Although the Mercedes GLB is based on the MFA II compact class platform, it is only 2 cm shorter than the Mercedes GLC based on the MRA platform. Which SUV best suits the needs of a family?
Photo: Bogdan Paraschiv
Today we are not investigating which is the best Mercedes SUV but which SUV between GLB and GLC suits you best. And to answer this we need to do a survey to find out how many members your family has and what budget you have.
GLC has longer wheelbase, but GLB offers more space
If you do not have more than two children, then GLC is absolutely enough. But if you have a bigger family, then Mercedes offers the new GLB with the option for two more seats in the third row for 1.416,10 euros. The test car did not have them, but I tried them on another occasion and they are only suitable for children or people up to 1.68 meters tall. But Mercedes openly acknowledges this.
Although the GLC has a 44 mm longer wheelbase, things are exactly the opposite when we speak about the rear space. This is the moment when the type of platform comes into play. GLC use the MRA platform which is based on the rear wheel drive and on which the engine is mounted longitudinally, stealing some space.
Mercedes GLB use the MFAII platform which is based on the front wheel drive, the engine being located transversely. Thus, the kneeroom in the rear oscillates between 10-42 cm at GLC and 4-51 cm at GLB.
The figures confirm that in the rear the GLB feels a little more airy but this is also reinforced by the boxy silhouette of the car, the GLB being even higher in the rear and front by 2 and 1 cm respectively. Instead, the GLC bench is better profiled, not as hard and offers better seating comfort. And in addition, the GLC is wider at the rear and has a wider cushion.
Both models come with a 40/20/40% split bench and in both cases a flat loading surface is obtained by folding it. In the GLB it is folded down with a strap placed at the base of the cushion while in the GLC it is folded down from two buttons in the trunk. The central segment also folds at GLB, from a strap located at the base of the cushion while at GLC there is a small lever at the top of the backrest.
The GLB folding method is inspired by minivans as well as the folding backrest of the front passenger seat (178.50 euros). In fact, the GLB is variable like a minivan, this being its role in the compact range. Unlike BMW, which offers the seven-seater option on the Grand Tourer 2 Series minivan, Mercedes preferred to offer this option on an SUV.
In the standard 5-seater configuration, the GLB comes with an optional sliding seat (standard 7-seater), with the measured boot volume ranging from 319 to 465 liters depending on the position of the seat, while the GLC offers 450 liters, both with standard electrically operated tailgate.
Being newer, the interior of GLB looks fresher and the integration of the two interlocking screens is more aesthetic. The two optional 10.25-inch optional screens for digital instrument cluster and multimedia system with navigation with HDD and augmented reality cost 3.552,10 euro. There are lot of money for a compact SUV.
At GLC, the High End Infotainment package with digital instrument cluster on the 12.3-inch screen, the larger display of the multimedia system plus navigation on HDD and augmented reality cost 3.790,15 euro. But the dashboard configuration with the multimedia screen attached to the dashboard just seems like a compromise solution. If you want something more modern, you have to wait until the next generation in 2022 which will introduce the new screen in portrait format from the new C-Class W206 which will be launch on February 23
Ergonomics is similar in both cases, with the excellent mini touch pads on the steering wheel with which you control the digital instrument cluster (the touch on the left of the steering wheel) and the multimedia system (the one on the right). And of course you have the touch option for the multimedia screen or voice command.
GLC is more comfortable but also more expensive
Both models came with the standard classic suspension. At GLC you can configure adaptive suspension (1130.50 euros) or even air suspension (2261 euros), while at GLB only adaptive suspension is available (1178.10 euros). But even with the standard suspension, GLC is a king of comfort, being best in class. Superb driving comfort is its main quality, which has propelled it to the position of the best-selling premium middle-class SUV in Europe.
By comparison, GLB cushions short bumps a little harder but is a pleasant companion on the long routes. In the automotive industry everything is relative. If we compare the comfort of GLB with that of GLC, the nobler GLC model is more comfortable but among the premium compact SUVs, GLB offers very good comfort.
In addition, with a higher center of gravity, GLB’s body movements are wider, it tilts more in corners and is a bit more understeer. Depending on the driving mode chosen Eco / Comfort / Sport, the torque distribution varies from 80/20% to 70/30% front / rear while at GLC it is felt that most of the torque is distributed on the rear, only at the limit 50% reaching the front wheels.
The 2-liter turbo engine is similar but at GLC it has a mild hybrid system with integrated alternator starter of 14 HP and a surplus of 34 HP and 20 Nm. On paper, GLC accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h by 0.7 seconds faster but this is not obvious in practice.
Lighter by 135 kg, the GLB 250 4Matic feels lighter, although the larger roll doesn’t allow to attack corners as incisively as in the case of the GLC. Instead, the 8-speed automatic transmission with double clutch changes more spontaneously than the 9-speed automatic with torque converter from GLC. But GLC’s gearbox changes smoother and more refined.
Surprisingly, despite the square allure which create higher wind resistance, the GLB is as quiet as the GLC and GLB’s engine is less audible at high accelerations.
Although it has a mild hybrid system, the higher power and weight of the GLC lead to a higher consumption of about 1.5 l / 100 km. It’s quite a lot because the difference in performance is minimal.
Therefore, the price difference is quite large. GLC 300 4Matic is 8.264,550 euros more expensive, a significant difference even in this premium segment, while GLB 250 4Matic does not exceed 50,000 euros in standard configuration. And access to the GLB world starts at 40.114,90 euros for the GLB 200 with a 1.33-liter turbo engine made with Renault (163 HP) and 40.138,70 euros for the GLB 180 d with a 2-liter Mercedes OM654q engine and 116 HP. By comparison, the cheapest GLC, GLC 200 4Matic, with a 2-liter turbo engine and 197 HP starts at 48.141,45 euros, and GLC 200 d with the same OM654 but with 163 hp costs 49.628,95 euros.
Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic
It is a king of comfort and offers a more pleasant rear bench. It drives more incisively and is very refined. It is significantly more expensive than GLB and consumes more.
Mercedes GLB 250 4Matic
It is an SUV with a minivan modularity, it feels easier to drive and it is almost as efficient. It is significantly cheaper and more economical and offers the option of 7 seats.