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Mercedes GLC Test Drive Review

Date: 23 July 2015   |   Author: John Mahoney

Category: Small 4x4
P11D price: £38,885
Key rival: BMW X3
On sale: October 2015
Equipment: 7 airbags, auto tailgate, reversing camera, DAB radio, keyless go, park assist, heated seats, satnav, AMG steering wheel, sport suspension, body kit, LED headlamps, autonomous braking, 19in wheels
Engines: Diesel: 170hp, 204hp 2.1
Trims: SE, Sport Line, AMG Line
Transmissions: 9-speed automatic

Due to the expense and technical difficulty of engineering the 4x4 system for right-hand drive, Mercedes didn't bother offering the UK the GLK, the precursor to the GLC.

That has meant that for seven, long, years if you wanted a small, posh SUV you just went ahead and chose an Audi, BMW or Volvo instead, despite Merc making a natural rival.

However, that changes this October, when the GLC finally arrives on these shores with Mercedes having overcome the challenges it faced previously.

Luckily, the German carmaker has learnt a lot from the GLK - and we're glad the new GLC doesn't share the old car's ungainly looks.

UK buyers, initially, get the choice of just two models: the 170hp 220d or more powerful 204hp 250d. Both are all-wheel drive and powered by the same 2.1-litre diesel that seems to be under the bonnet of almost everything Mercedes makes.

In other vehicles such as the vans, the A- and B-class, and the CLA, the 2.1-litre lump has always been a rough and uncouth unit, but in the GLC it's quietened down and feels smoother (although - naughty Mercedes - our car was fitted with soundproofed double-glazed windows that are not even an option on UK cars).

We spent much of our time in the 220d that dashes, from rest, to 62mph in 8.3 seconds and will be brisk enough for most. Want more power and the 250d offers noticeably stronger in-gear acceleration, even if it is only 0.7 seconds quicker to 62mph.

Speaking of which, all GLCs come with Merc's recent nine-speed automatic that helps both cars average 56.5mpg and emit 129g/km of CO2 - a decent result, but it's a shame the auto isn't a little smoother.

Another area in which the Mercedes will challenge the best will be with its drive - the steering is precise and the handling agile. Our car had 20-inch wheels (£595) that boost emissions up to 143g/km of CO2, and Mercedes Air Body Control (£1495), although we'd be tempted to avoid both.

The ride is generally very good, but becomes very busy at slower speeds over a rough road. That said, comfort is generally a strongpoint of the new small SUV.

Nothing beats the Mercedes' cabin for fit, finish and general quality, especially with the Black Ash wood trim that comes with the Sport Line that makes the GLC feels far more expensive beside the cheap-feeling BMW X3 and ageing Audi Q5.

As far as standard kit goes, it's great that autonomous braking is standard, but you still have to pay extra for satnav on the base model - however, even that's not enough to stop us recommending the Mercedes' first small SUV offering in the UK above all its rivals. Factor in some competitive costs and Mercedes will have a winner on its hands.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d AMG Line

Model price range £34,950-£40,095
Residual value 46.8%
Depreciation £20,685
Fuel £5828
Service, maintenance and repair £3079
Vehicle Excise Duty £220
National Insurance £3703
Cost per mile 72.0p
Fuel consumption 56.5mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 129g/km (23%)
BIK 20/40% per month £149/298
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space (min/max) 550/1600 litres
Engine size/power 2143cc/170hp


Classy, handsome, efficient and good to drive. A small SUV champ
  • Refined
  • Good to drive
  • Class-leading cabin
  • Not cheap
  • Nine-speed auto should be smoother
  • Satnav not standard on SE