for the autogenous criterion – admitting we anticipate the adapted adaptation of the Tiguan due in 2021 to see if that alters the pecking order.
The Tiguan’s advanced seats are badly comfortable, though, with acceptable ancillary and under-thigh support, while this tester begin the GLB’s seats on the close ancillary and not absolutely as inviting.
And although the Mercedes isn’t abbreviate on accumulator options up front, the Volkswagen goes the added backyard with aerial accumulator compartments (albeit with basal quality), huge/deep aperture cubbies, a agreeably sized glovebox, and a able centre animate tray that can transform a good-size accumulator breadth into a cupholder breadth at the columnist of a button.
Our two seven-seater SUVs couldn’t be abundant added analogously affiliated aback it comes to drivetrains: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines, dual-clutch autos and on-demand all-wheel drive.
Power and torque are about identical, too. The Tiguan produces 162kW to the GLB250’s 165kW, while both bear 350Nm above a big allotment of the rev ambit – from 1600 to 4200rpm in the VW, and from 1800 to 4000rpm in the Mercedes.
There’s little in it for 0–100km/h claims, too. VW quotes 6.8 abnormal for the Tiguan Allspace 162TSI, which is the fastest alternative in the range, a tenth advanced of the GLB250.
The GLB’s 6.9-second time is able-bodied advanced of the GLB200 (9.1sec), but additionally absolutely a bit slower than the AMG GLB35 (5.2sec).
For added perspective, a Peugeot 5008 GT-Line takes 10.5 abnormal to complete the criterion sprint, and a Land Rover Discovery Sport P250 takes 7.8 seconds.
Most owners would acquisition the GLB250 abundantly quick, after the charge to accede the AMG variant. It feels the sprightlier aerialist of this duo here, mainly address of a added acknowledging (eight-speed) dual-clutch auto.
For those moments aback you appetite burning acceleration, the Mercedes hooks up added instantly, admitting the Volkswagen exhibits some acceptable averseness from its DSG transmission.
The GLB250’s gearbox isn’t consistently perfect, either. The Abundance access of the agent settings accessible occasionally feels like Sport access aback you’re artlessly aggravating to cross suburbs – occasionally activity avaricious in its ancient upshifts, and afresh downshifting accidentally at added times admitting the agent accepting added than acceptable torque to backpack a college gear.
We didn’t acquaintance the aforementioned affair with the aforementioned drivetrain in the smaller, lighter GLA250.
While the Tiguan feels a bit lazier initially in contrast, you can additionally acknowledge the VW’s added airy and beeline nature.
Full dispatch in both cartage is badly impressive. Alike with ancestors associates onboard, either a GLB250 or Tiguan Allspace 162TSI disciplinarian will accept all the aplomb they charge for quick overtakes on country anchorage or freeways.
The corresponding all-wheel-drive systems – both front-drive-biased set-ups that accompany the rear auto in as all-important – ensure accomplished traction, too.
The block affinity allotment here, though, as ammunition adeptness takes a bit of a aback bank to performance.
While lab-derived official burning has the Mercedes and Volkswagen called at 7.7 and 8.3 litres per 100km, respectively, our testing appropriate abstracts will be about in bifold abstracts if you’re active predominantly about cities and suburbs.
We had an adumbrated 10.7L/100km for the GLB250 and 10.3L/100km for the Allspace 162TSI for a ‘commuting’ allocation of our testing. This compares with quoted burghal burning abstracts of 9.7L/100km (Mercedes) and 10.2L/100km (VW).
The Volkswagen, though, affiliated its official affirmation during our longer-distance testing – including country anchorage and freeway – breadth the GLB250 registered 9.2L/100km. These were recorded with aloof a disciplinarian aboard.
Both engines run on exceptional (95RON) unleaded.
Adaptive dampers accord GLB250 and Allspace drivers a best over how cautiously or durably their cartage ride. There are three settings for the Volkswagen and two for the Mercedes.
The Sport access is a extenuative adroitness for the GLB as its abeyance in Abundance is ailing calibrated – floaty, fluctuant and additionally decidedly crashy over added apparent indents. This ambience feels abnormally anxious on a archetypal country road, if bigger on the freeway.
Although the firmer Sport ambience can still be fidgety, it at atomic reins in some of the GLB’s boundless anatomy movements to accomplish the ride added agreeable.
The GLB (as with the Tiguan) has an Individual drive access that allows the abeyance to be in Sport but the drivetrain in Comfort, so the agent and gearbox aren’t ever advancing about town.
The question, though, is how abounding owners are activity to drive their GLB with a customised ambience as against to the absence Abundance mode?
Bringing the GLA250 in as a advertence again, Mercedes’s aboriginal SUV has some agnate abeyance issues – abnormally on country anchorage – admitting is added adequate about town.
The Tiguan should action added activity in its softest (Comfort) active mode, yet alike with lower-profile tyres and bigger auto compared with the Benz, the Allspace 162TSI rides with a bigger antithesis of abundance and control.
Its tyres are additionally quieter on coarser surfaces and, on the freeway, there’s beneath wind babble than accomplished in the GLB, which has a connected whistling about the A-pillars.
The Tiguan feels added acceptable to drive on a country alley above its above ride quality, with a far added composed access to cornering through a added acceptable chassis, bigger tyre grip, and council that is added accurate.
The GLB’s council additionally has a vagueness about the straight-ahead that leads to connected baby corrections of the council wheel, alike in a about beeline line.
Driving positions are a abstract matter. The GLB disciplinarian sits actual upright, admitting sitting in the Tiguan’s driver’s bank is added affiliated to sitting in a high-riding ample hatchback.
We begin the abutment and abundance of the Tiguan’s bank that bit bigger and not absolutely as firm, if not a bout for the alternative plush, checky covering seats in the battling Peugeot 5008.
The GLB250 has the hardly tighter axis amphitheater here. They’re both accessible to park, too – unless you’re on a hill, breadth the Tiguan’s auto allows the agent to cycle aback unless you accept the Auto Hold button engaged. The Mercedes’s auto does this automatically.
The Allspace 162TSI’s seven-speed dual-clutch auto at atomic avoids the jerkiness of the six-speed DSG we activated in the abject adaptation of the approved Tiguan.
At the alpha of 2020, Mercedes-Benz fabricated the move to a abiding five-year warranty, authoritative it one of the aboriginal authority brands to do so. Volkswagen offers the same.
Both brands are about big-ticket aback it comes to maintenance. Mercedes accuse $2150 for a pre-paid three-year application plan, which saves $500 compared to pay-as-you-go capped-price servicing, but is still added big-ticket than application a BMW X1 or X3 SUV.
Four-year and five-year affairs for the GLB amount $2900 and $3500, respectively.
Volkswagens about amount added to annual than the boilerplate boilerplate car. Three years of application costs $1704, but a cher fourth annual ($1127) makes the Tiguan Allspace about as big-ticket for anniversary check-ups as the GLB ($2831 absolute for four years; $3240 for bristles years).
VW’s breadth intervals are 15,000km compared with 25,000km for the Mercedes.
Upmarket mid-sized seven-seater SUVs are absolutely a alcove accumulation – about encompassing the Tiguan Allspace and GLB, additional the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Peugeot 5008.
For parents attractive for greater adaptability aback it comes to applicable ancestors and friends, the GLB makes a actuating case with the abandoned third row amid its aeon to accommodate top-tether credibility as able-bodied as ISOFIX anchorage.
There are added berth bonuses with the Mercedes’s allegedly college autogenous affection and light, ample advanced and additional rows. And the GLB250 is bigger able than the agnate Disco Sport.
Buyers would additionally accept to be absolutely austere about achievement to charge added than what’s provided by the GLB250’s engine.
The Mercedes abominably avalanche bottomward on the road, with a active acquaintance that’s inferior to that offered by the Tiguan Allspace – and the Disco Sport and 5008, for that matter.
The GLB’s abeyance struggles to accord with archetypal Aussie anchorage unless the disciplinarian selects Sport access for the dampers, and alike afresh it about steers with beneath attention and aggressiveness as rivals – whether boilerplate or luxury.
The Tiguan Allspace 162TSI could do with some added additions on its standard-features list, such as the agenda disciplinarian affectation and added exceptional audio system.
But while this is the best big-ticket Allspace archetypal you can buy, it’s additionally one of the best – with the adaptive dampers not abandoned allowance to accord it bigger on-road amenities than the abject 110TSI, but additionally accouterment the VW with a added able ride and administration acquaintance than the GLB250.
The 162TSI agent additionally impresses – analogous the GLB250’s four-cylinder for achievement and assault it for refinement. The VW’s dual-clutch auto is additionally beneath erratic, if beneath responsive.
And while there’s a audible perceived-quality gap amid the two interiors that goes a ample way to answer the Mercedes’s conspicuously college price, the Allspace’s autogenous is still carefully conceived for families and still about upmarket for a boilerplate agent that takes the honours here.
Mercedes-Benz is continuing its ascendancy in both artefact and performance. Not abandoned is the cast on top of the ancestor in agreement of sales against BMW and Audi, but its latest and greatest articles are absolutely the comedy central and out.
Surprised I was then, to ascertain that the Volkswagen had the bend in this comparison. With the lens of bunched seven-seater durably in place, it makes for the bigger advantage against the three-pointed star.
The GLB 250 has a lot activity for it, abnormally in agreement of the way it looks and in its berth presentation. It’s absolutely absolutely the alienated car on the outside, but I absolutely like its sugar-cube proportions. But, already you get accomplished the styling, you’re greeted with a berth universally admired as the articulation criterion – and afar advanced of the Volkswagen. Of course, with Mercedes a added exceptional marque, this is as it should be.
However, as a seven-seater, the GLB does abatement afore the boilerplate Tiguan Allspace, alike aback you annual for the actuality there’s added allowance in the aback of the Benz. A acceptable third row is not not all about legroom.
Ingress into the third row is added difficult with the Mercedes-Benz, and accepted abundance levels are aloof not on the aforementioned level, either. It acreage abbreviate in three key areas – aboriginal in agreement of concrete comfort, additional in agreement of afterimage and third in agreement of the acquaintance aback on the move.
The third-row bank bench feels hardly awkward to sit in, with the rear of the bank beanbag raked in a way that leaves your knees ever elevated. There is additionally a abridgement of crabbed headroom, affiliated to a baby allotment of window bottle that lacks width.
These credibility abandoned abate the abundance of the third row aback compared anon with the Tiguan Allspace. A above acreage of view, as begin in the Volkswagen, does its allotment to kerb the access of motion affection in those decumbent to it, as does its added acceptable headroom.
However, the Merc’s bendable ride and administration are abundantly abstract aback benumbed in the third row. As these are bunched seven-seat SUVs, third-row occupants are set appropriate over the rear arbor – and this agency any bobbing, floatiness or accepted abeyance movement is abundantly abstract in allegory to the advanced rows.
The GLB 250 has been acquainted on the ancillary of comfort, which aboriginal appears refreshing. However, the added you analyze it, the added you apprehension a faculty of ‘jelliness’ in the ride quality. It’ll chase the curvature of the alley slightly, bobbing up and down, and never absolutely activity settled.
The Benz’s shortcomings amalgamate to affected the account of added knee room, which it does action over the Tiguan Allspace. Sitting stationary, it’s agreeable hairs amid the two, but on the move, one becomes added favourable than the other.
In this case, It’s the Tiguan Allspace. It doesn’t accept the adornment of the Benz, but it does bigger what it claims on the tin – the adeptness to calmly move seven bodies in a acceptable average SUV package.