Mercedes-Benz GLC

3 years ago

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Mercedes-Benz GLCCar Specification

Engine

2143cc turbocharged four-cylinder diesel

Torque

170bhp from 3,000 to 4,000rpm/ 295 lbs ft from 1,400 to 2,800rpm

Transmission

Nine-speed automatic

Fuel

56.5mpg

Acceleration

8.3 seconds

Emissions

129g/km

Price

£40.980 (as tested)

Tax

£Nil first year then £110 per year

Despite a bewildering range of models, this GLC has been the car that Mercedes-Benz has long needed to compete with premium SUVs like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Range Rover Evoque and new Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Its looks don£€™t frighten the neighbours, never mind the horses, because it doesn£€™t look overtly like a sports utility vehicle, and a Mercedes PR person took the words out of my mouth when he said it was an SUV for people who didn£€™t know they needed one.

What you do get is the raised driving position many people love, all-wheel drive and an understated style; well, if you ignore the huge three-pointed star on the front. You don£€™t have to go down farm tracks to appreciate this car and we could sense the extra security of four-wheel drive when the roads became awash in a downpour.

The interior is lovely £€“ a great place to spend time £€“ and it was reassuring to find that Mercedes still knows how to make a refined mileage muncher. Distances are covered so easily you could get places sooner but for our rigid speed limits. Why isn£€™t 90mph or even 100mph allowed on a near deserted motorway as in some countries?

Good drivers adjust their speed according to conditions not blanket decree. The machinations of the 2143cc four-cylinder diesel are kept well away from the occupants and at times progress felt magic carpet like. Countering the comfy ride is rather wallowy handling. Air suspension is an option.

The GLC is not as sporty to drive as BMW£€™s X3 but it£€™s good that buyers have a choice. The engine only delivers 170hp, but thanks to a whopping 295 lbs ft of torque from 1,400 to 2,800rpm there is always useful thrust available. The comparison 0-62mph acceleration takes 8.3 seconds so it£€™s pretty sprightly.

Interestingly, the spec sheets reveal the GLC can tow 300kg more than the Land Rover Discovery Sport though the Discovery has more boot space for day to day use. You can pay more for a 250d but you don£€™t really notice the extra power so I wouldn£€™t bother.

For those who still prefer a saloon car to a £€˜crossover£€™ the same 220d engine works well in the C-Class. We experienced one odd problem. The windscreen wipers suddenly started hitting each other and then one, fortunately on the passenger side, stopped working.

I think it is still legal to drive like this and anyway it was far safer than stopping at the side of a busy M5. Without concentrating you would never notice but there are nine speeds in the automatic transmission so smoothly does it glide between them.

I often used the steering column paddle change levers because I like being more involved as a driver but was still impressed the way the gearbox could drop from ninth to fourth near instantly if you suddenly called on the engine room for more go.

I think I will always hate the gear/drive selector lever on the steering column and think it dangerous the way you can move it into neutral in mistake for turning something on.

A £1,695 extra premium pack added electric boot closing, key-less entry and engine start, five interior light dimming levels in three colours (honestly!), a panoramic sunroof with roller blind, memories for the positions of the driver and front seat passenger£€™s seating and driving positions.

Officially the GLC returns 56.5mpg on the combined test cycle but my best was just over 45mpg. We loved the high performance headlights which didn£€™t seem to dazzle drivers despite the excellent vision they gave us.

Verdict Great to live with, relatively cheap to run.