SUV based on the C-Class is better than the sum of its parts
- Limited engine choice
- Dull drive
If there’s one sector of the market Mercedes has been missing out on in the UK it’s the compact SUV market, occupied by the Audi Q5 , BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque . In Europe it marketed its GLK model to fill the gap, but it couldn’t be successfully converted to right-hand drive. This, however, has been replaced with the C-Class-based GLC which can.
Initially there’s just going to be two engines available here in the UK, the GLC 220d and the GLC 250d. In effect they’re the same engine, a 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel unit that’s seen service in various other Mercedes models past and present, with two different power outputs.
The former produces 168bhp and 400Nm of torque, the latter available from just 1,400rpm, and accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds while emitting just 129g/km. Driven gently it’ll return up to 56.5mpg too.
Those opting for the more powerful 250d will appreciate the extra 34bhp and 100Nm (though peak torque arrives some 200rpm later than in the 220d) which allows the GLC to sprint from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds while emitting the same CO2 output and returning up to 56.5mpg.
Previously renowned for its unrefined nature, Mercedes engineers have worked wonders on the units and their installation, and now this 2.1-litre four-cylinder engine is as hushed as any others in the sector.
Both are mated to a standard nine-speed automatic gearbox, which is typically smooth, and come with four-wheel drive as standard.
A hybrid model will join the line up later.
In the UK the Mercedes-Benz GLC is offered in three trims levels, which mirror the C-Class on which it is based. That means the line up consists of SE, Sport and AMG, with prices starting from around £35,000 for the entry-level model.
SE models come with an electric tailgate, tinted windows, reverse camera, DAB radio, heated windscreen and keyless start. Choose the Sport and this is augmented by active park assist, heated front seats, sat-nav and interior trim upgrades. AMG models add AMG interior and exterior element to Sport trim alongside special AMG sport suspension.
Alongside the standard four-wheel drive system there is an Off-Road pack which adds different transmission modes as well as different Airmatic ride heights, altered gearing and differential lock. Other packages include the SE Executive pack, Premium pack and Premium Plus pack that includes Comand Online, Road Sign Assist and the excellent Burmester stereo system.
The Mercedes GLC is geared at families, especially those who don’t want to sacrifice premium appeal, and boasts plenty of practical touches to make daily life easier. Isofix is standard fit, while the rear seats split 40/20/40 with the backrests able to be remotely folded from buttons in the rear. With the optional air suspension fitted the GLC will even lower its rear to aid with loading heavy or bulky items.
Read the rest of the Mercedes GLC review to find out if it has what it takes to appeal to buyers.