The GLC is the first compact premium SUV to be sold by Mercedes-Benz in the Ireland. In saying that, Mercedes did previously produce a car in this segment which was called the GLK; however it was never produced in right-hand drive and thus was never sold either here or in the UK. The big question hanging over the new GLC is whether it can compete with its better established rivals. The Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport are all really good cars and each is, in its own right doing quite well; however this sector of the market is growing rapidly so Mercedes shouldn’t be long about establishing a foothold of their own. In terms of overall length and width, when you compare the GLC directly with of the Q5 and X3, there is only a matter of a small few millimetres in the difference. The Mercedes though is quite a bit lower than its two rivals and this benefits the overall look of the SUV. It’s certainly a good looking car especially in the AMG Line guise and the flowing design language of other recent Mercedes models is immediately obvious. It’s sleek and stylish yet retains enough of a rugged appearance to satisfy rural drivers as well as their more urban minded counterparts.
Unlike its Land Rover rival the GLC doesn’t have the benefit of 7 seats. However it’s a generously proportioned five seater and the set of “Black Artico” trimmed seats found in the test model were some of the most comfortable seats I’ve sat in so far this year. There is ample leg and headroom in the rear for a couple of adults but as is often the case for the third rear passenger the middle seat wouldn’t be the most comfortable or spacious place, so if the situation should arise you’d better be quick to shout “bagsy not in the middle”.
Much like that of its Mercedes C-class sibling, the GLC’s dash design is a very clean and classy affair. The landscape format, tablet-style screen that juts out above the central air vents may to some look like an after-thought, but it is perfectly clear and functional. In typical Mercedes fashion the combination of metal, wooden and soft touch finishes are excellent. The controls and dials are quite intuitive. The list of standard kit is quite impressive and includes cruise control, heated seats, Air Con and Touch-pad for the Audio 20 system among plenty of others. Now having driven several automatic Mercedes models over the last few months and I have to say that I wish they would drop the idea of the column mounted gear selector. It feels quite old fashioned and having the indicator, headlights and wipers on the one lever does take some getting used to. Our test model came equipped with a 2143cc diesel engine. This 220d variant is capable of reaching 100km from a standing start in 8.3 seconds due to its 170bhp / 400Nm outputs. With those kinds of figures to its name, the GLC is far from sluggish but don’t let that fool you into thinking it suffers in the economy stakes. Mercedes quote a return of 5.0L per 100km and while I couldn’t come close to matching this, the 6.1L figure I generated over the course of the week long test is nothing to be sneered at for a mid-sized SUV. The test car fell into the ‘B1’ band, meaning it will set you back €270 per annum to tax.
The nine-speed automatic gearbox (9G-Tronic) itself however is very good indeed. Coupled with the 2.1 litre diesel engine, the GLC has a pleasant turn of pace, which is emphasised further with Mercedes 4Matic AWD system. This permanent four drive system ensures that the GLC is a proper SUV, one which is up to the task of taking on any number of various terrains. On the sharp and sweeping bends of back roads the GLC didn’t suffer from a whole lot of body roll. The GLC’s steering is nicely positive and it benefits further from a little additional weight when driven in ‘Sport’ mode. Road and wind noise are pretty minimal though the engine itself can be a little noisy when it’s cold. When it comes to safety, the Mercedes GLC achieved the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test. As you’d expect it has front and side airbags, but it also has a clever one to protect the driver’s knees in the event of a heavy collision. Attention Assist, an intelligent light system and CPA (Collision Prevention Assist) are standard features along with Parktronic with Active Park Assist making the GLC one of the safest mid-sized SUV’s on the market.
All in all the Mercedes-Benz GLC an excellent alternative it its more established premium rivals.
Engine Size – 2143cc
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 170hp
Torque – 400Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) – 8.3 seconds
Top Speed – 210 km/h
Quoted Consumption (Combined) – 5.0L/100km
CO2 Emissions – 129g/km
Road Tax – €270
Base Price – €50,280
Price as Tested – €53,700