GERMAN luxury brand Mercedes-Benz recently launched in the Philippines its very first seven-seater in the compact car family, the stylish Mercedes Benz GLB Class. The GLB is the marque’s most versatile compact SUV yet, and is its eighth model featuring the Modular Front Architecture (MFA) — a midsize unibody automobile platform that the manufacturer uses in order to enable parts-sharing across a range of different products.

The GLB is perfect for short, medium, and long journeys in the Philippines; and especially ones that involve growing families or larger groups of friends who put great value in vehicle refinement and comfort. The compact SUV redefines space generously, with its long wheelbase that affords it a third row for two additional seats, all while maintaining comfortable legroom and headspace.

Powering the GLB 200 AMG Line available here is a 1.3-liter inline four-cylinder engine that spits out 163hp alongside 250 lb-ft of torque (from just 1,520rpm). Such hefty torque coming in at lower revs allows for some sprightly driving — with good takeoffs from complete stops, and great responsiveness when an extra push is needed for highway passing, merging and even high-elevation climbing.

Among my favorite of the drive features found in this vehicle is the Mercedes-Benz Dynamic Select — which basically offers different drive programs to the user, depending on the type of car behavior desired for the moment. Choices include Sport, Comfort and Eco. And based on the selection, the car instantaneously adjusts the settings of its engine, transmission, chassis and steering to adapt to the driving style associated with those options.

Inside the polished cabin are black Artico Dinamica microfiber seats, and 560 liters of luggage space with all the seats upright. If the third-row seats are collapsed, a generous 1,680 liters of maximum storage space is available.

And consistent with the other latest Mercedes-Benz vehicles, you now get to enjoy your own in-car personal assistant! The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) is a special treat of modern in-car technologies and, of course, includes the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A seven-inch touchscreen is at the center of the dash, and this screen may also be controlled via an ergonomic touchpad on the center console, or through steering wheel shortcut buttons or simple language commands, if you prefer.

Moreover, Mercedes-Benz has always been at the forefront of safety. Included in the safety features of the GLB are retractable headrests, seat belts with belt tensioners, a side window air bag (which also protects the third-row passengers), and ISOFIX attachment points. Also available are top-tether anchorages for compatible child seats, as this vehicle can accommodate up to four child seats in the rear.

Part of the GLB’s Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive features are adaptive brake lights that flash when necessary, brake assist for emergency braking situations, and a parking package that includes a nice reverse camera and active parking assistance.

The AMG Line package includes 19-inch twin-spoke light alloy wheels, side skirts in its body color, polished aluminum roof rails, and AMG’s distinguishable body styling.

The GLB will be shipped from the Mercedes-Benz factory in Aguas Calientes, Mexico. Its purchase comes along with a two-year unlimited warranty that may be upgraded to extended warranty if desired. Its purchase price starts at P3.79 million.