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Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
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Still a strong contender, but newer rivals are circling

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class (15 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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PROS

  • Cosseting and relaxing in the right spec
  • Competitive practicality
  • Mercedes-AMG models offer a unique proposition
  • Feels like a premium product despite oibles

CONS

  • Diesel engines can be rough
  • No plug-in hybrid version in the UK
  • Standard suspension isn’t comfortable enough
  • Beginning to feel a little dated in some respects

PROS

  • Cosseting and relaxing in the right spec
  • Competitive practicality
  • Mercedes-AMG models offer a unique proposition
  • Feels like a premium product despite oibles

CONS

  • Diesel engines can be rough
  • No plug-in hybrid version in the UK
  • Standard suspension isn’t comfortable enough
  • Beginning to feel a little dated in some respects

Verdict

Mercedes-Benz GLC summary

The Mercedes-Benz GLC sits in the middle of the German manufacturer’s broad model range, providing an SUV equivalent to the big-selling C-Class saloon. It’s based on the same platform as said sister car, yet features a longer wheelbase and standard-fit 4Matic all-wheel drive across all versions. 

Introduced in 2015 as a replacement to the discontinued GLK, the GLC has a number of obvious rivals, including the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60, as well as the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Lexus NX.

Petrol and diesel engines, yet no hybrid version on offer

Somewhat surprisingly – given it was heavily mooted at launch – the Mercedes-Benz GLC is not offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in the UK (a GLC 350 e is available in some European markets).

Mercedes-Benz GLC front quarter

That means the line-up comprises of a 2.1-litre diesel in 220 d and 250 d guises, a 2.0-litre petrol (GLC 250) and a number of AMG models including the ballistically quick 63 S version.

READ: Looking for something bigger? Take a look at our Mercedes-Benz GLE full review

READ: We ran a Mercedes-Benz GLC long-termer for six months – read our thoughts here

A nine-speed automatic gearbox is standard across the range (albeit with AMG models taking a beefier transmission), as is 4Matic all-wheel drive. Overall, the mainstream non-AMG engines feel dated in comparison to rival offerings, especially the occasionally unrefined 2.1-litre diesels.

Mercedes-Benz GLC side-on

A 3.0-litre V6 diesel badged 350 d was available until late 2016 when it was dropped from the line-up.

Optional air suspension is worth the money

Aside from the Mercedes-AMG performance models, the GLC feels like it’s been designed for comfort rather than sportiness. However, in order to get the best out of the former, you need to spec the optional air suspension (standard on all AMG versions).

With this option box ticked, the GLC delivers a composed, well-judged ride in Comfort mode (all versions come with the Dynamic Select drive mode selector) that firms up nicely once switched into Sport. Do without the air suspension and the ride is significantly less composed regardless of whether the car is fitted with comfort or sport suspension.

Outright refinement is heavily dependent on how you spec your GLC, too. Opt for one of the diesel engines and – although they’re perfectly quiet when cruising – low speed refinement lags behind offerings from Audi and BMW. Pick one of the petrol GLCs, meanwhile, and it’s a tranquil experience all-round with low engine, wind and road noise (the latter picking up slightly when the car is fitted with the largest wheels).

Reasonable standard equipment, plenty of optional extras

Aside from the AMG versions the GLC is available with three primary trim levels – Urban Edition, Sport and AMG Night Edition. Even if you choose the base Urban Edition version, standard equipment is fairly generous and includes sat-nav, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and all-round parking sensors with a reversing camera.

Mercedes-Benz GLC interior

However, as is almost always the case with premium cars, it’s in the options list where the real goodies are to be found. The popular Premium and Premium Plus equipment lines add gadgets such as ambient lighting, hands-free boot access and Burmester surround sound system, while other possible additions include the Active Lane Keeping Assist (in the Driving Assistance package) and striking Night Package.

Such options come at a price, however, so keep an eye on the ticked option boxes to avoid the total spend getting silly.

Competitive all-round practicality

With plenty of room in both the front and rear seats, the GLC can match its BMW X3 and Audi Q5 rivals for outright passenger space. There’s no shortage of storage cubbies either, although the lack of wireless phone charging may disappoint some customers.

Mercedes-Benz GLC rear seats

Room in the boot is also in line with what rival cars can offer (when underfloor storage is taken into account), plus the rear seats fold in a 40:20:40 split (more flexible than the ubiquitous 60:40 layout) at just the flick of a switch. Once they are down, there’s also the bonus of having virtually no lip from the boot floor to the back of the rear seats, making it easier to load longer items.

Off-road package available

If you plan to take frequent trips off-road in your GLC, then speccing the Off-Road package is a must. Sure, the standard car should be able to negotiate mild off-road courses, but it’s worth having that extra peace of mind should things often get really sticky.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 4Matic badge

Included in the Off-Road package are gadgets such as DSR Downhill Speed Regulation (similar to hill descent control), additional off-road driving modes and recalibrated driver assistance technology. Off-road suspension (with 20mm more ride height) and increased underbody protection are also included.

Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating

When crash tested by Euro NCAP, the Mercedes-Benz GLC achieved a maximum five-star rating with particularly high scores in the child occupant protection category. A suite of dual-stage airbags are teamed with hi-tech safety kit to help protect passengers in the event of an impact, or, in the case of the latter, avoid the accident altogether.

These include Collision Prevention Assist Plus (autonomous emergency braking) and Attention Assist, the latter analysing driver behaviour and recommending a break be taken if excess fatigue is detected.

However, if you want the very best safety systems the GLC has to offer, you’ll need to delve into the options list – specifically the Driving Assistance package. This includes Active Blindspot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot – the latter allowing the vehicle to autonomously drive itself in low-speed traffic jams.

Madcap Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 versions

If you enjoy blowing supercars away at the traffic lights in your luxury SUV, then the AMG GLC 63 and GLC 63 S should be right up your street. Delivering faintly ridiculously power outputs of 476 and 510hp, these make up the pinnacle of the GLC’s range, delivering eye-watering performance at a moment’s notice.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63

Trick electronic limited slip differential, a faster nine-speed automatic gearbox and air suspension are all fitted as standard, while ceramic brakes and an even louder exhaust are available as options.

The Parkers VerdictThe Parkers Verdict

The Mercedes-Benz GLC mostly fulfils its brief as a classy, relaxing, safe and practical premium SUV, that also comes with the added benefit of three high-performance Mercedes-AMG models for those who desire. 

It’s not perfect however and is beginning to feel dated in a number of areas. The standard suspension setups on non-AMG models aren’t comfortable enough, while the sometimes clattery diesel engines and ageing infotainment system also let the side down when compared to offerings from Audi and BMW.

If you can look past the above the GLC is still a fine choice (especially if you opt for a Mercedes-AMG model), yet don’t be afraid to consider newer, similarly priced rivals if you simply want the best overall package on offer.

Mercedes-Benz GLC rear quarter

Read on for the full Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class review