With 609,000 customers worldwide taking delivery of a compact Mercedes-Benz (one in three are compact models) and a total of 2,600 units of the Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLE delivered in Malaysia last year (Volvo Malaysia only sold more than 1,000 cars), the appetite for compact luxury vehicles have proven beyond insatiable.

And the new Mercedes-Benz GLB, the brand’s first compact SUV with third row seats, has arrived to fuel that fire with petrol and a pressure jet spray.

Slightly narrower and shorter but taller than the new Mercedes-Benz GLC (1,644mm), the new GLB (1,658mm) is said to accommodate passengers up to 168cm in height in the third row seats.

With collapsible third row seats, boot space is rated between 560 litres to 1755 litres. Occupants in the third row seats are not neglected from comfort and convenience with dual cupholders and USB ports offered.

Made in Mexico, the new GLB’s 4MATIC system includes the Off-Road Engineering Package where in combination with the Multibeam LED headlamps system, offers a special off-road light function.

With the off-road light function, the cornering lights on the Multibeam LED headlamps are continuously switched on up to a speed of 50 km/h, resulting in wide and bright light distribution immediately in front of the vehicle.

The Off-Road mode can be activated through the Dynamic Select drive control switch, where it adapts the engine’s power delivery and ABS control when driving in off-road terrain.

In “Eco or Comfort” power distribution is at 80:20 (front axle:rear axle), while in “Sport” it is 70:30. In off-road mode, power distribution is at a balanced 50:50.

When in Off-Road mode, an animation of the car can be displayed on the infotainment system to project the terrain’s gradient, inclination angle and other technical details to assist the driver.

In the GLB 200, the compact SUV gets a 1.33-litre M282 petrol-powered engine paired to a 7-speed DCT with 163 hp and 250 Nm, while the GLB 250 4MATIC is fitted with the M260 2.0-litre engine paired to an 8-speed DCT with 224 hp and 350 Nm.

Diesel models include the GLB 200 and GLB 200d 4MATIC, both with 150 hp and 320 Nm while the GLB 220d 4MATIC offer 190 hp and 400 Nm on the taps. All three diesel models are paired with an 8-speed DCT.

Adopted from the S-Class, the GLB’s driver assist system, with improved camera and radar systems, can scan up to 500 metres ahead and is able to drive semi-autonomously with the Active Distance Assist feature. A new feature in the GLB is the Active Steering Assist, to complement the Active Lane Change Assist and Active Parking Assist.