SUVs have become the most popular cars money can buy these days which means that a brand as prominent as Mercedes needs to offer the upper echelon of SUVs for the current market in order to justify steep entry prices.
Mercedes currently offers 3 compact SUVs starting with the smallest one, the GLA, the GLB, and the largest compact SUV, the GLC. Between these three the GLA seems to be the best one to buy if you are not after a family SUV, if you are, you are better of with the GLB.
The GLC should be a significant step above both the GLA and the GLB, yet the current GLC is getting on a bit and is due for a complete replacement in the coming year. Until that happens, you should focus your attention mostly on the GLA and the GLB if you want the best compact Mercedes SUV.
Even though all three of these are far from being Mercedes SUV benchmarks, they are every bit a Mercedes because they offer more or less the same features you get on the largest Mercedes SUVs.
Mercedes GLA – The smallest, yet the most promising
The new Mercedes GLA is positioned as the SUV version of the Mercedes A-Class which means that it should balance luxury, practicality, and relative affordability. The 2022 Mercedes Benz GLA costs $37,450 without any options for the entry-level GLA 250 which comes with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 221hp.
This makes the entry-level GLA a really fun car to drive, especially if you opt for the premium AMG trim. The GLA looks modern and luxurious both inside and out that thanks to a myriad of futuristic-looking design touches.
The GLA falls short for relative lack of space for the rear passengers which means that it’s not the best family compact Mercedes SUV you can buy. It also lacks cargo space compared to the GLB even though it does offer a more exciting driving experience.
Mercedes GLB – The best compact Mercedes family SUV
As previously mentioned, the GLB is positioned as the entry-level true family Mercedes SUV. Thanks to its rather boxy shape the GLB offers lots of space for both your luggage and your passengers. The GLB is packaged so well that it even offers seating for up to seven passengers which is unheard of in the compact SUV segment.
However, the third row of seats is rather cramped and is not fit for a large adult. Besides space, the GLB is more or less the same as far as luxury and features are concerned. The entry-level GLB250 costs $38,600 and it also packs a 2.0L 4-cylinder with 221hp.
There are plenty of options you can choose from if you want to make your GLB feel more luxurious and more welcoming. Be that as it may, a well-equipped version of the GLB can easily climb over $50k, and that’s a bit pricey considering the market position.
Mercedes GLC – Due for a replacement soon
The Mercedes GLC was often regarded as the best overall Mercedes SUV because it balances space, size, and value better than every other Mercedes SUV. However, the current generation of the GLC has been around for a few years now which means that it can’t compete with the newer generation GLA and GLB variants.
The entry-level GLC250 costs $43,850 which is a significant step up from the GLA, especially when you consider that the GLA offers superior technology in almost every regard. Either way, the GLC is still a competitive compact SUV, but it falls short due to its age.
Space-wise, the GLC is better than both the GLA and the GLB because it offers a more commanding driving position and a much more desirable market position. Mercedes is soon to reveal the new generation GLC which should look familiar to the new Mercedes C-Class both inside and out.
As such, it’s not a bad idea to wait for the release of the new GLC because it’s almost definitely going to offer way more than the GLA and the GLB even with a significant price bump.
Why do people love SUVs so much?
SUVs are now arguably the most desirable cars on the market because they offer a more commanding driving position, more space, and an overall more capable automobile. As such, the current trends towards SUVs also push automakers to pay closer attention to their new SUV and crossover models.
Mercedes currently offers 8 different SUVs starting from the smallest GLA and moving all the way up to the gargantuan GLS full-size seven-seater family SUV. The Mercedes Benz G-Class is still the most desirable SUV Mercedes makes and that’s not likely going to change soon.
Do BMW and Audi make better SUVs than Mercedes?
The age-old battle between these three German executive premium automakers is as rampant as ever, especially when you take a look at the SUV segment. Since BMW first pioneered the “Coupe” SUV with the X6 Mercedes was soon to follow with the GLE Coupe and Audi followed shortly after with the Q8.
In almost every possible SUV segment these three are competing for more or less the same type of buyer. Mercedes has the G-Class which is arguably without competition because it offers something the other two can’t match. All in all, all three of these automakers make tremendous SUVs that can trade punches equally.
What is the best Mercedes electric SUV?
Mercedes has only released the EQA, EQB the EQC SUVs which are both based on their existing ICE counterparts, the GLA, the GLB, and the GLC. These three more or less follow the same trajectory as their ICE counterparts which means that the EQA and the EQB are indeed better than the EQC.
However, Mercedes is planning to release an electric SUV on a stand-alone EV chassis which should easily be able to best these three existing EQ SUVs in almost every regard. You only need to take a look at the Mercedes Benz EQS if you want to see how superior a true electric Mercedes is compared to its competitors.