by John Tallodi
Now in its second year, the GLC SUV has proven itself to be an accomplished entrant in this competitive market. Well-built and practical it is a worthy adversary to the established players. It has scored well against older competitors like the Audi Q5 and it matches the new wave of sporty SUVs in specification and technology. For 2017 the range has received minor changes to options to keep things competitive.
The GLC shares a large percentage of its components with the very accomplished C-Class sedan, the interior too is similar which is a good thing. The GLC has the added benefit of the more commanding driving position and the general fit and finish is as good as any of its competitors. Interior space is also better than the class average, even in the rear, the cargo area is not quite as generous as one might expect but it is still far more usable than the angled rear of the recently launched GLC Coupe and similar X4. The seats are covered in MB-Tex synthetic leather which looks and feels like the real thing and the large center console can be covered in a variety of trims to give the cabin an even more premium feel.
Gone are the days when settling for an SUV meant flabby handling and a wallowy ride. While some modern SUVs may have gone too far the other way with overly hard and bouncy rides this is definitely not the case with the GLC. It flows down a road in a taut and controlled manner, exhibiting minimal body lean and absorbing the majority of bumps with aplomb. It may not match the Macan and X3 at the limit but that hardly matters in the real world. Opting for the larger wheels does not disturb its composure too much. The optional adaptive air suspension is well worth the asking price, especially if you intend to go for the largest 20-inch wheels.
Currently the GLC SUV is available in either rear-wheel drive GLC 300 or all-wheel drive GLC 300 4MATIC flavors. Both share the same 241 horsepower turbo inline-4 as well as a 9-speed automatic transmission. 273 lb-ft of torque is spread between 1,300 and 4,000 rpm which provides the GLC with muscular overtaking ability. The 4MATIC takes 6.4-seconds to reach the benchmark 60 mph which sees it trailing the rear-wheel drive version by a tenth of a second, not something you would notice on the road. What you will notice is the added grip the 4MATIC system provides in poor weather conditions.
Standard equipment for both the 4MATIC and standard GLC300 include adaptive dampers (not standard on a number of competitors), remote entry, Mbrace connect (Providing a host of online functionality and convenience features) and an 8-speaker sound system with two USB ports and power folding rear seats. The more common standard features in this segment such as power liftgate, LED daytime running lights, 18-inch wheels, rearview camera and Bluetooth connectivity are also present.
The options list is extensive and have been divided up into a number of packages. The Premium Package includes keyless-go and blind spot assist, the Multimedia Package offers a larger 8.4-inch COMAND screen with hard-drive navigation and voice control while the Advanced Parking Assist Package includes hands-free access, Parktronic and a surround view system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are taken care of by the Smartphone integration Package. Certain extras can be optioned individually such as the Heads-up display, air body control and blind spot assist systems.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is a solid offering in the very competitive compact SUV market and while it may not be the best in any one category, it does perform well above the class average in a variety of important areas. The large options list allows customers to tailor their vehicle exactly to their tastes too.