8th August 2016

Reviews: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC - a Compact SUV that fits

Last Word First:

With their new GLC, Mercedes have effectively revamped the entire range and in the case of this Compact 5-seater SUV, introduced a brand new road occupant.

Mercedes-Benz GLC specification:

Make: Mercedes-Benz, Model: GLC 220d, Segment: Mid-size SUV, Trim: AMG Line, Engine: four-cylinder 2,143cc, Power: 170bhp, Torque: 400Nm, Transmission: 9G-Tronic Automatic, CO2: 129g/km, Tax Band: B1, Annual Road Tax: 270, Introductory Price: €50,280 (GLC 220d 4Matic), AMG Line Starting Price: €53,700, Test Car Price: €56,113

GLC Competition

The GLC sits in a very aggressive segment alongside the BMW X3, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volvo XC60, Audi Q5, Lexus NX, Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace and the just released Ford Edge, so this is not a place for the shy and unprepared. Incumbents must hit the ground running and here in this premium segment, it is fair to say sales are going at quite a gallop.

Outside View

With my GLC test car, it stood in AMG trim, wearing 19” alloys and the optional Night Pack, which added high gloss black to the door mirrors, heat insulated dark-tinted window glass, radiator trim and that big integral Mercedes star, matt black, powder coated roof rails and front and rear underguard painted black – very smart.

The GLC, being a Compact Sports Utility Vehicle, is based on the C-Class chassis, joins other Mercedes-Benz SUV’s; the GLA, based on the smaller A-Class and the GLE, based on the bigger E-Class and replaces the former ML. The GLE carries multi-link suspension all round and runs through a very slick 9-speed automatic transmission, with the Mercedes-Benz 4Matic all wheel drive. It will not intimidate by its height or bulk, weighing in at 1,965kgs, my test car wearing that very smart AMG Line trim and proportionally it just looked correct, the twin stainless steel exhaust pipes adding to the GLC’s stance. 

Inside Story

Mercedes-Benz has done wonders with the interiors of their current range, their latest E-Class is positively decadent, and here in the GLC, owners will delight in its internal layout and furnishings. Beautifully finished, the GLC’s console layout, switchgear, materials and overall fit and finish make it a wonderful place to spend time.

The centre console is dominated by three brushed chrome-edged air-vents, which sit below the tablet-esque information touchscreen. The tactility of switches and touch surfaces is beyond criticism, while the driving position is also excellent, with plenty of adjustment of steering and seat. There is seating for five, with headroom sufficient for all bar those super elevated. Boot space is 550 litres, which can be enlarged to 1,600 litres by manually folding the rear seats from within the cabin or from the boot.

GLC Comfort & Safety

As can be imagined, the Mercedes AMG Line GLC comes with a high level of standard equipment. This includes a 3-spoke flat-bottomed leather covered steering wheel, AMG floor mats, AMG sports pedals, seats covered in ARTICO leather, heated front seats, Cruise Control, Active Park Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, plus a full complement of airbags.

GLC Road Work

The GLC might not be a mighty high-rise SUV, but many will have to circle it and check its model badge to verify its status within the Mercedes family. It loses little in terms of its road manners and comfort once on the move. Indeed it is wonderful company on a cross-country run, being very quiet on the move and absorbing the vast majority of our road surface idiosyncrasies with quiet efficiency.

Personally, I don’t demand a car like the GLC behave like a sports car, being that it sits higher and has a suspension and steering system of a more leisurely disposition. Driven progressively, the GLC’s twin-turbo diesel can dispense with large tracks of tarmac with easy encouragement. The paddle-shift 9-speed transmission is very smooth and as a motorcyclist, I loved its sequential quick-shifting ability, particularly when negotiating a series of downhill curves, where holding the suitable gear is preferable than living on the brakes continually.

As with all cars, the ride quality changes with your wheel size. My test car came with 19” rims and was able to absorb road ripples and speed humps without too much impact transfer. Owners choosing to go up to a bigger option are best advised to test drive them before purchase, as they are not as sympathetic. My overall fuel consumption read 6.7litres/km on the GLC’s trip computer.

Final Word

This 2016 GLC is Mercedes’s first venture into mid-size SUV territory and is very impressive. Sitting slightly higher than its C-Class sibling, it drives well and cossets those within its welcoming and comforting surrounds. It is most certainly ‘game on’ in this growing segment, where your test drive list has to include the GLC.  

This is another star quality car from Mercedes-Benz.


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