Not all that long ago Mercedes had been caught slightly short by the explosion of popularity in small and mid-size SUVs, leaving it standing in BMW and Audi’s metaphorical (and literal) dust as they made the most of the SUV boom.
But Mercedes came at the problem with typical German efficiency and diligently worked away at plugging literally every gap in its product range with some seriously convincing SUVs.
And the GLC is the final piece in Mercedes’ vastly expanded SUV puzzle. Aimed squarely at the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, the most popular GLKC model in New Zealand currently is the petrol-powered GLC 250 we drive here.
The GLC 250 comes standard with 20-inch alloys, park assist, a power tailgate, electric mirrors, side steps, Artico upholstery, electric seats, Garmin navigation, keyless entry and start, ambient lighting, collision prevention assist and blind spot warning, as well as Mercedes’ 4matic AWD system.
The GLC 250 is powered by a 155kW/300Nm 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol turbo engine and a 9G-tronic 9-speed automatic transmission.
The GLC 250 is handsome and surprisingly elegant for an SUV, and successfully takes the C-Class looks and scales them upward and inward (the GLC is 18cm taller and 4cm shorter than a C-Class Estate) to create a look that is distinct to the GLC, yet instantly recognisable as a Mercedes SUV.
Inside, the GLC is almost literally a C-Class, with an interior that is all-but indistinguishable from the sedan and estate. This is both a good thing — the C-Class interior is a thoroughly excellent thing of beauty — and a not-so-good thing, as it leaves the GLC without a distinct identity of its own from behind the wheel. This is hardly a huge downside, however, as the C-Class’s identity is a pretty special one to have.
On the road the GLC feels very much like a C-Class, albeit one that you sit significantly higher in. The higher centre of gravity has the expected effect on handling, which while remarkably sharp and car-like for an SUV, isn’t quite as sharp and precise as the C-Class.
The ride, on the other hand, is slightly more compliant and relaxing than a C-Class, with a remarkable ability to soak up some truly awful road surfaces and retain its composure.
In the all GLC’s we have driven, we have noticed an odd, very subtle side-to-side pitchiness that has a tendency to jostle you around a bit on certain road surfaces. It’s not a massive problem – more of an oddity, really – and the GLC 250 is no different in this regard.
An attractive, seriously practical and thoroughly excellent SUV, the GLC 250 is simply more proof that Mercedes are on a roll at the moment. While we personally would go for one of the excellent diesel options, the petrol version isn’t exactly a bad choice.
- PRICE (incl. GST/excl. on road costs): $94,900
- PRICE AS TESTED: $106,680
- ENGINE: 2.0-litre inline 4-cylinder petrol turbo
- TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic
- PERFORMANCE: 155kW/350Nm. 0 to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds
- FUEL ECONOMY: 7.2L/100km