Mercedes GLC review
The mid-sized Mercedes GLC offers comfort and decent running costs in the competitive premium SUV sector
The Mercedes GLC has the styling, tech and driver appeal to win buyers, and it will definitely go some way into stealing sales from BMW and Audi. The four-cylinder diesels offer all the performance, economy and refinement you could ask for, while the high-performance AMG models add serious punch. In terms of practicality, the GLC is pretty much a match the X3 and Q5 for passenger and boot space, although the Jaguar F-Pace is slightly more spacious in the boot.
The AMG GLC 43 offers the exclusivity of an AMG with plenty of practicality, while the AMG 63 models are stupendously quick. While these models will be lightning-fast in a straight line, they can’t match quite the Porsche Macan for handling, which does a better job of hiding its SUV mass.
It was later to market than most rivals, but the Mercedes GLC and GLC Coupe have made up for lost time by being among the front-runners for sale in the premium compact SUV class. There are a wide range of models, and whether you buy or lease a GLC, you'll be getting a high-class car with plenty of appeal.
It needs to be classy to help it take on rivals in the premium SUV class, and shares much of its DNA with the C-Class saloon. The main opponents are the Volvo XC60, BMW X3 and Jaguar F-Pace, but there are a number of other cars it must face. This includes the Audi Q5, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Lexus NX and Porsche Macan.
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The GLC can take on this range of rivals because it has a broad model line-up, from the GLC 220 d and GLC 300 machines, all the way up to the storming AMG GLC 63 variants. As a result, prices range from around £40,000 to a heady £80,000-plus.
The GLC range was overhauled in 2019, with the compact SUV gaining some mild style revisions, updated infotainment and a variety of updated engines, some of which now benefit from hybrid tech.
All cars get a fresh LED lighting signature, and the bumpers are subtly reprofiled based on trim level. The entry-level Sport gets silver 4x4-effect cladding along its lower edge, while the AMG Line models get a cleaner body-coloured look with a larger front air dam. The grille sets the Sport and AMG Line variants apart, too: the former gets a twin-louvred design, while the latter features a single span and small silver dots arranged in a diamond pattern.
Trims comprise of Sport and AMG Line models, with the latter progessively upgraded to Premium, Premium Plus and Premium Plus Ultimate, each with increasing levels of equipment and cost. The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 (and even faster 63 S) are considered separate models in their own right. The Sport is offered with the entry-level 220 d and the 300 four-cylinder petrol unit, but you'll need to step up to the AMG Line to get the best of the in-car tech, plus 19-inch wheels, privacy glass, heated front seats and a reversing camera.
All cars feature 4MATIC four-wheel drive and Mercedes' smooth shifting 9G-Tronic Plus nine speed auto gearbox. The top spec Ultimate trim comes with air suspension.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe mid-sized Mercedes GLC offers comfort and decent running costs in the competitive premium SUV sector
- 2Engines, performance and driveExcellent body control and a refined motorway cruiser, but ride can be fidgety on big wheels
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsStandard nine-speed automatic gearbox keeps running costs down and on par with rivals
- 4Interior, design and technologyCabin is lifted straight out of the C-Class, but looks classy and is premium in feel
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe GLC is smaller than an F-Pace, but rear passenger and boot space is reasonable
- 6Reliability and SafetyA huge amount of safety kit and strong Euro NCAP results offer great protection