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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class starts at $36,600

As expected, the new GLB slots nicely between Mercedes' GLA- and GLC-Class SUVs.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250
The GLB is a compact SUV, but offers an optional third row of seats.

There's a lot to like about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class. As I found out after spending a day in a GLB250 prototype, this compact SUV is bursting with charm but doesn't skimp on luxury and tech. The GLB will start rolling into dealers near the end of 2019, and on Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz officially confirmed the SUV's starting price: $36,600, not including $995 for destination.

That's the base price for the front-wheel drive GLB250; if you want the 4Matic all-wheel drive option, be prepared to spend $38,600 (plus $995, of course). Both models are powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged I4 engine, delivering 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. A hotter Mercedes-AMG GLB35 will come online sometime next year, but pricing for that model is still TBD right now.

The $36,600 starting price puts the GLB smack dab in the middle of Mercedes' GLA-Class and GLC-Class crossovers, which start at $33,950 and $42,500, respectively. However, the GLB is the only one of the three to offer a third-row seating option -- at least, one best suited for small kids.

As with any Mercedes, you'll be able to spec the GLB with lots of optional extras. Individual prices for these add-ons aren't yet available, but things like LED lighting, adaptive suspension damping, wireless phone charging, 64-color ambient lighting and heated and cooled seats will all raise the GLB's bottom line. Fully loaded, expect this thing to top out above $50,000.

Still, that pricing isn't out of line for the competitive set, which Mercedes says includes the BMW X1 ($35,200) and Land Rover Range Rover Discovery Sport ($37,800). With its handsome looks and spacious cabin, the GLB should pose a real threat to those -- and other -- luxury SUVs.

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