Avoid the sporty AMG Line models and the GLC’s about as comfortable as you’ll need an SUV to be – just don’t expect it to be particularly exciting to drive
You can get the Mercedes GLC with one petrol and three diesel engines. Pick a 250d model if you spend most time in town. It has a 2.1-litre diesel engine that isn’t quite as smooth as the more-powerful petrol and diesel versions but it’s got more poke than entry-level 220d models and has almost identical fuel economy. Mercedes claims it can manage 56mpg but expect to see around 48mpg in the real world.
If you cover lots of motorway miles, a 350d model will be a better bet. It has creamy-smooth feel compared to the grumbly 220d and 250d versions and can power past slow-moving traffic with ease – its effortless nature is a brilliant match for the Mercedes GLC‘s comfy cruising ability. It can’t quite match the 250d’s fuel economy but around 40mpg in normal driving is perfectly acceptable for this type of car.
The Mercedes GLC is a comfortable pair of loafers to to the X3’s lurid-coloured running shoes – it’s comfortable and relaxing but not exciting
The high-performance Mercedes GLC AMG 43 model is your only option if you want a petrol. It comes with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 that produces 367hp – enough to launch this high-riding SUV from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds. In normal driving, though, it doesn’t feel much faster than the 350d and it’ll only return around 25mpg, even if you resist the temptation to floor it away from every set of traffic lights.
Ever Mercedes GLC comes fitted with a nine-speed automatic gearbox that really helps take the stress out of long journeys and heavy traffic. It’s reasonably smooth but can jerk slightly at low speeds – just like the twin-clutch automatic fitted to an Audi Q5 – and isn’t as responsive as the eight-speed unit in a BMW X3.
The Mercedes GLC is easy to drive around town, despite its size. Its raised driving position gives you a good view over the road ahead and there aren’t too many blind spots to worry about.
The rear pillars – where the back doors meet the roof – slightly block your view out when reversing but all models come with a rear-mounted, high-definition camera that gives you a brilliant view when parking. You do get a self-parking system – that’ll steer for you into parallel and bay spaces – on Sport models and above, too.
The standard GLC’s comfort-oriented suspension does a good job of softening bumps in the road but the lowered, stiffer setup fitted to sporty AMG Line models is less forgiving. It highlights small bumps, causes the car to fidget slightly at slow speeds – especially if you pick the larger 20-inch alloy wheels – and doesn’t make the Mercedes GLC any more fun to drive. The BMW X3 is a better bet if that’s what you’re after, but they’re both slightly more lively than the rather numb Audi Q5.
Wind and tyre noise are barely audible on the move, but the Audi Q5 is still quieter at motorway speeds. Every Mercedes GLC come with what Mercedes calls crosswind assist – for extra stability in blustery conditions – and cruise control to give your right foot a rest on long journeys by holding the car at a set speed.
Although the GLC’s not a natural off-roader, all models get a variety of special driving modes to help them cope with steep inclines, slippery surfaces and rocks trails. A Land Rover Evoque will still be much happier heading off the beaten track, however.
Euro NCAP awarded the GLC a five-star safety rating in 2015. The tests have been made significantly stricter since, however, so newer five-star-rated cars (such as the Audi Q5) will offer a little extra protection in a collision. For greater peace of mind, every Mercedes GLC come with automatic emergency braking that’ll apply the brakes automatically if traffic ahead slows suddenly.