Mercedes GLC SUV interior
The Mercedes GLC has a stylish interior that looks and feels pretty plush, but alternatives come with more standard equipment and fancier infotainment systems.
The Mercedes GLC’s interior is packed with plenty of lovely details, but it doesn’t feel quite as solid as the Audi Q5’s hewn-from-granite cabin or come with as many high-tech features as you get in a BMW X3.
At least the GLC’s minimalist dashboard looks pretty smart and puts all the buttons you’ll use regularly within easy reach. The metal-effect air vents look and feel lovely and compliment the strip of brushed aluminium that stretches behind the infotainment display onto the doors. You even get ambient lighting, which beams your choice of 64 colours onto the dashboard, doors and centre console.
Most of the plastics dotted about the Mercedes GLC’s interior feel nice and squidgy, but look closely and you might spot some less than arrow-straight stitching on the dashboard. There are also some hard, scratchier plastics down beside the centre console and on the doors that aren’t quite as plush as those in an Audi or BMW.
Unlike in these cars, you can get the Mercedes GLC with some lovely unvarnished wood trim on the centre console. This doesn’t just look classier than the swathes of glossy black plastic you get in most SUVs, it’s also more resistant to scratches.
If you fancy adding a few sporty touches to you Mercedes GLC’s interior, you’ll want to pick an AMG Line model. These come with more supportive sports seats in a wider choice of colours and a sportier flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Less eye-catching is the Mercedes GLC’s standard infotainment display. Rather than a seamless widescreen consisting of two large displays like those you get in most other Mercedes SUVs, the GLC has to make to with a single free-standing unit and a separate analogue dial cluster in front of the steering wheel.
You can ditch the standard analogue dials for a much nicer digital driver’s display, but even this feels a bit second-rate compared to the high-resolution screens you get in the BMW X3.
The Mercedes GLC’s interior isn’t exactly awash with sci-fi tech like some alternatives, but it still has the edge over most SUVs in the looks department.
As standard, the Mercedes GLC comes with two infotainment displays – a 5-inch screen mounted between a pair of conventional analogue dials and a second 10-inch touchscreen up on the dashboard.
You control these using the main display’s touchscreen, a set of buttons on the steering wheel or by using the large touchpad on the centre console. It’s much more intuitive than the old GLC’s awkward scroll-wheel arrangement, but it’s still more difficult to use than the systems you get in the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
Things get a little better when you use the Mercedes GLC’s ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice recognition feature to control the system’s main functions. This lets you change the radio station, adjust the climate control settings and add addresses and waypoints to the built-in sat-nav without taking your hands off the steering wheel. It’s no Siri, but it understands more commands spoken in plain English than the voice-control systems in an Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
You can pay extra to have this feature upgraded to recognise gestures – such as swiping your hand to move from one radio station to another – but you’ll be better off putting your cash towards the larger 12-inch digital driver’s display instead. This is much easier to read on the move, but you’ll find the menus and icons are still a little fiddly compared to the BMW X3’s slick iDrive system.
Another thorn in the Mercedes GLC’s side is the fact you can’t get it with a stylish two-piece widescreen display like the ones in the GLE and even the A-Class hatchback. As a result, the infotainment displays look a bit old-hat – even in this recently updated model.
As in most other Mercedes models, however, you can upgrade the GLC’s standard stereo to a punchier Burmester unit. It doesn’t just sound better, it comes with some seriously swish laser-etched speaker grilles, too.
It’s just a shame that you have to fork out for an AMG Line Premium model if you want to be able to mirror your smartphone’s navigation and music-streaming apps on the built-in display.