Mercedes GLC (2015-present)

A smooth ride and stylish interior, makes the Mercedes GLC a luxurious family SUV

The Mercedes GLC is a Johnny-come-lately to the family-size SUV market. Despite being derided as Chelsea Tractors a decade ago, these cars - originally designed for off-roading - are now fast-growing in popularity as family cars.

Rivals include the ageing Audi Q5 and BMW X3, have been on sale for so, long that they are both about to be replaced.

Tougher competition coms from the Land Rover Discovery Sport, wich has seven-seats - although the rear two are only really suitable for children. And there's also the Jaguar F-Pace: expensive, but the best in class if you want your SUV to feel like a sportscar.

If not, then the GLC comes highly recommended.  It prioritises comfort and quietness over agility and handling. That’s not to say it’s dull to drive but mostly it’s at its best delivering a calm and composed ride, as it does on all but the very worst roads. It’s better still on the optional air suspension. Standard four-wheel drive and the model’s raised ride height mean the GLC is pretty adept off-road, too.

The best GLCs are powered by diesel. There are three engines to choose from, the smaller 2.1-litre unit being available in two power outputs badged 220d and 250d, and a 3.0-litre badged 350d. Whichever engine you choose, all have a nine-speed automatic gearbox and drive have four-wheel drive.

The GLC is an imposing if not very distinctive looking car in a class not known for its shrinking violets. It is beautifully made, though, and well equipped into the bargain. For example, an automatic tailgate, tinted windows and a reversing camera are standard. Mid-range Sport is a good choice, which brings heated seats, a sat nav and special interior lighting. The standard infotainment system has a pinch-to-zoom function that makes rival touchscreens look outdated.

The GLC blends sleek looks with a healthy dose of big cabin practicality. There’s plenty of leg and headroom in the front and rear of the car although rear-seat passengers will find the hump in the middle of the floor frustrating. The 550-litre boot is on a par with the BMW X3’s. Folding down the split rear seats creates a welcome 1,600 litres of load space, again the same as the X3.

The GLC is too new to have generated any worthwhile reliability figures but as a brand, Mercedes performed well in the Auto Express Driver Power 2016 owner satisfaction survey. Meanwhile, the model keeps occupants safe with a range of Assist features as standard.

Last Updated 

Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 13:15

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