Mercedes’ popular mid-sized SUV tested
Pros: Handsome styling, passenger room, improved engines
Cons: Less practical than A-Class saloon, expensive options list
Mercedes’ mid-sized premium SUV has been updated for 2020, with subtle styling changes, improved cabin technology and a range of new diesel engines to its name. The GLC has proven popular in the premium SUV class since it was first launched in 2015, and the new second generation model goes head to head with established models such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Lexus NX. We took the GLC on a long-range test drive across Ireland to see how it has evolved for 2020 and if it remains one of the standout options in the premium SUV class.
The new GLC features a restyled front grille and upgraded front and rear LED lighting for increased appeal
The GLC is one of the most visually-striking mid-sized premium SUVs of the moment. Mild styling revisions include new slimline LED headlights, a more pronounced front grille and additional tweaks to the rear LED lights. As standard the GLC is equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, tinted glass and chrome detailing, while this AMG-Line model boasts sportier 19-inch AMG-Line alloy wheels, various AMG styling upgrades and a striking Selenite Grey metallic paint scheme. Style conscious buyers will be pleased by the GLC’s presence, and we’d expect the design to age well in the coming years.
18-inch alloy wheels and chrome detailing are standard fare with the new GLC
Stepping inside, the GLC is roomy enough to ferry five adults and their luggage with ease. There’s lots of head and shoulder room throughout, and it’s equally as comfortable sitting in the front and rear seats. The driver’s area is well-presented with Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system centre stage, a 5.5-inch digital driver’s display and standard leather upholstery throughout. The driving position offers a commanding view of the road, and the layout of the dashboard is user friendly, with all controls logically laid out. The MBUX infotainment system can be operated either with the touch screen, a touch pad controller near the armrest or even with voice control, and while it takes some getting used to, the system is a big improvement on that in the old GLC.
The cabin is suitably premium with a restyled dashboard design and Mercedes' MBUX touch screen infotainment system taking centre stage
The GLC scores high on practicality with lots of useable cabin space and a sizeable 580 litre boot, which is on par with the Audi Q5. The rear seats are split-folding and drop down easily with the touch a button, increasing storage space to 1,600 litres. The loading area is flat and it is easy to slide bulky items in and out, while an electric tailgate is also fitted as standard. There are plenty of areas to stow items in the cabin, with sizeable door bins, a large storage bin on the centre console and a reasonably-sized glove box.
Rear seat room is a strong point with plenty of leg, head and shoulder room for passengers, while there is also two sets of ISOFIX mounts for family buyers
The GLC is offered with a dazzling array of engines, from the entry 2.0-litre diesel GLC200d right up to a fearsome 4.0-litre GLC 63S petrol with 510 horsepower! We drove the GLC200d which is likely to be the most popular choice with Irish buyers, as it offers an ideal mix of fuel economy and performance. The GLC200d returns 163 horsepower through a smooth automatic transmission, and it can sprint from 0-100km/h in 8.7 seconds or cruise comfortably at motorway speeds. While this engine is much-improved on the GLC of old, it it somewhat noisy under hard acceleration. Both-front wheel-drive and 4Matic all-wheel-drive models are available, though we found the front-wheel-drive GLC is competent enough for daily driving needs. Out on the road, the GLC majors on refinement and its quiet, smooth and refined over varying road surfaces, and it is well suited to long journeys.
The 2.0-litre diesel GLC 200d offers a strong mix of performance and economy
Prices and features:
Prices for the new Mercedes-Benz GLC start from €48,040 for the entry specification GLC200d, which undercuts both the entry Audi Q5 and BMW X3 . As standard it is well-equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a chrome styling package, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a reversing camera, keyless entry, MBUX infotainment with live traffic information and lots more. The mid-range Exclusive model adds further extras, while the sporty AMG Line model is the most desirable of the bunch, with prices starting from €51,860 for the GLC 200d AMG Line. Our test car is equipped with various options including smartphone integration, open pore black ash wood trim and metallic paint, which raises the price tag to €58,684.
The MBUX infotainment system can be operated by voice control by simply saying the words 'Hey Mercedes'
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The GLC is a capable all-rounding SUV with handsome styling, a well-appointed interior and a refined drive among its strengths. The GLC's updated diesel engines are smoother than before and the cabin infotainment has improved considerably, albeit the MBUX system takes getting used to. While some of the GLC’s rivals are sportier and more exiting to drive, most buyers won’t mind this as it’s a competent long-range cruiser, and very comfortable too. In the crowded premium SUV class, the new GLC remains a strong contender and one to shortlist alongside the latest Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
AMG Line specification adds upgraded 19-inch alloy wheels, sports styling and a suite of other upgrades
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Mercedes-Benz GLC200d AMG Line
Prices from: €48,040
Price as tested: €49,303
Annual Motor Tax: €280
Engine: 1950cc diesel
0-100km/h: 8.7 seconds
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 580 litres
The GLC is offered with front-wheel drive as standard, or upgraded 4Matic all-wheel drive as an option
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