13 Dec 2019 | 01.58 pm
Roadtest: Mercedes-Benz GLC
The GLC seems the prefect size for an SUV
13 Dec 2019 | 01.58 pm
The new Mercedes GLC is a spot-on upgrade that looks great and is refined for practicality, writes Mark Gallivan
Mercedes has done a commendable job updating its GLC compact luxury SUV. In every way, the GLC’s proportions look spot-on and it now looks as good as Porsche’s excellent Macan. The GLC appeared in 2015, replacing the boxy and universally unloved GLK. For 2019, Mercedes has introduced new engines for the face-lifted GLC, including a 200d four-cylinder diesel with an automatic gearbox being tested here. However, the primary reasons why anyone will buy a Mercedes GLC are the marque’s premier image and deserved reputation for comfort.
The GLC’s prices begin at €48,040 for the GLC 220d with the standard interior trim. The GLC range is wide, with seven petrol versions – starting from €65,460 for the GLC 300 4Matic and rising to €136,010 for the 4.0-litre Mercedes-AMG CLC 63S 4Matic with 510hp. Peer into the diesel-engined GLCs and there are no less than 25 different versions in the Irish price list. The 200d diesel will likely be a popular choice, especially paired with AMG line specification. It’s a great engine, striking a good balance between performance and economy.
The GLC interior is a classy environment, with the construction quality of the Mercedes of old. The mid-life revisions included new goodies like the MBUX-innovative telematics with new touchscreen displays. They combine navigation with augmented reality and intelligent voice control that is not unlike Apple’s Siri. The driver can initiate voice-activated queries for recommendations and perform tasks like lowering or raising the car’s interior temperature.
The MBUX system is one of the best voice-augmented system on sale, and it was first shown when the new A-Class appeared last year. Mercedes’ decision to fit a flat touchpad without a rotary controller can make accessing primary controls difficult at first but you become accustomed to it.
If the GLC’s cabin feels uncannily like the C-Class, that’s because much of the car’s structure and engines are shared with the GLC. While the exterior changes are small, the 2019 GLC has a new front grille, bumpers and standard LED front and brake lights. The GLC tested came fitted with the Mercedes man-made leather, which comes close to feeling like the real thing. The new four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engine is exceptionally refined for a diesel. It is frugal as well – I easily managed to eke out 5.5 L/100 km (almost 52 mpg), which is close to what Mercedes claims for the engine’s fuel economy.
I liked how certain things are engineered for real practicality e.g. the boot’s parcel shelf can be removed and stored directly under the loading bay rear floor. The rear load capacity of 550/1,600 litres is not far off the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.
My biggest gripe with large SUVs is driving them through congested streets. However, the GLC seems the perfect size, practical enough for five people with very generous headroom but taking up the same footprint as the C-Class saloon. The GLC is also an undemanding car to drive, which helps make everyday traffic less stressful. I liked the Mercedes GLC a lot, and the facelift has made a good mid-size SUV even better.