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JeffCars.com’s Review: The All-New Mercedes-Benz GLB250 (Wagon?)

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Mercedes-Benz GLB Class (Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

Highlight: This vehicle is also available as a 7-seater.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $57,600 (Base Model: $37,595)

Seating Capacity: 5 to 7 seater

Safety Features: ABS; air bags; rearview camera; auto dimming mirrors; an active braking system; a hill start assist system; a brake hold feature; a crosswind assist system; electronic stability control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and 3 years of Mercedes me connect service

Standard Features: 18-inch wheels; a 7-inch touchscreen; a keyless ignition starter system; heated power side mirrors; pseudo leather seats; power front seats with a 3-position memory system; rear seats with a partially incline; a variety of driving modes; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a power liftgate

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a 10-inch infotainment screen; a 10-inch digital instrument cluster display; power folding exterior mirrors; a keyless entry system; navigation; augmented reality for navigation and traffic sign assist system; multicontour seats; SiriusXM; a Burmester surround sound system; a panoramic sunroof; a wireless charging system; a heads up display system; a heated steering wheel; and 64-color ambient lighting

Other Trims:

GB250 4Matic SUV

AMG GLB

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an AM/FM/HD with satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity:Yes

Smartphone/Android- AppleCar Play Compatibility:Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo /221-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 23-city/30-hwy

What’s New:As the German brand continues to appeal to a younger niche, the entry-level SUV-like crossover, which wears the name GLB, is the newest entry to be added to the luxury brand’s portfolio.

Why: The all-new GLB is one of the most economically priced vehicles currently available in the luxury brand’s portfolio. Unlike a traditional rear wheel drive Mercedes-Benz, the GLB is able to start at a price point under $40,000 — because of its front wheel drive platform. For those seeking a vehicle that is capable of weathering most driving conditions, the vehicle is also available in an all-wheel drive configuration.

MORE NEWS: Kerry Washington, Michelle Obama and Janelle Monáe Ask People Not to Purchase WIC Products

Mercedes-Benz GLB

Mercedes-Benz GLB (photo credit: JeffCars.com)

Being that the average price of a new vehicle these days is just a hare under the $40,000 mark, the GLB is the perfect vehicle to fit the niche for price sensitive car buyers yearning to join the luxury ranks.

And despite the economical base price and the front wheel drive configuration, this is still a Mercedes-Benz through and through. In fact, the brand’s latest entry is a no compromise vehicle. Due to the tall roofline, which reminds us of the discontinued Chevy HHR and the PT Cruiser, the all-new GLB rides and handles like a German-engineered vehicle.

In the roomy wagon-like vehicle, which offers great visibility, one can expect to find such standard features as a three position memory front seats to a keyless entry system to a dual zone automatic climate control system. There is loads of cargo space too. In fact, one can fold down the second row seats, enhancing the cargo capacity.

Added to that, for those seeking more luxury amenities, one can easily option out the vehicle, adding such features as a third row seat, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather seats, a keyless entry system and an auto dimming mirrors.

However, for those yearning to take advantage of the latest in-vehicle technology, one can consider opting for the augmented video for the navigation system to the 10-inch digital instrument cluster and 10-infotainment system. Both 10-inch systems combined together resembles a giant Ipad.

Another highlight of this vehicle is the exterior shape. The tall roofline of Mercedes-Benz’s newest entry reminds us of the discontinued Chevy HHR and Chrysler PT Cruiser crossovers. While Mercedes-Benz marketing team would  frown upon us such a comparison, both the Chevy and the Chrysler, which were designed by the same person, also allowed for an open a functional and roomy interior.

Moreover, the ride and handing characteristics are what one would expect from a Mercedes-Benz. We had an opportunity to spend some time behind the wheel of the GLB250 during Georgia’s rainy season. We found the vehicle to be both safe and quite capable. We also found the peppy 4-cylinder engine tucked underneath the hood to be more than adequate in the German luxury brand newest entry. While this is now the brand’s first go at packing a 4-cylinder in to one of its vehicle, we still associate the brand with the larger engines that are usually associated with a luxury brand.

Furthermore, for those wondering if an entry level vehicle means skimping on safety, this is not the case.  Safety driving aids such as an active steering assist system to an active lane keep assist system to an active lane change system are all available on the GLB.

Lastly, for those seeking to the alter the look and handling capabilities of the GLB300, an AMG trim is available. With the high performance trim, one can add 19-inch AMG wheels, body styling, sport front seats, a sport steering wheel and painted front brakes with painter calipers.  This gives the vehicle a beefier appearance.

But: While the front seats were outfitted with a variety of massage settings, we could not figure out how to activate the heated and ventilated seats. Go figure?

Also are American buyers willing to spend time behind the wheel of a vehicle that doesn’t necessarily carry the exterior design cache one expects from a premium luxury maker? The quirky design  seemed more fitting for the European market as opposed to the North American market.

Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz new generation voice control system known as MBUX seemed to be overly sensitive. The Alexa-like system in our vehicle was seeking commands without us requesting one. It seems like the the brand’s tech team might need to spend some additional time working the kinks out of their much touted system.

Lastly, when optioned out, pricing can approach the $60,000. The economical price of entry can be out of reach for most of today’s car buyers.

Mercedes-Benz GLB Class (Photo Credit: JeffCars.com

Verdict: For those seeking a quirky design vehicle, with loads of personality at what is considered a bargain for entry into the luxury crossover arena, the GLB might be worth considering.

As Mercedes-Benz pushes to expand their portfolio, creating new niches to appeal to all types of buyers, some critics are wondering  is this strategy working? Ironically BMW, which is one of the brand’s main competitors, which offers fewer vehicles in its portfolio, still managed to outsell Mercedes-Benz last year.

Competition: BMW X1; Volvo XC40; MINI Cooper Countryman and Range Rover Discovery Sport

About The Reviewer:  Jeff Fortson is the host of SiriusXM’s only automotive show, Auto Trends with JeffCars.com. The syndicated multicultural weekly 30-minute show, which airs on a number of FM dials too, includes one-on-one engaging conversation with many of today’s pioneers and trendsetters. Its more than just a car show! To find out how to tune in and for all of your automotive needs, cruise over to JeffCars.com.

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Dr. Gretchen Sorin Talks Driving While Black and Her PBS Special on SiriusXM’s ‘Auto Trends’

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Driving WB

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In an exclusive two-part conversation with Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, curator, documentarian, professor and author Dr. Gretchen Sorin literally take us on a historical road trip, exploring the popular acronym DWB beyond the lens of racial profiling.  In her new book, Driving While Black, the effervescent Sorin shares how the car, which has served as the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility, played different roles for both the Black and White community.

We begin our talk during the period of 1930,  which was also known as the Jim Crow Era, discussing everything from W. E. B. Dubose to Booker T. Washington to Albert Einstein to the cars that played a prominent role with Black vacationers, business travelers, entertainers, sports figures and Civil Rights activists. We also dissect the history behind the infamous Green Book travel guides, sharing a number of revealing findings.

And we conclude our conversation, delving into how Dr. Sorin partnered with filmmaker Ric Burns, who is the younger brother to documentarian Ken Burns, to turn her book, which has been a labor of love for over two decades, into an upcoming must-see PBS documentary.

To Tune In via SiriusXM and/or several of our free FM online outlets, click here.

Show One Airs – Saturday, October 3 – Wednesday, October 7

Show Two Airs – Saturday, October 10 – Wednesday, October 14

And for more information on the upcoming PBS Special, click here.

Gretchen Sorin

Dr. Gretchen Sorin (Photo Credit: GS)

About Auto Trends with JeffCars.com

Jeff Fortson is the host and executive producer of  Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, the only multicultural syndicated automotive program airing throughout the U.S. The 30-minute weekly show, which airs on SiriusXM 141 and a number of FM radio dials, includes one-on-one conversations with many of today’s pioneers and influencers.

For upcoming shows, car-buying tips, recall updates or car reviews, visit JeffCars.com.

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JeffCars.com’s Review: Mazda’s CX-30

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(Photo Credit: CX-30)

Highlight: The CX-30 is approximated $1,300 more than Mazda’s CX-3.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $31,670 (Base Model: $23,000)

Seating Capacity: 4

Standard Safety Features: airbags; side airbags; ABS; hill launch assist; traction control system; stability control; automatic on/off headlights; rain sensing wipers; a rearview camera; a lane keep assist system; a lane departure warning system; a tire pressure monitoring system; sunvisor extensions; a smart city brake support system; and a driver fatigue monitor system

Standard Equipment (Base Model): 16-inch wheels; front wheel drive; an electronic parking brake; dual power exterior mirrors; a manual a/c; center console armrest with covered storage compartment; cloth seats; manual adjusted front seats; a push button ignition starter system; a keyless remote system with a panic button; and an 8-inch infotainment screen

Standard Equipment (Premium Package Model): 18-inch wheels; paddle shifters connected with the steering wheel; electric assist power steering; front/rear signature LED illuminated headlights; a power liftgate; roof rails; a dual zone ventilation system; rear ventilation vents; leather seats; heated front seats; power driver’s seat with a memory control feature; overhead console with sunglass holder; vanity mirror illumination; rear armrest with cupholders; a 12-speaker Bose AM/FM audio system; SiriusXM; Andorid/Apple CarPlay; a 9-inch infotainment system with Pandora ready radio integration; a drive attention alert system; a radar activated cruise control system; a blindspot monitoring system with a rear traffic cross alert system; a heads up display (HUD) system; and an active front lighting system  

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: paint color; frameless auto dimming mirror; navigation system; active driving display system; an adaptive front lighting system; leather seats; front/rear LED signature illumination; power moonroof; paddle shifters; and power rear liftgate roof rails.

Mazda CX30 (Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

Other Trim Levels:

Select

Preferred

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 8-speaker AM/FM/HD radio

Apple CarPlay/Android: Available

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/186-hp (horsepower)

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage (Non AWD): 25-city/33-hwy

What’s New: For the 2020 model yearthe CX-30 compact crossover is a new addition to the Mazda portfolio.

To continue reading, click here.

(Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

About The Reviewer:  Jeff Fortson is the host of Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, the only syndicated multicultural automotive radio show on the airwaves. The 30-minute weekly show, which airs on SiriusXM 141 and a number of FM radio dials, includes one-on-one conversations with many of today’s pioneers and influencers. The engaging show, which goes beyond traditional car talk, can be heard via all mobile and stationary infotainment devices, clicking here.

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JeffCars.com’s Review: 2020 Lexus LC 500

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2020 Lexus LC 500
Lexus LC 500

2020 Lexus LC 500 (Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

Highlight: A stylish LC 500 convertible is in dealerships now.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $106,440 (Base Model: $93,975)

Seating Capacity: 2 (2 extremely small kids in the rear)

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; a back up camera; heated dimming exterior mirrors; a tire pressure monitoring system; a pre-collision system with pedestrian protection; an all speed radar activated cruise control system; automatic high beam headlights; a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert; a lane keep assist system; a lane departure alert system with steering assist; a traction control system; a vehicle stability system; an automatic locking retractor; a first aid kit; and an emergency locking retractor

Standard Equipment: 20-inch aluminum wheels; a rear wheel drive configuration; a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifter; a push button ignition system; an adaptive variable suspension system; a driver select mode (sport and sport plus); an active sport exhaust system; aluminum pedals; electric power steering; flush outside door handles with a smart key access; LFA-inspired instrumentation; an analog clock; a 10-inch infotainment screen; a navigation system; flush-type door handles; direct spay windshield wipers; power folding auto dimming exterior mirrors; power front seats with memory controls for driver side only; memory operated electrochromic outside rearview mirrors; flush-type door handles with illumination when opened;  aluminum scuff plates; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; leather front seats; pseudo-leather rear seats; an 8-inch infotainment screen; a dual zone climate control system; a deodorizing and dust/pollen removing interior air filter; Lexus Enform Wi-Fi; and a glass roof with sunshade

Options On Test Vehicle: heated steering wheel; 21-inch wheels; a heads up display system; a limited slipped differential; Mark Levinson 13-speaker audio system with surround system; an intuitive park assist system; premium paint; Alcantara sport seat; carbon fiber roof; active rear steering; a variable gear-ratio steering; a speed activated rear wing; Alcantara headliner; carbon fiber door; and scuff plates

2020 Lexus LC 500 (Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

Other Trim Levels:

a hybrid model

a convertible (2021 model)

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 12-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Android/Apple CarPlay:not compatible with Android

Amazon Alexa: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.0-liter, 8-cylinder/471-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 16-city/26-hwy

What’s New: After arriving on the scene two years ago, the big news for the LC500 is the arrival of the stunning looking convertible this summer. As far as the coupe, a blinds spot monitor coupe is standard for the 2020 model year. And a new special edition Inspiration Series LC 500 is available. Unfortunately, Lexus plans on producing only 100 of the unique vehicles.

For more photos and to continue reading the review, click here.

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(Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

About The Reviewer:  Jeff Fortson is the host of Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, the only syndicated multicultural automotive radio show on the airwaves. The 30-minute weekly show, which airs on SiriusXM 141 and a number of FM radio dials, includes one-on-one conversations with many of today’s pioneers and influencers. The engaging show, which goes beyond traditional car talk, can be heard via all mobile and stationary infotainment devices, clicking here.

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