Monday 24 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 Review

Test Drive: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 Review

Sometimes automakers do what is called a “refresh” of a vehicle to make it look different and update it.  At other times, they completely re-do a vehicle from bumper-to-bumper.  Such is the case with the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300.  You may have known this vehicle in a previous life as the GLK, but the GLC is completely different.

To start, it is a full 5” longer and 2” wider than the GLK, and that translates into more back seat room and more cargo area.  In fact, I categorize this SUV now as a midsized SUV, where I considered the GLK to be a compact. 

Everything is different under the hood, too.  The GLK had a 6-cylinder engine, but that has been replaced with an inline 2-liter 4-cylinder, that like so many other vehicles today, is turbocharged.  It is producing 241- horses and it is 20% more fuel-efficient.  The GLC also comes standard with a 9-speed automatic transmission that you can shift from the steering wheel paddles.  It comes in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, my tester is the all-wheel drive, which is called 4Matic.

The exterior styling of the GLC is updated, bolder, and more aerodynamic.  19” wheels come standard, but my review vehicle has the optional 20” wheels.  It has a big bold grill, and a huge 3-point star to make sure everyone knows it’s a Benz.

As you open any of the doors, you notice the rich, comfortable, leather seating, the sculpted dash and door panels, and you see stitching everywhere you look.  A huge front door storage area and cup holders keep the inside of the GLC tidy and functional.  The real wood in the cabin, especially around the center console, is some of the richest I have seen.

As you sit behind the wheel, the gauge cluster is easy to read, and there is a configurable driver information center to give you all the needed information you can imagine.

To the right, above the center stack, is a large color screen that operates everything in the vehicle.  At first you think it is your typical touch screen, but nothing functions except from the center console.  Some auto writers think the screen looks like an afterthought, but I am fine with it.

All systems can be operated from a fixed mouse, or there is a more traditional round knob underneath that.  The mouse can even be used as a scratchpad for operations like entering an address for the navigation system, which is standard on the GLC.  Whether you use the knob or the mouse, there is a bit of a learning curve before it becomes intuitive.

Features-wise, the GLC comes equipped with a host of creature comforts and safety innovations.  It has a panoramic moon roof, heated seats, a fantastic Burmeister sound system, and I love where they put the speakers high in the doors, it makes so much sense.

You also get keyless entry, pushbutton start, rearview camera, a power lift gate, automatic climate controlled air conditioning, and much more.

A couple of cool options this one has includes Lane Keeping Assist, which will put the vehicle back in the proper lane should you stray out of yours by accident, and it will warn you with a vibration in the steering wheel.  Adaptive cruise control is part of the safety features, which keeps the GLC the same distance from the car in front of you, and will even stop itself if it senses a collision.  You also get blind spot monitoring for safe lane changes.

If you have a Smart Phone, the Mercedes Mbrace app will allow you to start the car remotely, and get this, you can adjust the interior temperature from your phone, before you ever get close to the car.

Driving dynamics of the GLC are very good.  It has a smooth ride, and you can completely change the feel of the vehicle from a switch on the center console.  Choose from Eco or comfort, or you might want to go to Sport or Sport Plus, depending on your mood.  Hit Dynamic mode, and the GLC changes with tighter steering and suspension, and the transmission shifts quicker for those times you want to take off fast.  Each one of the driving modes makes the GLC feel completely different.

For me, the GLC feels like a true Mercedes.  There is just a certain feeling when you drive a German-engineered vehicle, and Mercedes does it as well as any automaker out there.

If you want to compare another SUV to this one, look at the Audi Q5.  Although a little smaller, it is closest to the interior quality and driving characteristics.

As is the trend today, the GLC is larger, quieter inside, and more fuel-efficient than the SUV it replaces.  One thing that is apparent with this SUV is that Mercedes did a great job of making the GLC cross-gender.  In other words, it will appeal to both men and women, without alienating either.

I got the 2016 GLC300 so quickly that it hasn’t yet been priced.  We know the base sticker price is $39,000.  I built one online and I think I am pretty close saying this one would sticker for just over $52,000, which is in line with other SUVs in its class.

I also do not have fuel economy ratings yet, but so far, I am getting around 22 in all city driving, but right at 30 on the highway at 65 miles per hour, which is terrific in an all-wheel drive SUV.

The differences between the old GLK and this new GLC are dramatic, and I am now a big fan of Mercedes Benz’s newest addition to its lineup of SUVs.

  • What I liked most:  Interior and exterior appearance, performance of the 4-cylinder.
  • What I would change:  A bit more simplified infotainment system.   
  • MSRP: Base price $39,000, as equipped approximately $52,000.
  • Fuel Economy:  Not yet rated.
  • Fuel Tank: 17.4 gallons.
  • Dimensions:  183.3” long/74.4” wide/64.5” high.
  • Weight:  3892 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing:  5300 pounds.
  • Miles When Tested:  800 miles.
  • 2016 GLC300 in a few words:  Much improved SUV from the GLK.
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance. 
  • Manufacturers website: Mercedes-Benz
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz